Tag Archive: #endfossilsuelsubsidies

Context Bolivian Repression

Context to Bolivian Repression


When the Bolivian government overturned the law outlawing the construction of a road that was signed at the end of the first march to protect the TIPNIS by signing into law a “prior” consultation with indigenous communities (despite having signed contracts for the construction of the road in 2008) the main indigenous organizations of both the lowlands and highlands decided to march again, starting at the end of April (http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/ultimas_noticias/2012/04/120427_ultnot_bolivia_tipnis_carretera_evo_fp.shtml).  They have now marched peacefully more than 600km from the Amazon to the Andes in 62 days, enduring great hardship and vulnerability, provoking serious health problems which eventually to led to the death of a baby on arrival in La Paz (http://www.lostiempos.com/diario/actualidad/economia/20120629/de-luto-por-una-bebe-dejan-acciones-para-hoy_176718_372949.html).


Pro-government groups sought to undermine the march from the outset, by blocking the routes to the planned starting point (http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/ultimas_noticias/2012/04/120426_ultnot_marcha_indigenas_bolivia_bd.shtml ), and then threatening the march and preventing access to water and other provisions in specific locations along the route.


Despite these adverse conditions, the march arrived in La Paz on Wednesday 27th June and again received great support from the population of La Paz.  However, the government is doing everything it can to undermine the credibility of the march and divide and weaken the movement.  Specifically it has done the following:


– Accused the march of plotting a coup d’etat before it arrived in La Paz.  (http://www.paginasiete.bo/2012-07-03/Nacional/Destacados/5Nac00303-04.aspx http://www.paginasiete.bo/2012-06-25/Nacional/Destacados/Tipnis-rechaza-golpe.aspx)

– Did not provide fair conditions for dialogue in good faith during the march and continuing up until now.

– Promoted conflict with pro-government mobilisations, creating high risk of physical confrontations (http://www.plataformaenergetica.org/content/3376)

– Criminalized leaders and activists, for example by jailing two young people from the environmentalist anarchist movement who had a strong presence in the mobilizations around the first march.  (http://www.bolpress.com/art.php?Cod=2012053101)

– Accused the leaders of the march of being connected to narcotraffic and being funded by opposition political parties.  (http://www.paginasiete.bo/2012-07-03/Nacional/Destacados/5Nac00303-04.aspx)

– On Saturday 30th June signed an agreement with a false leader of one regional indigenous organization and under this agreement offered marchers $150 and the air fare to return to their communities.  (http://www.erbol.com.bo/noticia.php?identificador=2147483960678)

– On Tuesday 3rd July signed an agreement with 45 community authorities, of which only 18 are from the TIPNIS and the rest are from a coca-growing area outside the TIPNIS boundaries. (http://www.erbol.com.bo/noticia.php?identificador=2147483960837)

– Bribed communities to accept the consultation by giving them motors and telecommunications equipment.



Through these tactics the government is weakening support for the movement and clearly aiming to exhaust the marchers in order to avoid effective dialogue for long enough to get to the start date of the “prior” consultation, scheduled for 29 July.  We are now at a tipping point because the march has not achieved open dialogue with the government despite having been in La Paz for one week, and if nothing happens before that date then it will become impossible to stop the project.  Considering the Bolivian government’s good relationship with grassroots and activist movements, an urgent international outcry against this illegitimate consultation process could make the difference and tip the balance in favour of the indigenous peoples’ demands.


By updating and re-launching this petition, we can show Evo Morales that the world wants him to “walk the talk” after being named “Defender of Mother Earth” in 2009.  This is not simply an internal political issue: the protection of the Amazon rainforest is vital for the future of our planet and if this project is allowed to go ahead then it will set the pace for others to follow.  Equally, the illegitimate “prior” consultation violates the article 32 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that sets out: “States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.”



Cupula Dos Povos

The Peoples Summit began on Friday in Patativa do Assure, close by Attero do Flamengo. The Cupula is a beach-side strip of tents and stalls, a simplistic maze taking you your through countries, regions, languages, people. With just enough order in the midst of the chaos, the space is filling with civil society members from pretty much everywhere in the world, representing their ideals.

the southern entrance bridge

All these people have gathered in Rio for the occasion of Rio+20 to share their stories and spread their message. They also represent the rights of indigenous communities and for the rights of Mother Nature too. The official website is http://cupuladospovos.org.br/en/page/4/.

 Find here a few pictures from Saturday @ Cupula

Attero de Flamengo

Argentinian Group

isabella walked with us to the Cupula

enforcement presence @ Cupula


@rio20joker [twitter]

@ Cupula


On Thursday 14th June, the ‘Peoples Occupation’ assembled in a park close to Cinelandia and walked to the final site to set up camp. Perched on the edge of the motor lanes that run along the beach, the camp is close to both Flamengo and the Cupula Dos Povos (Peoples Summit). A small group of local Rio occupiers, joined by representatives of many Occupy movements from around Brazil have come together to create a presence and representation of the Occupy ideals and ethic.

The crowd of 20-30 people settled down in the park and soon the tents were up. just as soon, the first batch of policemen arrived. These were from the ‘brown’ squad, municipal police as far as i could tell. they were pretty friendly and spoke to the crowd. All conversations were in Portuguese, not a language i understand at all. the issue these police raised was over the tents and the fact that they were on the walkway. The communities’ response was that the tens were being used to store equipment and were not for living or sleeping in. the policemen were not convinced, indicating that the tents would have to go down. While all of this was happening, the ‘blue’ (military) police car arrived on the scene. The mood and atmosphere immediately became more charged, with the blues and browns talking to each other before the ‘blue’ left. Seems as though it was agreed that this was a municipal issue.

The rest of the night that i was there, was spent in smaller discussions with the police. i left to catch the Metro before midnight and returned Friday after a visit to the Cupula dos Povos. Friday night saw the camp facing many obstacles and obstructions. braving many emotional moments already, the movement is shifting, un-certain of its shape and fighting to keep the dream alive. they remain strong and as united as the circumstances allow.


Saturday is the General Assembly (held in a particular Brazilian/Rio way). Here the camp will discuss and vote on key issues, as well as hear report backs from working groups.

Now, more than ever, the Occupy centers of the world will do well to send messages of support and solidarity to this movement, engaged with a beast as powerful as Rio+20. now more than ever, people must use the tools and skills they have acquired to stand for what they believe, together, as one. inter across our Earth, we are all truly citizens of the Earth


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