October 30, 2011

The Problem Around the TIPNIS Seems to Take a Turn Downwards

MABB © ®

The TIPNIS "problem", I have been writing about in the last weeks, seems to develop more and more. In my last post I wrote about a "headache" developing for the government due to the actions some congressmen from MAS were about to take. Now, it seems that the weakening of the MAS majority in Congress is not the only worry. The government is looking at potential disruptions in some important roads as well as more marches or demonstrations (mobilizations, as people like to call them).

First of all, it is necessary to say that as a result of the indigenous march that arrived in La Paz on October 19, demanding the government stop its plans to build a road through the TIPNIS, the below law was passed. This law is called the Law to Protect the TIPNIS. The law basically repeats what can be read in the 2009 Constitution, that is the idigenous peoples have claims and rights over these protected areas and those areas designated as "originary" (meaning indigenous territories).

The discussion however has been over a word included in the law to protect it against destruction, dissappearence or damage. The word in Spanish is "intangible", which can translated into English as intangible or impalpable. However, I am not sure the meaning is the same. In Spanish, the dictionary says that "intangible" is that something SHOUL NOT or CANNOT be touched. In English the meaning of intangible is incapable of being perceived and of impalpable is that it cannot be touched or perceived. In any case, not a clear cut translation. That is what I think. But, what is meant in the law is that the territory cannot be touched and must be preserved as it is.

And there is the problem. On the one side, the indigenous group that struggled for the passing of this law, interpret it as applying only to third parties and not to indigenous peoples. This much is clear, otherwise they would not have gone into such lengths to make the government pass the law. On the other side, the government (that seems to be upset over the whole conflict and the defeat) interprets the law as applying to everyone, including the indigenous peoples.

This, once again, prolongues the conflict because the indigenous in TIPNIS think the government will prevent them from benefiting from the natural resources in the park. The various resources are wood, agriculture, and tourism.

To make things even more complicated, the government has been complaining that the organizations in and around the conflict and the territory, such as the six confederations of coca growers, have not done anything to support the government's efforts.

The road would have provided for a way to communicate and transport products from the Chapare region, where the coca growers live, to Brazil, for example. This will not be possible anymore because the construction of the road is now prohibited.

In addition, another group that also has interest on the road is the colonizadores group. This group is made up of people who migrated from the Andes to the tropical region in and around TIPNIS to colonize the region and now find themselves in conflict with the indigenous "originary" peoples of the region. Many of these colonizadores are engaged in wood logging and other commercial activities.

Now these people have heard the government's reproach and have decided to enter in the conflict by blocking roads to demand the repeal of the law or the application of it to all. As such, these groups have issued threats to the various companies operating in the TIPNIS the if they do not leave the region by themselves the groups will make them leave by force.

How is that for a mess! 

LEY Nº 180


Por cuanto, la Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional, ha sancionado la siguiente Ley:





I. Se declara al Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure - TIPNIS patrimonio sociocultural y natural, zona de preservación ecológica, reproducción histórica y hábitat de los pueblos indígenas Chimán, Yuracaré y Mojeño-trinitario cuya protección y conservación son de interés primordial del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia.

II. En el marco de los artículos 30, 385, 394 y 403 de la Constitución Política del Estado y otras normas vigentes, se ratifica al Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure – TIPNIS como territorio indígena de los pueblos Chimán, Yuracaré y Mojeño-trinitario, de carácter indivisible, imprescriptible, inembargable, inalienable e irreversible y como área protegida de interés nacional.

III. Asimismo, adicionalmente se declara al Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure – TIPNIS, como zona intangible.

Artículo 2. (TERRITORIO INDÍGENA Y ÁREA PROTEGIDA). Teniendo el Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure – TIPNIS, además de la categoría de territorio indígena, la categoría de área protegida, se constituye, en garantía de conservación, sostenibilidad e integridad de los sistemas de vida, la funcionalidad de los ciclos ecológicos y los procesos naturales en convivencia armónica con la Madre Tierra y sus derechos.
Artículo 3. (CARRETERAS POR EL TIPNIS). Se dispone que la carretera Villa Tunari - San Ignacio de Moxos, como cualquier otra, no atravesará el Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure – TIPNIS.

Artículo 4. (PROTECCIÓN). Dado el carácter intangible del Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure – TIPNIS se deberán adoptar las medidas legales correspondientes que permitan revertir, anular o dejar sin efecto los actos que contravengan a esta naturaleza jurídica.

Artículo 5. (PROHIBICIÓN DE ASENTAMIENTOS HUMANOS ILEGALES EN EL TERRITORIO INDÍGENA Y PARQUE NACIONAL ISIBORO SÉCURE - TIPNIS). De conformidad al Artículo Primero de la presente Ley al ser declarado territorio intangible, los asentamientos y ocupaciones de hecho promovidas o protagonizadas por personas ajenas a los titulares del Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure – TIPNIS, son ilegales y serán pasibles de desalojo con intervención de la fuerza pública si fuera necesario a requerimiento de autoridad administrativa o judicial competente.

Remítase al Órgano Ejecutivo, para fines constitucionales.

Es dada en la Sala de Sesiones de la Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional, a los veinticuatro días del mes de octubre del año dos mil once.

FDO. ÁLVARO GARCÍA LINERA, Zonia Guardia Melgar, Esteban Ramírez Torrico.

Por tanto, la promulgo para que se tenga y cumpla como Ley del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia.

Palacio de Gobierno de la ciudad de La Paz, a los veinticuatro días del mes de octubre de dos mil once años.

FDO. EVO MORALES AYMA, Carlos Romero Bonifaz, Walter Juvenal Delgadillo Terceros, Julieta Mabel Monje Villa, Nemesia Achacollo Tola.