Rodrigo Mundaca MODATIMA
Rodrigo Mundaca who works with Movement to Defend Water and Land Rights and the Protection of the Environment (MODATIMA) in Chile, reported death threats, allegedly related to his struggle against purportedly illegal river water extraction by avocado plantations in the province of Petorca. Privatization of water rights and "illegal" pipes that carry water to private wells have allegedly dried up Petorca's waterways, limiting water access for the locals. Rodrigo said: "They (the avocado industry, ed.) claim that my colleagues and I want to damage Chilean exports. They say that we are irresponsible and that our actions will cost many Chileans their jobs. They call us eco-terrorists, and allege that we are working against the best interests of the country. They called my colleagues too, with the same threats. We don’t know who is doing the calling, and we have no proof. We have an idea of who may be behind them, but we have no concrete evidence, and in our experience, the police do not investigate these cases. In 2015, I was assaulted in the street in broad daylight, and the police have done nothing to investigate that case,” he says. Mundaca has an earlier conviction for slander, based on his 2015 claims in the Chilean press that plantation owners had been convicted of water theft. Several buyers, including Aldi Danmark and Dansk Supermarked, expressed their concerns. One of the avocado plantations in Chile, which has been fined for water code violations, stated: “We completely condemn the threats received by Mr. Rodrigo Mundaca’s. We consider them absolutely unacceptable. Threats of any kind are illegal and we strongly believe that if there is a discussion, it must be resolved from a legal point of view”.