Emilia Herrera Obrecht ("Bau")Age 25
16 Feb 2021
Panguipulli, Los Rios (Chile)
Emilia was shot in the head by a private condominium security guard. She was a Mapuche trans artist and activist who was trying to help defend indigenous land from encroachment.
Emilia Milén Herrera Obrecht was shot in the head early Wednesday morning near the Riñi Mapu condominium in Panguipulli, a city in southern Chile. She was 25 years old and those around her called her "Baucis" [other sources say "Bau"]. Not long ago she had started her transition within a Mapuche community.
Emilia was shot in circumstances that are still being investigated by the Homicide Brigade and the Los Ríos Regional Crime Laboratory. Her death occurs less than two weeks after a video of the murder of Francisco Martínez, a street artist shot four times by a policeman's gun while resisting an identity check, went viral and sparked a wave of protests in several cities of Chile.
This is the same town where four years ago the environmental activist Macarena Valdés was found dead in her home in the Mapuche community of Newen de Tranguil. Although the official autopsy concluded her death was a suicide, her family continues to denounce it as a murder generated in the framework of a fight she commanded against a hydroelectric project by an Austrian company.
A source who lives in the area and spoke with Presentes by phone - asking for their identity to be withheld for fear of reprisal - explained: what is happening in Panguipulli and the surrounding areas is the reflection of a division that has been brewing for years, with a marked inequality. In that southern city, they speak with emphasis of "a lack of dialogue with native peoples, who have a historical struggle for territorial autonomy, and simply are not listened but repressed" And that, they say, conflicts with the municipality and the authorities "have also been growing for a long time, partly for these reasons."
The bullet that killed Emilia was fired on that stage. And in the midst of a conflict that reappears every year: the need to "spend the summer" and to reach beaches near private condominiums in Panguipulli, which block free access.