Daily Archives: May 21, 2012

TIPNIS protest-walk ordeal update, May 21, 2012

Pablo Ortiz writes for El Deber:

Weak, small, vulnerable, isolated from the help of cities by the bad condition of the roads, but firm in its intention to reach La Paz and fulfil the mandate to give their message to the world: the TIPNIS is not split apart.

Thus it is the indigenous March after 23 days on the road, after covering the 225 km between Trinidad and San Borja, and seeing how people goes and comes from the column and how the leaders of the regional of the National Confederation of indigenous peoples of Bolivia (CIDOB) give back in return for an agreement with the Government.

Two weeks ago, from Puerto San Borja, they released a platform of demands that it has not been heard, that has not been answered by the Executive; Nevertheless, three of their leaders believe that the worst is over, that from now on, in the 375 kilometers remaining until La Paz, the panorama will be better.

Bertha Bejarano, President of the March and only regional head in the mobilization, explains that there was no rush to leave the road, everything was well prepared in four national committees of the CIDOB, all regional Presidents signed the call, but in the end left them alone. The day of mobilization left Trinidad, were empty-handed. There was no adequate logistics or food to sustain the column. To make matters worse, bad weather was present and retained them in Puerto Varador for three days.

Rafael Quispe, leader of the National Confederation of Ayllus and Markas of the Qullasuyu [CONAMAQ], a stronghold of the movement, points out that this situation was due to the planning of the Government. It considers that the Executive was devoted to put pressure on all non-governmental organizations which supported the mobilization last year and that left them without logistics. “We always told that the burden would accommodate on the road,” said Fernando Vargas, President of the sub-central Sécure.

For him, the President Evo Morales was prepared well to repel the mobilization. He believes that the return of Juan Ramón Quintana to the Cabinet has been key to do so. He pointed out as responsible for the chairpersons of regional alliance with the Government, but nonetheless says that the foundations are joining the mobilization.

Quispe also sees it that way. It considered that there was an organic, almost forced participation in 2011, but there is now a strong conviction that leaves for the defense of the territory.

It may progress to be weak and vulnerable, but their platform of demands is almost a government program. It raises the respect for indigenous territories, prior consultation, the remediation of environmental impacts, but also a renewal of the process of change, with the modification of many laws that has begun to draw the plurinational State and the use of resources of international reserves in the plural economy as set forth in the Constitution.

However, so far, the Government has ignored the March. From the Ministry of the Interior [Ministry of Government] they refer to her as “the March of the CIDOB”. There has been an official reply to the statement of claims and even contacts to establish a dialogue. Bejarano adds that instead of answers they have received are major interference to the organizational structure of the indigenous movement. Vargas completed the idea and ensures that the Government is trying to dump communities against the leadership, bringing them gifts and putting cell phone antennas, not to communicate with their families, but to control what is happening in the community.

«The world is disappointed with Evo»

Edwin Vazquez / President of the coordinating indigenous from the Amazon basin (COICA) [not only for Bolivia but comprehends all Amazon basin]

– How to assess the indigenous March?

– With very good prospects, even from our headquarters in Quito [Ecuador], where we are also here representing the indigenous brothers of Bolivia. We call on the Government access to have a dialogue. We know that there is intransigence, but that is a fruit that have not laid to talk. If the Government does not access to that request of the brothers, what happens escapes to the responsibility of the peoples.

– What can the Coica do for this March?

– At international level, we are awaiting. I’m seeing that they continue with the same energy as they started on April 27 and believe that they will not diminish, but that they will rise if the Government put obstacles in the way.

– How is the process of consultation?

– Ecuador has a good law of prior consultation, but it has been politicized terribly. In March the Indians made a March by the water and rather than solve, the Government came out with another reversal. The same goes for Peru. We had lived the killing of Bawa and with this Government also the “Prior Consultation” Law is politicized and it goes against the ILO Convention 169. The only thing that exists in the Amazon basin are resources that benefit a few and harm to peoples.

– Do you think that indigenous peoples are seeing as an obstacle?

– We are not against the development or exploitation of oil, we are against how it is removed and how it is exploited. Development becomes for us contamination and slow death to our families. Cadmium and lead in our blood. We want to change that.

– How is Evo Morales?

– I’ve been one of the admirers of Evo Morales, but I am now disappointed. Not only I. All indigenous peoples of the world feel disappointed of Evo Morales.

