El Diario reports:
Concerns of representatives
MAS extractivist policy threatens indigenous people and ecosystems
Indigenous people raise responsibility lawsuits against Evo Morales and his collaborators for biocide and ethnocide, they do not rule out going to international instances to denounce those abuses
The extension of the agricultural frontier, the exploration of hydrocarbons and minerals in natural reserves, the construction of hydroelectric plants in Bala and El Chepete are some of the extractive policies that the Evo Morales government is implementing. Actions that are threatening the existence of at least 10 indigenous peoples that inhabit those regions and the extinction of the unique biodiversity in the country.
The indigenous leaders, from the Isiboro Sécure National Park Indigenous Territory (Tipnis), Fernando Vargas and Alex Villca of the Amazon, agreed separately, that the extractive economic policy of the government is putting indigenous nations at risk. They warned that the only way to stop these abuses is the unity of those affected and start a fight in defense of their territory.
“We are reaching such large dimensions that we can no longer tolerate, we cannot live in peace, we need to take concrete actions and hopefully, in the following days, civil society organizations, indigenous peoples who still believe that a better Bolivia is possible we must act,” said Villca.
The Political Constitution of the State (CPE), promulgated in 2009, recognized the existence of 36 indigenous nations throughout the country, of which about 29 of them are located in four departments: 15 in Beni, 4 in Pando, 5 in Santa Cruz and 3 in Tarija.
A month ago, President Evo Morales approved Supreme Decree 3973, which authorized the controlled burning of forests in the departments of Santa Cruz and Beni, for agricultural activities on private and community lands. In these regions 19 indigenous nations are settled.
Opponents accuse the government that the approval of this rule caused the forest fire that Roboré-Santa Cruz registered in past weeks, where the fire consumed more than 500,000 hectares of the dry forest of Chiquitanía. In this department there are 5 indigenous nations: Chiquitano, Guarayos, Ayoreo, Guaraní and Guarasu´We, the first two are the most affected by this environmental catastrophe.
Another of the affected regions is the Tipnis, which through Law 969 that removed the intangibility of the protected area and made viable the construction of the hydroelectric highway, authorized Bolivian Fiscal Oilfields (YPFB) for the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons, In addition to the entry of mining cooperatives to obtain minerals.
In this nature reserve there are more than 17 nations and indigenous peoples, among them: Moxeño, Sirionó, Yuracaré, Mosetén, Chimán and others who are being affected by the depredation of their territories. Vargas warned of the uncontrolled entry of colonizers who are cultivating coca illegally in Polygon 7.
The Natural Reserve of Tariquía of the department of Tarija is also threatened by Petrobras who signed a contract with the government for the exploration of gas in that region. The inhabitants are in permanent emergency before the coercion by the company that intends to enter at any time.
After leaving six days from the reservation to Tarija, in a town hall they demanded that the government cancel the agreement and warned that they will not allow the depredation of their territory, which is one of the reserves that houses a diversity of flora and fauna.
In an effort to turn Bolivia into the South American energy center, it planned the construction of three hydroelectric plants: the El Chepete and El Bala dams, which would endanger the National Park and Integrated Natural Management Area Madidi -La Paz and the Reserve of Community Biosphere and Land of Origin Pilón Lajas-Beni.
The second controversial project has been the construction of the Rositas hydroelectric plant, which is expected to impact the Río Grande Valles Cruceños Integrated Natural Management Area (ANMI).
A scientific journal Ecology and Evolution of Nature (Nature Ecology and Evolution) observed the contradictory speeches of Evo Morales, taking into account that in different international forums makes a staunch defense of the rights of mother nature, but in the country applies rules that allow the devastation of protected areas.
Alfredo Romero, principal investigator of the study and member of the Department of Geography of the University of Humboldt, in Berlin, pointed to 11 laws approved by the Government that make these actions feasible.
For example, in 2015, Supreme Decrees 2298 and 2366 were enacted to reduce prior consultation to a simple administrative procedure and allow the exploration and exploitation of natural resources in protected areas. Another of the regulations in question is DS 2366, which approved the exploration of hydrocarbons within the protected areas of Bolivia.
In that same year, Law 741 was approved, authorizing the extension of the clearing of up to 20 hectares in agricultural properties, which gave rise to the enactment of several decrees, including questioned 3973.
In this regard, the indigenous leader Alex Villca, proposed to initiate a trial of responsibilities against President Evo Morales, for the violation of human rights of indigenous peoples and the rights of nature.
This was backed by former Tipnis leader Fernando Vargas. Villca said that this decision can be taken by the indigenous leaders fighting for the defense of their territories, which resulted in the creation of the National Coordinator for the Defense of Indigenous Peasant Indigenous Territories and Protected Areas (Contiocap).
For his part, Vargas did not rule out that they go to international authorities, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the International Court of Mother Earth to denounce for biocide and ethnocide.