The following article was written by Pablo Ortiz, photos by Hernan Virgo, published in El Deber:
“Colleagues, we also celebrate the 1st of May [labor day], because although we are not wage-earners, we are workers, are free laborers. Why is that we petty our territory, why we defend the TIPNIS, because we do not want to be ’empatronados’ (slaves) [belong to any master/landlord]”, said Adolfo Chavez, President of the Confederation of indigenous peoples of Bolivia (CIDOB), before starting the third day (yesterday) walk from the 9th Indigenous March.” There, the column, which is slimming, made a small civic act in commemoration to the working day.
And it wasn’t an easy day for the marchers. Supported only by the Conamaq and the Guarayo village, Indians of the Tipnis launched Tuesday a hike of 14 kilometres until the Tijamuchí bridge by a disastrous road. The day started fresh, Clean Sky following the passage of the South, but with the passing of the hours was warming up and making a dent in the group, composed of elders, women, youth and children.
But that was not the most complicated. The Trinidad-San Ignatios de Moxos road is cut by the overflow of the Mamoré in four sites, three of them before reaching the Tijamuchí. There, amid stretches of mud, should pass the column, which placated its step. Their food, clothing and belongings of cuisine had it harder. There were two waterlogged points that were possible to pass only with four-wheel vehicles, but the third passage needed the help of a pontoon. In that place, four kilometres from the Tijamuchí, the water reached the chest [of a grown-up].
It was there where Peter Nuni, indigenous Ignatian and parliamentarian moxeño, recalled that this road is 40 years old and is always the same story: rain, by milder to be and it becomes impassable. “This is the kind of ecological roads that builds the Bolivian State. Why rather than ask road to Cochabamba, the Moxeños not started asking for a stable road to Trinidad”, said.
The step by this point was more complicated because there was only a pontoon, which should also do service in another section flooded two kilometres beyond the Tijamuchí. Drivers affiliated to the Association of free transport, which makes interprovincial service between Trinidad and several provinces, organized a small blockade to carry out the pontoon, causing tension. For them [drivers], the marchers are just loose lazy people who live from politics and do not want road.
Once saved this obstacle, the March [protest-walk], consisting of about 100 adults, arrived at the Tijamuchí. There was expecting them a prize: a score of bufeos (river dolphins) have ‘colonized’ the River to feed on the closeup fish and ventón, which abound in the area. For children and indigenous people of CONAMAQ [highlanders] was a spectacle never seen before. The Andean who had gone in the 8th March were surprised to see the area they camped back then, flooded. They pointed to a leafy tree in the middle of the river and pointed out that in August had sleep there.
A ‘mamatalla’ [woman] of the CONAMAQ took the fright of her life. She approached the shore to cool off and a bufeo went to ‘greet’, making her run away. Others, who first saw the mammal, asked what time were they going to fish for eating ‘a mixed Grill of Dolphin’. There the Amazonian indigenous explained them that the bufeos are not eaten, except in an extreme emergency.
As the afternoon progressed, the logistics still behind, trying to cross the pond. Depending on its capacity for mobilization, they will try to reach Fatima, the first indigenous community that will be reached on Wednesday, that leads to La Paz. There it is possible that a group of Moxeños ignacianos will join the mobilization which seeks to prevent that a road split the TIPNIS in two. There will be half way in San Ignacio, a place where they will not be well received.