The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Benetton unmoved by the indigenistas

A case that may prove worthy of study: the Cliff Notes version (Guardian today) is that the Benetton family bought (it seems, with vacant possession) a tract of 900,000 hectares in Patagonia in 1991, on which it has raised sheep. In 2002, Atilio Curinanco and his family of Mapuche moved on to part of the Benetton land, and started to farm it.

The court in Argentina was seised of the matter and the Benettons vindicated their right to possession.

The details aren't so important as the fact that the Benettons evidently find no compelling need to do kow-tow to the prevailing gringo infatuation with soi-disant indigenous peoples (let's see what Kennewick Man has to say about that!). When they bought the land, the Indians weren't in occupation: they had to evict no one back in 1991. Ten years later, a family (political activists, perhaps?) try their luck. Brits or Yanks might have quailed at the bad publicity: not so, Luciano and the boys.

There are, of course, enormous holes in the story. For instance, did the Argentinian government send in the army to clear the land of Indians before they sold it off? If not, when were the Indians ejected?

And which Indians? What relation does the Curinanco family have to the Indians who were last in occupation of the land? Are they merely carpetbaggers with brown skin?

Considerable research would be needed to gain any degree of comfort about what has happened (Marie-LĂ©onie (earlier today) is a continuing warning!). But the fact the story has absolutely nothing whatever to do with Bush/Kerry is an attraction.

There's a long Espresso piece (July 14) on the subject; I surmise from the pitiful results from searches on the Italian Google News page that a number of famous names of Italian media are now subscription-only.

More later, perhaps.

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