Bolivia TIPNIS conflict: Laws and investigations

7 October 2011

Dario Kenner, La Paz

Daily updates on TIPNIS conflict at Twitter: @dariokenner

View all updates here http://twitter.com/#!/dariokenner

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/BoliviaDiary

Pro-TIPNIS poster (credit: Dario Kenner)

Pro-TIPNIS poster (credit: Dario Kenner)

Compared to the days following the police repression of a march by indigenous movements on 25 September this week has been relatively calm. There has been plenty of debate about the contract with Brazilian company OAS but all eyes are on what will happen next week. Potentially several marches will arrive in La Paz and on Sunday 16 October it´s the first time Bolivians will vote for members of the judiciary. What will happen if pro-President Evo Morales and pro-TIPNIS marches arrive at the same time and how this will affect the judicial elections are anyone´s guess.

Today around 3,000 people marched with the main trade union congress (COB) in central La Paz. The protest demanded an increase in salaries and was also in support of the indigenous march opposed to the plan of the Evo Morales government to build a road through a national park and indigenous territory in central Bolivia (TIPNIS). But it was nothing like protests last week. This means either the diverse movement that rose up to reject the police violence is as loosely connected as it seems (including opposition political parties, media and those who discriminate against an “indigenous” President taking advantage of the current situation). Or it could be that people in La Paz are waiting for the indigenous march (currently in Caranavi) to arrive to join it in solidarity on the streets.

Laws

Two different laws are being discussed in the Bolivian parliament:

  • The government is proposing a law (see this link) to suspend road building, and that would potentially allow for a referendum or other types of consultation on whether a road should go through the TIPNIS national park – the idea is the people would decide how in a national debate. However, as the Bolivian Constitution and international agreements show it is not an option to hold a referendum or a national debate. The Bolivia government is obliged to consult the indigenous communities that live inside the TIPNIS national park. It remains to be seen if the Morales government would actually hold a referendum but if it did it would be a direct provocation of those in Bolivia who support the indigenous march. The law also proposes to ban new settlements and an integrated development plan for the TIPNIS.
  • Meanwhile several indigenous deputies have rejected the government’s proposal and presented a law that would prohibit any road being built through the TIPNIS. This is the central demand of the indigenous march and the result they want when they get to La Paz to meet with President Morales. The draft law calls for alternative routes that go outside the national park to be found and for the 16 demands of the march to be met. This law would prohibit any project (infrastructure and extractives) that violates the rights of indigenous peoples and also of Mother Earth (a law was passed in December giving rights to Mother Earth, a comprehensive law on this is still due to be passed).
Bolivia´s indigenous movements march in defense of TIPNIS (credit: Communications Commission of the march

Bolivia´s indigenous movements march in defense of TIPNIS (credit: Communications Commission of the march)

Investigating the police violence of 25 September

On Thursday 6 October Interior Minister Wilfredo Chávez announced all police involved in the repression of the indigenous peoples at their camp would be investigated. Also Deputy Commander Oscar Muñoz, who was in charge of the police operation, has been suspended so he can be investigated. This week members of the police force have reacted strongly against the possibility of investigation as they maintain they just followed orders which came from the top. If it is found that the police involved in the operation were more violent than they were ordered to be it would win back some of the credibility lost by the Bolivian government but it would have been better to use this argument from the beginning. Instead they tried to shift the blame. First they said the order came from a prosecutor and then said it was from Vice Interior Minister Marcos Farfán. Both immediately denied the claim. We still do not know who ordered the police to act despite last week Vice President Álvaro García Linera saying he knows who gave the order but cannot reveal who it is. This week Justice Minister Nilda Copa denied she gave the order.

An investigation will hopefully clear up these unanswered questions. There has been some controversy this week about who exactly should be on a commission to investigate what happened. The Ombudsman Rolando Villena said he would begin an independent investigation and said several times that any Commission would have to be independent because the government cannot participate as judge and jury.

Meanwhile on 6 October the government said representatives of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the High Commission on Human Rights (DDHH) would participate in a commission to investigate the violent police intervention.

Indigenous leader talks with police days before intervention near Yucumo 25 September (credit: Communications Commission of the march)

Indigenous leader talks with police days before intervention near Yucumo 25 September (credit: Communications Commission of the march)

TWEETS THIS WEEK

dariokenner Dario Kenner

#bolivia Gov spokesman: “we will not stop #indigenous #TIPNISmarch arrive La Paz.Its their decision if want to arrive”. March due next week

13 hours ago

dariokenner Dario Kenner

#indigenous #TIPNIS march in Caranavi.Reports well received.Heartland migrant settler(colonos) soc. mov who block march Yucumo until 25 Sept

13 hours ago

dariokenner Dario Kenner

#bolivia Around 3,000 on trade union central(COB) protest centre La Paz. More about salary increases,but some pro – #TIPNIS march chants.

