The flag of the Mapuche indigenous people of Chile, whose use became prominent among violent leftist protesters in that country last year, was spotted amid anti-police brutality protests in Minneapolis on Thursday.
A protester appeared on video waving the flag in a crowd of protesters outside of a Minneapolis police department station on Thursday chanting, “F*ck the police,” as captured by the Daily Caller and screenshotted by MRC Latino Director John Bonilla.
Crowd outside of the police station in Minneapolis chants “f*ck the police.”
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 28, 2020
— Jorge Bonilla (@BonillaJL) May 29, 2020
It is not clear why the Mapuche flag appeared in Minneapolis to protest against the police for the death of black man George Floyd, but its presence indicates that radical leftist groups could be using Floyd’s death to assert themselves despite their unclear ties to the incident.
The flag represents the Mapuche people who live in Chile; the Mapuche Nation extends throughout both Chile and Argentina. Protesters waved the Mapuche flag during violent protests last year against the centrist government of Chile. The protests began as peaceful demonstrations against a proposed subway fare hike in the capital, Santiago, but were hijacked by violent leftist groups who began burning down churches, destroying statues of historical figures, and killing people. Chilean authorities found several foreign nationals from leftist dictatorships like Venezuela and Cuba among the rioters.
The Mapuche people comprise the largest of Chile’s native groups — ten percent of 17 million, according to the Guardian. Radical Mapuche groups have protested against socioeconomic grievances stemming back 150 years, and have firebombed more than 900 targets since 2011 and claimed 20 lives.
In 2018, a Mapuche farmer named Camilo Catrillanca was killed by Chilean police, which provoked widespread anger.
“The Mapuche flag cannot only be seen as symbol in favour of the Mapuche cause,” Kenneth Bunker, a Chilean political scientist, told the Guardian, “but also as an anti-system emblem.”
Middle- and working-class protesters in Chile last year adopted the Mapuche flag as a symbol during the mass protests against the subway fare hikes. Some of those arrested for rioting and looting and deported were found to be Cubans, Venezuelans, Bolivians, and Dominicans who hailed from communist or socialist governments.
They were deported for “looting … and being involved in disorder, attempting assault against authorities and lifting barricades,” a Chilean official told Diario de Cuba in November.
For decades, Chile existed as a haven from the Marxist movements that have plagued much of the rest of Latin America, led by Cuba. Cuba is now believed to operate a significant intelligence infrastructure in the country.
“The activity of Cuban intelligence has as its primary objective [government] penetration,” Enrique García, a former Cuban intelligence agent told Chilean publication El Libero, “using secret agents and relations of confidence in all institutions of the government, security agencies, armed forces, political parties, media, universities, indigenous groups, unions, etc. — with the goal of influencing events, destabilizing Chilean democracy, and imposing Cuba’s geopolitical interests on the country and region.”
“Part of the work Cuba does is to bring all these young communists — indigenous leaders, union leaders — to Cuba to take classes where they learn Marxism-Leninism, class struggle, etc.,” he added. “That is an indoctrination job that Cuba engages in that is very dangerous, but public. On the other hand, there are clandestine operations.”
One Twitter user tweeted the video of the flag in Minneapolis, noting its presence, along with the words, “Let injustice burn.”
— HonorYGloria♥️⚘#Apruebo (@JoviNomas) May 29, 2020