They call on Chávez to one Assembly [for May] 25

The Coordinator of ethnic peoples of Santa Cruz (Cpesc) convened the maximum leader of the Confederation of indigenous peoples of Bolivia (CIDOB), Adolfo Chávez, an Assembly of the sector which will take place on Friday May 25 for stating the progress of the 9th March of indigenous peoples in defense of the indigenous territory and Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure (TIPNIS).

In dialogue with El Deber, the rep of the Cpesc, Rosendo Alpire, explained that the Indians want a Chávez report regarding the effectiveness of mobilization and the alleged maneuvers with the opposition.

“The leadership of Chávez are unaware of some regional [issues] and so we requested that the leader be present to the Assembly to explain the objectives of the March,” said Alpire.

“Yet, we have not departed [split] from the CIDOB, only we have summoned to a meeting,” he clarified.

Official Congressman Bienvenido Zacu said around nine regionals of the Cidob are not in agreement with the development of the March and are calling for changes in the indigenous directive.

Alpire pointed out that there was no such change in the directive, but the Assembly for next week aimed at Chavez to give his report to the bases, to see if he continues in Office.

Other leaders of the CIDOB ensures that the Government of Evo Morales seeks to divide the Organization and establish an entity parallel through leaders who are allied to the ruling party.

“We welcome anything the Government wants to do with our regionals, but they will never buy the conscience.” “The dignity of the indigenous peoples is not for sale and the struggle will continue, that’s always been the mandate we have from the bases,” said the Adviser of the CIDOB, Johnny Cardenas.

“You want to create a parallel CIDOB, taking into account the regional of the Amazon and obviously Trinidad;” However, the wisdom, the wisdom of the indigenous brothers will not lead to all this. “This indigenous movement has solid structure,” said Cardenas.


– Chiquitanos. The chiquitano indigenous people reported that the leader of the Cpesc, Rosendo Alpire, is wrong to convene 13 regionals to “overthrow” their President, Adolfo Chávez. This was stated by Jose Bailaba, Great chieftain of the indigenous Chiquitana Organization (OICH).

– Zonacruz. Elizabeth Anduari, Secretary of health of Zonacruz (which brings together the Guarani Indians in Santa Cruz), denounced that “apocryphal leaders not attending of the 9th March in defense of the TIPNIS have convened this meeting to overthrow Adolfo Chávez.” “This call is illegal and not due to the statutes of the CIDOB.”

– Interference. Indigenous peoples fear that the Government will seek the Division of the Cidob.


Another report from Pablo Ortiz, which appeared today in El Deber:

The leadership of the ninth indigenous March in defense of the indigenous territory and Isiboro Sécure National Park (TIPNIS) have decided to convene the Government for a first round of negotiations in Chaparina on the platform of nine points which include the decision on the road.

The marchers raised that the dialogue is conducted in the place where, on September 25, 2011, the police repressed the eighth progress [who were] tied, struck and moved in buses, in a failed attempt to put an end to the mobilization.

According to the Chairman of the Continental Council of the Guarani nation, Celso Padilla, this and other resolutions will be read today in the square of San Borja.


Today’s plan:

Now, this news appeared last night in El Deber’s website, it reports that the protest-walk group will go today from San Borja to Embocada, a 30 kilometer walk, I wish them a safe journey, for more info in Spanish on this, see this link.

The following cartoons also help illustrate TIPNIS precarious defense to the loaded and aggressive governmental incursion:

This is from El Dia, May 15, 2012:

Sign reads: “indigenous Iscariot”

It refers of one person who has been found out “giving away” gifts to disband the protest walk.

He was spelled. The indigenous leadership structure is facing strong attack in all sorts to weaken the march and eventually force the road to cut the TIPNIS in half.

On the other hand, indigenous leaders from other countries (Ecuador) are also beginning to expose and understand what is going on.

This one is from El Diario, May 19, 2012:

Viceminister of the Ministry of Government: “congress-woman..”! you are helping the TIPNIS “march” economically, selling little cards! isn’t it true?..”

member of the Congress: “..effectively mister! that is, since I cannot afford to buy cell phones or outboard motors to give them away…!”

Government tried to portray as illegal the fact that some politicians were sending support to the March, while the government has been openly using fiscal funds to buy some gifts for the sole purpose of isolating the March and provoking its failure.

I see an impressive resolve of the indigenous people who fight for their territory and our national park system. And an expected outcome from current president of the coca growers from the Chapare and MAS political behavior.