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Battle of Reports Sustains Bolivia’s TIPNIS Confli ct

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  • Cort Greene
    [image: North American Congress on Latin America] Published on *North American Congress on Latin America* (https://nacla.org) Home Blogs
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 18, 2013
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      [image: North American Congress on Latin America]
      Published on *North American Congress on Latin America* (https://nacla.org)

      Home <https://nacla.org/> > Blogs <https://nacla.org/blog> > ejpa's
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      Battle of Reports Sustains Bolivia�s TIPNIS Conflict
      ------------------------------
      Battle of Reports Sustains Bolivia�s TIPNIS Conflict
      January 18, 2013
      Tweet <http://twitter.com/share> [1]
      Rebel Currents <https://nacla.org/blog/rebel-currents> [2]

      While President Evo Morales decrees that Bolivia�s TIPNIS conflict is *
      resolved*<http://www.paginasiete.bo/2013-01-01/Nacional/Destacados/3Nac00301-05.aspx>
      [3], conflicting reports issued by the government and religious and human
      rights groups over the past few weeks have served to extend the controversy
      over the proposed highway that would bisect this indigenous territory and
      national park in the Amazon lowlands.

      On December 17, a 15-member
      *commission*<http://www.la-razon.com/nacional/Informe-Iglesia-Catolica-APDHB-TIPNIS_LRZFIL20121217_0003.pdf>
      [4] representing the Catholic Church and the Permanent Assembly of Human
      Rights in Bolivia (APDHB), in association with the Inter-American
      Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), released the results of their recent
      survey in the TIPNIS. Of the 36 communities visited, they reported, 30
      reject the proposed road, three accept it, and three have conditioned their
      acceptance on further study and/or changes in the route. These conclusions
      directly contradict the *government�s
      findings*,<https://nacla.org/blog/2012/12/13/bolivia-end-road-tipnis-consulta>
      [5] which affirm that 80% of the 69 communities included in the official
      consultation process support the road.[image: 1503]Supporting the road, but
      not through TIPNIS. Credit: APG

      The commission also concluded that the consultation process did not conform
      to standards for the �*consulta previa*� established by national and
      international law. It failed to respect collective indigenous
      decision-making norms, with some meetings held in the absence of
      traditional authorities or even outside the community. It did not provide
      information on the road�s potential environmental, social, economic, and
      cultural impacts, necessary to achieve informed consent.

      According to the commission, the government�s delivery of community
      benefits and promises of development and services in conjunction with the *
      consulta* severely compromised the integrity of the process, dividing
      communities and families, and creating pressures which, in some cases,
      amounted to intimidation. The Morales government has dismissed the report
      as a �*provocation*�<http://%20http//www.paginasiete.bo/2012-12-21/Nacional/Destacados/2Nacional002.aspx>
      [6]by interested parties.

      The commission�s report follows on the heels of a preliminary report issued
      by Bolivia�s human rights *ombudsman*
      <https://nacla.org/blog/2012/12/13/bolivia-end-road-tipnis-consulta>
      [5]Rolando Villena on December 10, which characterized the consulta as
      �authoritarian, colonialist, and unilateral.� The full report will be
      issued in February.

      Meanwhile, the *Supreme Electoral Tribunal*
      <http://www.bolpress.com/art.php?Cod=2013010704>
      [7](TSE) charged with accompanying and monitoring the consultation process
      issued its own report on January 7, reaffirming the official government
      conclusions. Still, the TSE�s community-by-community findings *reveal*
      <http://www.paginasiete.bo/2013-01-07/Nacional/Destacados/Los-indigenas-bolivianos-del-Tip.aspx>
      [8]that many conditioned their acceptance of the road on other
      requirements, such as an environmental impact study, a determination by
      indigenous authorities as to the final route, and a prohibition against
      exploitation of hydrocarbons and minerals in the TIPNIS.

      At least four communities demanded a relocation of the route to the border
      of the park. Most also demanded other government concessions, including
      schools, water and sanitation infrastructure, electricity, and
      telecommunications. One community insisted that Morales meet with
      indigenous leaders to ask their forgiveness. According to TIPNIS leader
      Fernando Vargas, these inconsistencies demonstrate a lack of consensus or
      agreement even among the road�s alleged supporters.

      According to *TSE
      officials*<http://www.paginasiete.bo/2012-12-26/Nacional/NoticiaPrincipal/2Nac01-261212.aspx>
      [9], the specific design or route of the highway was not a subject of the
      consultation, and did not even appear on the agenda. Says
      *Vargas*:<http://www.paginasiete.bo/2012-12-26/Nacional/NoticiaPrincipal/2Nac01-261212.aspx>
      [9] �The fundamental theme [in the communities] never was the road; the
      priorities were health, education, infrastructure, and productive
      development. Under this pretext, the government consolidated support for
      the road.�

      Vargas also questions the extent of participation in the *consulta*,
      reported by the government at *2007
      individuals*<http://www.paginasiete.bo/2013-01-10/Nacional/Destacados/5nac100113-01.aspx>
      [10] and 32 families (different brigades used different counting
      measures). According to a report issued by Fundaci�n Tierra in 2010, the
      TIPNIS includes some 12,500 inhabitants who are Chim�nes, Yuracar�s, or
      Moje�o-Trinitario (the legitimate subjects of the*consulta*). The
      government says there are now only 6,000 inhabitants, of whom 30% are
      minors. Vargas insists there are at least 8,000. A further complication is
      that the *consulta* also included residents of Polygon 7, a relatively
      populous area dominated by coca-growers that is inside the park but outside
      the indigenous territory.

