Bolivia’s Aymara Dissidents

David Crispin

As a cross-country indigenous march advanced on La Paz to protest a planned highway into the Amazon rainforest in May, Bolivian indigenous leader Davíd Benigno Crispin spoke before the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York, where he accused the government of Evo Morales of attempting to divide the country’s indigenous movement. Crispin represents the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qullasuyu (CONAMAQ)—the name referencing the villages (ayllus) and regions (markas) of the traditional Aymara realm (Qullasuyu). CONAMAQ is the principal indigenous organization of Bolivia’s Altiplano to make common cause with the native rainforest dwellers of the lowlands who oppose the planned highway through the Isiboro Sécure National Park Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS). In an interview, Crispin details what he sees as the Morales government’s effort to undermine the autonomy of Bolivia’s powerful indigenous movement so as to push through new roads, mines and other development projects.


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