Bolivian indigenous leaders “unmask” Evo Morales at Rio People’s Summit

At the People’s Summit being held on the sidelines of the Rio +20 UN environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, leaders of the Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of the Bolivian Oriente (CIDOB) denounced President Evo Morales for violating the rights of indigenous peoples in Bolivia‘s eastern lowlands. Announced CIDOB vice president Nelly Romero: “We have unmasked the double standard that [Morales] has in his discourse on the international level, making believe that he is a defender of indigenous peoples, of the rights of the indigenous peoples of Mother Earth, of the natural resources and the forest.” Celso Padilla, president of the Continental Council of the Guaraní People, noted the death of two indigenous leaders in a traffic accident on the cross-country march now underway to oppose construction of a highway through the TIPNIS indigenous reserve. “This wouldn’t have happened if the president had not been infatuated with building the highway through the TIPNIS; the only one responsible is him.” (Erbol, June 20)

The two Tsimané indigenous leaders, Silvia Cunay and Alejandro Cayuba, were killed June 19 when their truck slid off the highway near Yolosa in La Paz department. March leader Bertha Bejarano said the marchers had been welcomed by the residents of Yolosa, but admitted that most of the marchers are ill due to the rigors of the trek. (ANF, La Jornada, La Paz, June 20; Opinión, Cochabamba, June 19) (Recent news reports that Bejarano had been arrested on drug charges in Brazil seem to have been referring to an earlier arrest.)

Brazil’s Guarani people meanwhile won a victory as Mato Grosso do Sul prosecutor Marco Antonio Delfino de Almeida requested that the government pay the Guyraroka Guarani community 170 million reais ($83 million) in restitution for usurped lands. According to the Public Prosecution Office in Brazil, the community was expelled from its ancestral lands, near the Paraguay border, starting in 1927. The suit was filed against the Brazilian indigenous affairs agency FUNAI in April. Negotiations for land recovery are still underway. Under pressure from the Brazilian government, Shell-Raizen has abandoned plans to produce sugar cane for “biofuels” on lands usurped form the Guyraroka. (BBC News, June 20)

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  1. Meanwhile
    There’s still claims that CIDOB are being paid by the U.S. to destablize the country..without much evidence:
    While other outside supporters of Bolivia simply believe the road was a totally awesome one upping of another region:
    It reminds me of the Eagleton vs. Panwee rivalry on Parks and Recreation
    I wish there was a way of compromising- clearly the road could be of use for transportation, but it would take a lot of the habitat/territory with it.
    Course there’s also the ranchers:

    1. Flat-out lies on Bolivia
      We’d like to see Wrongkindofgreen’s evidence that CIDOB is allied with Ruben Costas. They make the assertion without sourcing or linking it. Did they ask CIDOB? And where did they get the idea that Ruben Costas’ party is the “Greens”? We thought his parties were Autonomy for Bolivia and (more recently, when he embraced outright separatism and stopped identifying with “Bolivia”) Truth and Social Democracy. Until your pals at Wrongkindofgreen provide some corroboration of their claims, we will assume they are just making shit up.