      Still to come, in addition to the ombudsman�s report, is the official
      report of the Executive branch, due later this month, which will include
      video, audio, and photographic documentation of the*consulta *process. The
      OAS, which observed the early stages of the process, is also expected to
      issue its findings.[image: 1504]TSE issues report. Credit: Correo DelSur

      It�s unlikely that future reports will help to resolve the conflict. As the
      daily *P�gina Siete*<http://www.paginasiete.bo/2012-12-19/Opinion/NoticiaPrincipal/14Opi00119-12-12-P720121219.aspx>
      [11] notes, the contradictory reports have only served to reinforce the
      entrenched positions of a divided public on the TIPNIS issue, bringing the
      nation almost back to the �square one� of June 2011, when Morales decreed
      that the road would be built �like it or not.�

      One outstanding question is whether the Plurinational Constitutional
      Tribunal (TCP) will rule on whether the *consulta* process conformed to the
      standards established by the court for its constitutionality, including the
      achievement of prior agreement among the parties. Adolfo Ch�vez, a leader
      of the lowlands indigenous groups opposed to the road, plans to petition
      the court for such a ruling.

      A related event to watch is the upcoming *gubernatorial election*
      <http://www.la-razon.com/suplementos/animal_politico/Elecciones-Beni-termometro-regional-justas_0_1759624034.html>
      [12]this Sunday in the Beni department, where indigenous TIPNIS leader and
      ex-legislator Pedro Nuni is opposing the government-backed MAS (Movement
      Towards Socialism) candidate�and ex-beauty queen�Jessica Jordan. This could
      be an important test of the strength of the lowlands indigenous movement,
      as well as an indication of the extent to which the TIPNIS conflict has
      eroded support for the MAS�built largely through the strength of the
      lowlands indigenous groups�in this conflicted region, and perhaps elsewhere.


      ------------------------------



      *Emily Achtenberg is an urban planner and the author of NACLA�s weekly blog
      Rebel Currents, covering Latin American social movements and progressive
      governments (nacla.org/blog/rebel-currents [2]).*
      Tags:

      - Bolivia <https://nacla.org/category/tags/bolivia> [13]
      - consulta previa <https://nacla.org/category/tags/consulta-previa> [14]
      - Isiboro-S�cure <https://nacla.org/category/tags/isiboro-s%C3%A9cure>
      [15]
      - TCP <https://nacla.org/category/tags/tcp> [16]
      - TIPNIS <https://nacla.org/category/tags/tipnis> [17]
      - TSE <https://nacla.org/category/tags/tse> [18]





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      ------------------------------
      *Source URL:*
      https://nacla.org/blog/2013/1/18/battle-reports-sustains-bolivia%E2%80%99s-tipnis-conflict

      *Links:*
      [1] http://twitter.com/share
      [2] https://nacla.org/blog/rebel-currents
      [3]
      http://www.paginasiete.bo/2013-01-01/Nacional/Destacados/3Nac00301-05.aspx
      [4]
      http://www.la-razon.com/nacional/Informe-Iglesia-Catolica-APDHB-TIPNIS_LRZFIL20121217_0003.pdf
      [5] https://nacla.org/blog/2012/12/13/bolivia-end-road-tipnis-consulta
      [6] http://
      http://www.paginasiete.bo/2012-12-21/Nacional/Destacados/2Nacional002.aspx
      [7] http://www.bolpress.com/art.php?Cod=2013010704
      [8]
      http://www.paginasiete.bo/2013-01-07/Nacional/Destacados/Los-indigenas-bolivianos-del-Tip.aspx
      [9]
      http://www.paginasiete.bo/2012-12-26/Nacional/NoticiaPrincipal/2Nac01-261212.aspx
      [10]
      http://www.paginasiete.bo/2013-01-10/Nacional/Destacados/5nac100113-01.aspx
      [11]
      http://www.paginasiete.bo/2012-12-19/Opinion/NoticiaPrincipal/14Opi00119-12-12-P720121219.aspx
      [12]
      http://www.la-razon.com/suplementos/animal_politico/Elecciones-Beni-termometro-regional-justas_0_1759624034.html
      [13] https://nacla.org/category/tags/bolivia
      [14] https://nacla.org/category/tags/consulta-previa
      [15] https://nacla.org/category/tags/isiboro-s%C3%A9cure
      [16] https://nacla.org/category/tags/tcp
      [17] https://nacla.org/category/tags/tipnis
      [18] https://nacla.org/category/tags/tse


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