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Resistencia Mapuche Lavkenche (RML)

Insurgency Overview

The Resistencia Mapuche Lavkenche (Mapuche Lafkenche Resistance) (RML), is a militant organization operating in the Araucania and Bio Bio regions of Chile since 2020. The group follows a doctrine of armed resistance against the Chilean state as well as the forestry and logging industries that operate in the area. Their main objective is the expulsion of these industries, which according to them operate in conjunction with the state and the local and national elites in their territory. This is all in the scope of achieving the autonomy of the Mapuche people (1). Their praxis centers around armed actions and sabotage. In 2022 the Congress of Chile listed the RML as a terrorist organization, alongside the CAM, WAM, and RMM (2).

History and Ideology

The Mapuche Conflict is a long-term movement that can be traced back to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. However, while it has developed through centuries, the RML is a contemporary case of the new types of militant and armed Mapuche organizations that have popped up over the years. This group, like others, was initiated by the original Mapuche incendiary attacks and the founding of the CAM (Coordinadora Arauco Malleco) in 1997 and 1998 respectively (3). The organization does not have a proper founding date, but its earliest action was an attempted sabotage of a bridge on the 13th of April 2020 (4). The attack was made by detonating a car bomb, all while participating in armed attacks against police forces on the same route (5). However, the explosive detonated before the vehicle reached the bridge so it did not damage critical infrastructure (6). After the attack, the group published a communique, a recurrent practice of the organization, which can help us outline their ideological background.

The group's ideology can be understood as being composed of two categories: anticapitalism and indigenism. These can be extrapolated from the communiques published by the organization. Anticapitalism is a recurring topic when they refer to their relation with the industries present in the territory they claim as their own, summarized in their words as an “unrestricted compromise of expelling from our territory the forestry industries and any other capitalist expression that threatens the Mapuche way of life and their people.” (7) Their demand for the forestry industry to leave the area is continually stated, as can be seen in other communiques published on July 2021 (8), December 2021 (9), November 2022 (10), and September 2023 (11), just to list a few examples.

The indigenist aspect of the group’s ideology can also be extrapolated from their arguments and demands, in one of the messages published they declare: “If they want war, they will have it and if they want peace they will have to give back the territories usurped by blood and fire from our ancestors” (12). The narrative built centers not only on a recuperation of the territory but also of customs and a sense of identity that is connected to the land, for this reason, their name the land the “Walmapu” (surrounding territory in Mapudungun) and constantly refer to traditional figures and call for the Mapuche people to return to their way: “We make a call, also, to the alluded communities to ponder on their actions and retake their own way as Mapuche, based on the norms traced by our Kuifikeche (ancestors) that obliges us not to compromise with the usurper Winka (non-mapuche)” (13). Because of this the group consciously builds a counter-narrative, as stated in a communique: “today those who, in light of our actions, attempt to show themselves as victims are the same that have justified the territorial dispossession creating a false truth, believing themselves owners of a history that does not belong to them”. (14)

As of recently, during September of 2023, the group got involved in a highly mediatic controversy, when Chilean authorities claimed to have detained members of the MLR, revealing that two of the alleged members were part of the Chilean police, Carabineros (15). These claims were quickly denied by the group, stating that it was a manipulation scheme from the media that aimed to damage the group’s image (16).

It is also important to remark that the organization (probably before their formal organization) conducted activities in the same territory. Additionally, the group claims that Lemuel Fernandez, a Mapuche killed by the police in 2019 (17), is one of their own (18).

Approach to Resistance

The MLR has stated that their actions are decided through a process that corresponds with the traditional Mapuche way, discussed between the communities (this is called nütram, which translates to dialogues), which are composed of different “lov”, the traditional familial structure (19).

Most of the actions that have been taken by the group are incendiary attacks against infrastructure, however, the specific objectives may vary. In 2020 they attacked an antenna that belonged to Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) and in 2021 they claimed attacks against 31 cabins (typically used for tourism) in Contulmo. In 2022 they destroyed around 35 units of machinery connected to the forestry industry and in 2023 they claimed more incendiary attacks, the first one in April targeting agricultural land in Lebu and then in August, where they burned more cabins next to Lake Lanalhue (20).

Alliances & Relations

The group hasn’t conducted attacks with other militant groups active in the area, but they have shown solidarity with them and published some communiques together. For example, in July 2021, they published a communique about the death of Pablo Marchant, a member of the Coordinadora Arauco Malleco (CAM), sending their condolences to his family and claiming that in light of those developments, they will follow the steps of Pablo and other weichafe (warriors) that have been killed during the conflict. They also renewed their support for the armed struggle against the Chilean state and forestry industries present in the region. This communique was also signed by the Weichan Auka Mapu (WAM) (21).

Works Cited

(1) RML, «Acción armada contra efectivos policiales en el sector Lleu Lleu», 14 de abril de 2020,

(2) Gomez, Rodrigo. “Cámara de Diputados declara a la CAM y otras tres organizaciones radicales como “asociaciones ilícitas de carácter terrorista”,” La tercera, June 1, 2022. Accessed 16/08/2023: zaciones-radicales-como-asociaciones-ilicitas-de-caracter-terrorista/RZYPRDJ6QJEORBWNIYHQMZ DI6E/

(3) Pairicán, Fernando and Álvarez, Rolando. “La Nueva Guerra de Arauco: La Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco y los nuevos movimientos de resistencia mapuche en el Chile de la Concertación (1997-2009)”, Izquierdas 10 (august, 2011): 66-84.4

(4) T13, “Reportan violentos enfrentamientos en ruta que une Cañete y Tirúa”. 2020. Accessed 16/08/2023:

(5) Salgado, Daniela. “Fiscalía confirma utilización de auto bomba en ataque en cercanías del puente Lleu Lleu”, 2020. Accessed 16/08/2023: de-coche-bomba-en-ataque-de-puente-lleu-lleu.shtml

(6) La Tercera.”Fiscalía confirma utilización de auto bomba en ataque de sujetos desconocidos en puente Lleu Lleu”. 2020. Accessed 16/08/2023: “” -sujetos-desconocidos-en-puente-lleu-lleu/QNXTH5DDUNEGHOKO2E7IVOCYYE/














(20) a-resistencia-mapuche-lavkenche-en-bio-bio-y-la-araucania.shtml


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