Communique from Machi Celestino, His Family, Spokesperson and Network of Support.
Submitted to Enough 14.
July 18, 2020
76 Days on Hunger Strike
To the national and international public, to our Mapuche people-nation, to our Mapuche traditional authorities, to the non-Mapuche people who resist and struggle, to all of the Indigenous people in the world, we communicate the following:
We want to respond to what is being said by the Hospital Director, Christian Araneda, and the lead Doctor, Roberto Uturriaga, who speaking on behalf of the Regional Health Secretary, dismissed the seriousness of the state of health of our ancestral authority, Machi Celestino Córdova. The director and doctor sustained that our Machi is “generally in good health, hydrated, oriented in time and space, and in good condition in general. Vital risk is ruled out following clinical evaluation and assuming his condition doesn’t negatively evolve in the future.”
Kiñe: Clearly these functionaries have been ordered by the government to downplay the real health situation of our Machi Celestino. This is a clumsy and deceitful response by government authorities amidst widespread national and international shows of solidarity which forced our authority to be taken to the hospital in the first place. Today the government should be giving thanks to the warnings given both by the family doctor, Leonor Olate, and the Medical Association. If the Machi hadn’t been urgently transferred, things could be drastically different now.
Epu: It is surprising that they’ve suggested the Machi’s health is “stable” and not serious. If so, then why did his transfer to the hospital have to take place. His vital signs have been altered for MONTHS, including his heartbeat and his blood pressure. This is public information and we know medically that this can generate serious cardiovascular and renal complications (and things can only get worse if he goes on a dry hunger strike). They omitted the episodes of internal bleeding that our Machi Celestino has had, a situation that is VERY SERIOUS in the context of a hunger strike. The internal bleeding could mean a gastric or duodenal ulcer (which can perforate or produce necrosis, or death). Thus, we cannot say with certainty that our Machi is in good condition if the pertinent exams have not been carried out. Neither can they be carried out considering they seriously violate the Machi’s being as a spiritual authority. We therefore do not know the health of Machi’s internal organs. It is irresponsible to say that Machi Celestino will be fine when we do not know his nutritional status (protein, albumin) or his renal and liver function, electrolytes (blood tests), etc. These studies are impossible to carry out because of the Machi’s role as an ancestral authority, and furthermore because of his autonomy as a patient. This can only be done by seriously VIOALATING his rights as a person, ancestral authority and further aggravating his current health situation.
Kula: On Wednesday, when he was admitted to the hospital, he was given an IV to help deal the pain. Today, 76 days on hunger strike, he continues consuming only water and lawen (a medicinal herb). He has not been tube fed at any time. The fact that our Lamngen Machi is in a common area of the hospital does not mean that he is not in critical condition. The severity of his health is clearly documented by the hospital official who evaluated him upon his arrival, by the family doctor, as well as the professionals of the medical association. His is at vital risk. At whatever moment he could have a heart attack. His current heart rate is 40 to 41 beats per minute, the sugar in his blood is very low.
Meli: The doctor, Leonor Olate, has the confidence of our Lamngen Machi, family and spokesperson. She has authorization to transmit her diagnosis and health reports to us in a manner that we deem adequate.
Kechu: Finally, we hold responsible the Chilean State and current government for the health and life of our ancestral authority, Machi Celestino Córdova. We call on the government to give a definite solution to this situation and to stop delaying action in commissions and reunions that don’t resolve anything. This is particularly important now, in light of the immanent dry strike, which is likely to begin next week.
Kayu: We call on our people to be alert and we remind everyone that this hunger strike is of spiritual character. It was mandated by our pu lonko. Due to the condition of the ancestral spiritual authority, Machi Celestino, we call on you all to carry out a llellipun for our lamngen Machi. We remind all the communities in resistance and the Mapuche people-nation that there is an ancestral spiritual authority imprisoned and that all of the Mapuche political prisoners are part of the struggle. Prison is also a place of resistance and struggle. The call is to act accordingly.
Freedom for Machi Celestino!
Freedom for all Mapuche Political Prisoners!
Out with the Forest, Hydroelectric, and Extractive Industries from Mapuche Territory!
Machi Celestino Córdova, Family, Spokesperson y Support Network
Saturday, July 18, 2020
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