Indigenous people of Northern Potosi fight riot police at the entrance of the the vice president’s office, where negotiations were held between government and community members of the region, in La Paz, June 7, 2012. Demonstrators demanded President Evo Morales’ government to the cancel the mining concession for the company Malku Khota, a subsidiary of the Canadian South American Silver who seek to exploit silver and indium, reported local media.
Bolivia’s main trade union declared a 24-hour general strike Wednesday to protest Sunday’s police crackdown on indigenous demonstrators who were protesting the construction of a road through a pristine rainforest preserve.
Thousands of members of unions belonging to the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB) held protest marches in Bolivia’s main cities Wednesday, and roadblocks have been set up in La Paz, where teachers, doctors and other unions have joined the strike.
Labour Minister Daniel Santalla said there was no reason for the protest measure, since President Evo Morales already announced on Monday that work on the road had been suspended until voters in the affected provinces decided the fate of the project. Read the rest of this entry
On September 11, Bolivians observed the third anniversary of the Pando massacre, a brutal attack on indigenous peasants and students in the Amazonian lowlands and the most deadly act of political violence in the country since 2003. Little known outside Bolivia, the tragic event marked a turning point in Bolivia’s recent history, and has special relevance today for the escalating conflict over the TIPNIS highway.
The Pando Massacre
The massacre took place at the height of a 2008 revolt against President Evo Morales’ MAS government by conservative elites and their allied “prefects” (governors) in Bolivia’s four lowlands “Media Luna” departments, that brought the country to the brink of a “civil coup.” Under the banner of regional autonomy—in reality, a demand by local elites to retain control of land and hydrocarbons resources—the anti-MAS power bloc seized public buildings and airports, attacked MAS government officials, and blocked the transport of goods to western highlands regions in a massive effort to destabilize the government. Read the rest of this entry