15 de junio de 2011

TIPNIS: the fight has just begun!

photo: www.kalipedia.org
Almost 21 years ago, back in August 1990, Moxeños, Yukis, Sirionós and other indigenous groups from central and Eastern Bolivian Amazon region started a 1000-kilometer march toward La Paz city, seat of Bolivia's government, demanding "Territory and Dignity", a slogan reflecting their situation of poverty, invisibilization and exclusion.

At that time, the country was ruled under the so-called "neoliberal" ideology led mainly by white-mestizo elites, co-opting the political parties' system, who are now accused, perhaps with very solid arguments, to served following the American government interests'.

The political spectrum, however, has drastically changed in Bolivia in the last two decades. After several pollitically unstable years, a popular movement led by Evo Morales, the coca-grower union's leader, emerged, won national election and took democratically power in 2006. From then, Morales' party, the MAS-IPSP, pledges to be leading a 'democratic Revolution' in the country remaining 'colonial' relations, also discursively known as "the process of change".

Within this context, one of the major changes constitutionally introduced is the Indigenous Autonomy, a particular figure of self ruling and decision making criteria for indigenous peoples to decide, directly and in full capacity, over the natural resources and ways of development according to their traditions, history and own decisions in the regions where they live for centuries.

Thus, Moxeños, Yukis, Sirionós and other indigenous groups, which are a minority in comparison to western Aymaras or Quechuas, are working decidedly toward their autonomy, the conservation of their traditions and genuine development -known as 'vivir bien'- according to their cultural practices and a natural balance with the 'Mother Earth'.

Morales has travelled the world arguing -and glorying- Bolivia's decision of living in balance with the Pachamama, publicising his 'Mother Earth' Bill and demanding effective actions -and economic compensation for poor countries- against climate change from industrialised countries.

Nevertheless, the policies designed and progressively being implemented within the country have a different approach. Natural resources are under intensive exploitation due to international commodity prices and the 'modernisation' of the country is proposed as major target, regardless environmental impact or even the  decisions of indigenous peoples.

This is the context in which indigenous leaders from the TIPNIS (Indigenous Territory from the Isiboro Sécure National Park) are fighting Morales' decision for building the motorway Villa Tunari-San Ignacio de Moxos, a major project drafted to linked the Chapare region, the major illegal-coca crop production zone, to the Bolivian-Brazilian border.

Indigenous from the TIPNIS are completely against this road, mainly arguing that the main purpose is expanding the coca production area into the Park. But this is not all, they have followed closely the environmental impact studies and claim, supported by a number of NGOs and former authorities, that this project is a serious threat to the biodiversity of the area, believed to be one of the richest in the planet.

A number of unique animal and plant species will face imminent extinction due to the government's road design say indigenous leaders, those who yet claim to are still supporting the 'process of change' led by Morales but claiming their culture and natural balance are in serious danger.

indigenous, once again will march for their rights and own decisions 
Latest announcement says that indigenous are organising, once again, a long march to La Paz, the seat of Bolivia's Government, in order to convince the government to stop this road construction, which has started two weeks ago. The government, is worth remember, is not ruled by white-mestizo elites any more. Instead is Evo Morales, a indigenous himself, who came to power claiming to bestow indigenous dignity back once and for all, claiming to make sure we all live in balance with nature and respecting peoples decisions or, as he discursively put it "governs by obeying the people".

Thus, it is time for Morales to show his real commitment toward indigenous peoples rights and environmental preservation. Meanwhile, as a supporters slogan was put on the Facebook campaigning groupthe fight has just begun!

1 comentario:

  1. genial y util hermano... estaremos en contacto.


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