Alberto Curamil and the defense of Volcano Tolhuaca

Subtitles in Italian, English and Spanish

Alberto Curamil is the longko (traditional authority) of the indigenous mapuche community of Lof Radalko in Curucatìn, in the Chilean region of Araucanía, and a member of the organization Alianca Territorial Mapuche (ATM, Mapuche Territorial Alliance).
Curamil is one of the main promoters of local activism in defence of the environment and the territorial, socio-cultural and economic rights of Mapuche communities, which oppose the intensive economic exploitation of their ancestral lands by commercial companies. In 2019, he was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for his role in the civil society campaign that prevented the construction of two hydroelectric plants on the Cautìn River, sacred to the Mapuche and a fundamental source of water for the inhabitants of the area.
Between 2018 and 2019, Curamil has spent 15 months in preventive detention on the charge of armed robbery, for which the prosecution had asked for a sentence of almost 50 years. In application of the special anti-terrorism law, which severely restricts the fair trial guarantees of defendants, the witness evidence provided against the Mapuche leader remained anonymous. Several Mapuche associations and human rights organisations condemned the political nature of the proceeding and the harsh punitive treatment, and in 2019 Curamil was acquitted of all charges due to substantial absence of evidence.
Despite continuing to be the target of various intimidatory acts because of his activism, Curamil has never interrupted his commitment to the environment and the rights of Mapuche communities. At the end of 2021, on behalf of the communities of Curucatìn, he publicly denounced the approval of a project for the construction of a geothermal power plant at the foot of the Tolhuaca volcano, contesting the absence of an environmental impact assessment and the lack of consultation of the Mapuche communities affected.