(Feb 20 Santiago, Cl) After months as a fugitive, Mapuche leader Mijael Carbone is free. Last year he was convicted of attempting to murder a police officer, but went into hiding before the verdict was announced in August. Chile's highest court has found the evidence didn't connect Carbone to the crime. According to the Santiago Times, Carbone's defense team "... cited the prosecution’s reliance on incomplete physical descriptions as well as the exclusion of other arguments and evidence as the basis for the retrial."
Carbone claims that actors within the center-right government of Sebastián Piñera have been working to stymie the Mapuche, who seek to secure the rights to their ancestral lands. He cites the active participation of top government leaders in his prosecution:
“Chadwick, Hinzpeter, Andrés Molina and Eric Baumann, who are all in the government right now, spoke out strongly against me,” Carbone said. “to discredit me and to shift attention from the returning of land to the Mapuche people.” CNN Chile, interview
Rodrigo Hinzpeter was appointed Minister of Defense on November 12th. He is the founder of the center-right "National Restoration" party that came to power in 2010 with the election of Piñera. "National Renewal" was the first political party to be organized after the ban on political parties by Pinochet was lifted, and they supported Pinochet as a candidate in 1990. Hinzpeter's role in the repression of the Mapuche coincides with accusations of CIA complicity in preparation for a coup in Ecuador, starting at least as early as January 2012.