In recent years, Los Alerces National Park lost an area similar to 3/4 of the federal capital due to fires believed to be intentional. There are about 9,500 soccer fields, according to environmentalists from Chubut. The authorities have counted more than 40 lights possibly fired on purpose. It is neither lightning strikes nor human incompetence such as lit cigarette butts or poorly extinguished stoves. A technique that is repeated is that of the candle covered by a “little paper tent.” In this way, the flame expands without the breeze or winds being able to extinguish it. This Sunday, the governor of Chubut, Ignacio Torres, He claimed to have evidence of this type. For the president there was no doubt that the fire that now stalks one of the most lush and beautiful places in the country had been caused on purpose.
One wonders who could benefit from an uncontrolled fire like this. It is not clear who it benefits, but it does harm: nature, without a doubt, the residents, tourism in the middle of the season and politics because both the Provincial Government and the National State, through their mechanisms to combat . the fire, They are subject to the natural pressure of having to stop the environmental drama.
In a lost corner of the current agenda, it was commented that Patagonia was getting hotter than the historical average. They also prayed that a fire would not break out now, when many contracted employees of National Parks could be left without duties due to the reformist impetus that comes with the new government and its battered omnibus law. Heat and lack of political interest, two undisputed elements. Upon those truths, the flames and smoke returned to the Cordillera.
Governor Torres, then, introduced an element that was not taken into account: the RAM (Mapuche Ancestral Resistance) as a possible executor of the fire. The criminal organization led by Facundo Jones Huala had not been heard of since October 2022, the month in which the eviction of the property seizure of Villa Mascardi, in Bariloche, took place.
Three months later, The fall in January 2023, of the activist leader dressed as a woman in a barbecue area in El Bolsón, seemed to have decreed the end of the RAM. Without land seizures and without a reference, the rest of the members dispersed: with several of them detained and many others fugitives, the Huala clan finally entered into an instance of dissolution. But an occupation, forgotten 400 kilometers further south, remained latent and alien, out of the reach of media debate.
Torres used RAM as a figure. He tried to explain that those who participate in a takeover in Los Alerces since 2020 fit into the universe of the so-called pseudo Mapuches, who seek to obtain land without having any ancestral link with the occupied places. The following must be clarified again: throughout all of Patagonia there are harmonious relations between the provincial governments and the descendants of the native peoples. There is no animosity or conflict between parties. The government of Chubut, for example, has just “repatriated” to its territory the poncho of the Inacayal chief that was in the La Plata Science Museum.
When he said that there are criminals causing fires in Los Alerces, Torres pointed to the takeover of El Maitenal, within the National Park, which began in 2020 and is led by Cruz Cárdenas, a former National Parks employee, who was a brigadier and has knowledge of fire management. “This is a replica of what happened in Villa Mascardi. If they don’t stop it, it could end the same or worse,” the National Park Rangers Union said to Clarion when the taking began in Los Alerces. Cárdenas and his men had just taken land and a property intended for housing for park rangers; They had burned gates and torn down fences, claiming “the ancestral right to those lands.” As a corollary, they had spread a harsh statement on social networks that ended with the phrase: “Not pass”.
Fire in Los Alerces National Park. Brigade members are working to control the fire.
Since Cárdenas and his clan, the Lof Pailako, have remained in the area, several intentional outbreaks have been recorded in areas that are difficult to access. The vast majority were denounced with forceful elements. While the Los Alerces National Park was managed by officials related to Kirchnerism, every time the group’s eviction was demanded, the measure was unsuccessful. The end of the Government of Alberto Fernández caused the sphere of political protection to fall.
Cárdenas has already accumulated several charges for fires and this Monday, the governor was presented with evidence at the Guido Otranto federal court to ask him to be charged again, now for the flames that are growing in the South. The province, then, constituted itself as a plaintiff. “You can’t do more to the idiot,” they said from the local government in reference to the magistrate. Not only are the climatic winds different in Patagonia. The political winds have also changed.