Machi [Medicine Healer] Celestino Córdova in critical state due to incarceration

celestino-300x208May 15th, 2013

Public Communique

The family, friends and acquaintances of our Machi [Medicine Healer] Celestino Cordova feel the necessity to communicate the critical state of physical and spiritual health in which he finds himself, due to incarceration of political prison.

At the same time we therefore denounce the undignified and inhumane treatment that he and his visiting family have had to face.

The details of events are as follows:

  • Due to the Machi’s incarceration in January and post transfer to Temuco Prison, his family and friends had negotiated with the Warden wherein they would be made aware of any case of illness and facilitate his family and other traditional authorities to take care of his physical and spiritual health on the basis of various international agreements signed by the Chilean State in relation to Indigenous Peoples and the understanding that Western medicine lacks competency to evaluate ailments of spiritual well being.
  • On May 10th, 2013, Machi Celestino had one of the worst crisis from spiritual weakness, unto which the Gendarmerie evaluated the situation as an act of rebellion, since he lacked the strength to stand on foot and did not respond to their questions, and thereby threatened with tying him up and taking him to solitary confinement as punishment for his behaviour; action which was stopped by other Mapuche Political Prisoners.
  • Gendarmerie did not acknowledge this agreement carried out with the family, and were moreover completely ignorant and idle unto the Machi’s situation.
  • Once his family came to the Gendarmerie to state the health of Celestino, the guards denied them initial visiting access, making them wait more than usual. Once they could enter the premises, a few guards proceeded to state racist insults to the family members.
  • That same day came another Medicine Healer that could not stabilize Celestino. The next day his family, and two healers were able to enter the premises who managed to stabilize the Machi’s delicate condition, agreeing with the Gendarmerie to communicate if his condition worsened.
  •  We would also like to refer to the statements made by the regional Chief of Gendarmerie, Carlos Cortez, on Sunday May 12th in the El Mercurio newspaper regarding Celestino, whom “has had no health problems and if he did, has not demonstrated as such,” clearly stating that that he had no idea what was happening with the Gendarmerie in Temuco, showing his incompetence considering that Temuco is the major penal centre in the region and that Celestino had a similar episode previously where he fainted twice


  • We thank all those that have shown their concern for our Machi Celestino Cordova. We also call out to demonstrate unto these types of situations, since some other Machi have stated, he will be in a critical state while his spirit is incarcerated. We therefore call out any type of action of solidarity and support to all Mapuche Political Prisoners and especially with the Machi detained in Temuco and Osorno. We hold the Chilean State responsible unto any decay in the state of health of our traditional spiritual leaders.

Freedom and Honour for Celestino Cordova!

Freedom for All Mapuche Political Prisoners!

For Reclamation and Territorial Control

Family and friends of Mapuche Political Prisoners of Temuco

Lof Yeupeko-Katrileo

País Mapuche

Distributed by: The Women’s Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu [Toronto]


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