Bolivia: how many indigenous nationalities?

On June 4 Bolivia’s Justice Minister Cecilia Ayllon presided at a meeting in Sucre that brought together the country’s leading jurists, including members of the Constitutional Tribunal, with traditional indigenous authorities from the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qullasuyu (CONAMAQ), the Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of the Oriente of Bolivia (CIDOB), the Unitary Confederation of Campesino Workers of Bolivia (CSUTCB), and the Sindical Confederation of Intercultural Communities of Bolivia (CSCIB). At the meeting, aimed at hashing out a common position on indigenous autonomy as guaranteed by Bolivia’s new constitution, conflict emerged over Ayllon’s assertion that the guarantees should be applied to 36 ethnic groups. CONAMAQ’s David Crispín asserted that there are actually 50 indigenous peoples and nationalities within Bolivia under the standards outlined in the constitution. CONAMAQ’s legal authority Simón Antonio Cuiza offered to provide documentation for the claim to jurists and lawmakers, and work with them to truly establish Bolivia as a “plurinational state.” (CONAMAQ via Facebook, June 7)