An Interview with DavĂ­d Benigno Crispin Espinoza of the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qullasuyu (CONAMAQ)

by Bill Weinberg, Indian Country Today
With a second cross-country protest march by indigenous rainforest dwellers and their allies now advancing on La Paz, it is clear that Bolivia’s indigenous peoples are divided in their positions on President Evo Morales, a populist and declared socialist of pure Aymara descent. The first march called to protest the controversial new highway slated to cut through the Isiboro SĂ©cure National Park Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS) in October saw police repression and counter-protests by supporters of the road project. Then, in January, pro-highway marchers—also mostly indigenous—held their own, smaller, march on La Paz. The government claimed this march as a mandate for the highway, and passed a law establishing norms for “prior consultation” with indigenous peoples in the project. The new march against the road is a clear rejection of this law.