24 de junio de 2010

Indigenous marching for their rights: The real world beyond discursive allegories

James Cameron's Avatar served as a discursive platform for Bolivia's  president Evo Morales who publicly declared he 'identifies' with the Na'vi, the indigenous people inhabiting a planet called Pandora. The  Huffington Post says: 'A self-proclaimed socialist, Evo Morales says he identifies with the film's "profound show of resistance to capitalism and the struggle for the defense of nature."'

This is something you probably heard and, if fact, sounds discursively quite right. Well, unfortunately it seems that recent events in Bolivia are showing something rather different.

Indigenous peoples from the Bolivian Amazon gathered at the CIDOB [Esp], started a march against Morales' government, likely to last approximately a month,demanding official acknowledgement of indigenous autonomy with full competencies, established by newly passed Constitution, and partially denied recent Electoral and Autonomy Laws. Moreover, and certainly this will recall you Na'vi struggle, they oppose the construction of the road Trinidad - Cochabamba to cross and affect the biodiversity in the TIPNIS (Indian Territory and Isiboro Sécure National Park), not an 'imperialist' project but a Morales' government one. They also oppose the enslavement of the coca growers  to their lands (ups! Morales' group and main supporters), group that want to grow coca in the region.

 Morales' government has diminished the march (read it here [Esp]) arguing that this action has only political interest motivated by USAID, but also insist to negotiate with leaders. The latter sounds like a reasonable option although indigenous want to make sure their right are guaranteed and claim that the only way is by replicating the 1990 and 1996 marches to La Paz, considered now the genesis of historic changes and recognition of indigenous peoples.

These brave men and women are more likely to be the Na'vi in the real world, beyond discursive positions and silly photoshoped allegories.

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