Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bolivia- Indigenous Challenges to Evo Morales

Miguel Centellas at Pronto has a post Bolivia: the indigenous/environmentalist challenge to Evo’s government

 Centellas is referring to the new controversies in Bolivia that have arosen from both indigenous and environmental groups using the language in the new constitution to challenge certain development projects (mostly hydrocarbons) that the Morales government wants.    


The bottom line is that the government is losing its grip on the indigenous movement. Attacking its leaders as agents of USAID (or US imperialism more broadly) and/or acting in line w/ the “extreme right” seems odd. During the 2005 campaign—and for several months later—Evo & MAS clearly raised the banner of indigenous political autonomy. By doing so, it raised expectations that indigenous groups have patiently waited for & now expect fulfilled. Similarly, the People’s Conference on Climate Change raised the banner of a pro-environmental policy agenda. Indigenous peoples & environmental activists took this as a green light to begin pressing their demands to protect Bolivia’s fragile ecosystems (which happen to be in oil-rich areas).
These last weeks may have irrevocably changed perceptions of Evo’s government. The country has a long experience w/ populist figures who use symbolic rhetoric, but never really “mean it” beyond as a way to strengthen their grip on power.

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