13 hours ago

dariokenner Dario Kenner

Uncertainty about what happen next week in #bolivia. Different marches arrive + judicial elections. Background tinyurl.com/68n3jhr #TIPNIS

17 hours ago

dariokenner Dario Kenner

#indigenous #TIPNIS march 20km from Caranavi. Now over 850m above sea level. Eating at least once a day+ waiting more food supplies #bolivia

17 hours ago

dariokenner Dario Kenner

Prob protest in La Paz 2morrow part of strike by trade unions(COB) Last protest was also pro #indigenous #TIPNIS marchtinyurl.com/6hq3osv

6 Oct

AndeanInfoNet AndeanInfoNet

by dariokenner

Police say Morales ordered #TIPNIS interventiontinyurl.com/43dxp28 (but exec order does not free them from respons. for human rights viol)

6 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

#bolivia Current focus #indigenous #TIPNIS march get 2 Caranavi prob Sat.How will migrants settlers(colonizadores)react? Internal divisions

6 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

Am in centre La Paz.Some roads block cos trade union (COB)strike.Maybe a protest that could be pro – #indigenous #TIPNIS march.Updates later

6 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

12.30pm Radio: Hearing mixed reaction across #bolivia 2 trade union congress(COB)national strike today.In lots of cities things as normal

6 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

Bolivia Diary is now on #Facebook facebook.com/BoliviaDiaryCheck for updates on #bolivia , #evomorales , #TIPNIS , #indigenouspolitics

5 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

Trade Union central(COB)confirm national 48 hour strike start 12am tonight (radioErbol) Potential 4 more pro- #indigenous #TIPNISprotests

5 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

Christian Science Monitor article on #TIPNIS and #indigenous rights in #bolivia tinyurl.com/3rl3dco

5 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

#indigenous #TIPNIS arrive Caranavi in few days. Unclear how be received cos stronghold migrants(colonizadores)who blocked passage in Yucumo

5 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

#bolivia #evomorales Gov STILL no say who order police intervention #indigenous #TIPNIS march. Gov criticise police, they say follow orders

5 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

Excelente artículo analizando los temas fundamentales sobre el #TIPNIS del 30 Agosto por Elizabeth Peredo tinyurl.com/3ffm89v #bolivia

4 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

#bolivia #indigenous march in defense #TIPNIS has left Palos Blancos + marching 11km 2 Sapecho.Still 200km+ from La Paztinyurl.com/68n3jhr

4 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

Leader social mov.colonizadores(migrants)”12 Oct march peaceful+2 demand equal land distribution” #indigenous #TIPNISmarch in La Paz 15 Oct

4 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

Social movements(incl cocaleros)preparing marches in support of #bolivia #evomorales Gov(+against #indigenous #TIPNIS march) this +next week

4 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

#bolivia Pres #evomorales claims police used violence against #indigenous #TIPNIS march 2 harm Gov. image. Gov still no say who gave order

4 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

#bolivia trade unions(COB)threat nat.strike 6-7 Oct over salary increase.Could potentially link 2 pro- #indigenous #TIPNIS protest movement

4 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

3 October #Bolivia Diary update, “Bolivia #TIPNIS conflict: marches, contract and unanswered questions” tinyurl.com/68n3jhr

4 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

Bolivia TIPNIS conflict: marches, contract and unanswered questions wp.me/p1xgRI-4k

4 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

Main #TIPNIS debate today: contract between #bolivia highway authority + #Brazil company OAS. Questions about inflated cost + environ study

3 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

Guaranis agree dialogue #bolivia #evomorales Gov. Unclear if ALL Guaranis leave #TIPNIS march cos G.leader in hospital (see my tweet 30 Sept

3 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

#indigenous #TIPNIS march in Palos Blancos 200+ km from La Paz. Stay today,more marchers arriving. Info: #bolivia Diarytinyurl.com/6bwhqwv

3 Oct

dariokenner Dario Kenner

#bolivia #indigenous movement CONAMAQ marching Oruro 2 La Paz in support #TIPNIS march. They want 2 arrive La Paz same time as TIPNIS march

3 Oct

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  1. […] fully understand the impact the TIPNIS conflict has had. There are also outstanding issues such as justice for the police repression of the marchers on 25 September. It is likely the initial results of […]



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