«by Kirsten Francescone A thesis submitted to the Faculty o f Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the ...»
...hem os visto que para esas dos sociedades el enemigo son las transnacionales y todas estas polemicas leyes que se van im plementando es favorable que anteceden a las transnacionales ahora...no hay perm itir que m aten a nuestra m adre tierra y a lo que es la vida misma no podemos permitir. entonces lo que yo he empezado a proponer en principio es sacar un a resolucion fuerte y contundente siguiente conclusion que van es conformar una condicion un tanto un consejo no se donde lo pondria a la cabeza del CONAMAQ. El objetivo para mi es luchar contra el sistema que ha generado el capitalista que supuestamente cambiando al presidente ya habiamos vencido, no. El sistema del capitalismo boliviano esta sigue vigente en Bolivia con dominio de las transnacionales lo que no pudo ser Goni, Tuto, etceteras. Un presidente que salia de las bases lo esta logrando, continua la lucha creemos que queremos tomar esa estrategia de incidencia..,226 Day O ne’s seminar was an information conference surrounding the LRPCA. This included participation from various indigenous communities. There was participation from other N G O research institutions and civil society organizations including the M ST, urban movement “La Ultima Trinchera”, and representatives from the network o f institutions against the LRPCA in Cochabamba.
227 La ultima trinchera was an urban, primarily university student led, network that had developed out o f the em ergence o f the M A S ’ latest political decisions. A ccording to V ioleta Tamayo one o f the selfproclaimed leaders, the group (previously M A S supporters and m ost fighters in the Gas Wars) was concerned about the recent political d ecision s o f the M A S surrounding transgenic seeds, and the SanIgnacio de M oxos highway project. They had formed the coalition am oung various urban m ovem ents in order to hold public forums and develop a counter discourse surrounding the possibilities for transnational control that the LRPCA and the TIPNIS conflict were revealing.
brothers, thoughts which were echoed by President Raphael Quispe when m aking
concluding remarks o f Day I o f the seminar:
...por que esta relacion de la consulta y transgenicos no, ya este se esta saliendo del camino. Ya no sabe de transgenicos, madre tierra, y consultas. N o cobrando un la consulta es un mecanismo, una puerta para otro derecho de los pueblos indigenas verdad la libre determ ination de autonomia del gobiem o y con esto ya nos han...la consulta deberia ser para esto decimos nosotros. Vam os a hacer estas cosas y lo otro hacemos la consulta es para el TIPNIS un tema relacionado; m adre tierra, TIPNIS, productos transgenicos.22 8 The following two days were designed to develop and present a law to the cam ara de los diputados called the Anteproyecto de la ley de la Consulta Previa and the m eans for indigenous communities to recover their constitutional rights to be consulted prior to any mega-projects in their communities.229 Towards the end o f this two-day assembly, it became clear that the TIPNIS conflict was gaining momentum in the context o f the “consulta previa”. On the final day the floor was open to the authorities debating w hether or not CONAMAQ as an organization should support the CIDOB and TIPNIS and m arch with them in August.230 Later that week the authorities decided to support the m arch, and officially released their statement to the press and to the CIDOB on July 29th.
228 From recordings o f the Cum bre con tra los tran sgenicos, C O N A M A Q, 24th o f July, La Paz.
229 From the Anti-proyecto de la ley de la Consulta Previa. Presented to Camara de los D iputados, July 29.
230 Although at these m eetings no official position w as made to support or not support the highw ay, it w as clear that the room w as divided on the issue.
4.4 The XIII March for Territory and Dignity
On August 15th, the CIDOB, CONAM AQ and TIPNIS departed from Trinidad, Beni on the XIII Marcha Indigena de Tierra y D ignidad.232 While the two “indigenous” organizations openly expressed their support for the TIPNIS and their rejection o f the M AS’ political tendencies o f the present, the “campesino” organizations, the CSUTCB, Bartolinas and the Interculturales refused to express their solidarity w ith their brother organizations against the MAS. The TIPNIS conflict began to take form as yet another example o f the political maneuverings o f the M AS, and the support or rejection o f the highway became one’s support for or against the M AS government. This was facilitated and maintained by the statements that emerged daily from MAS deputies and m inisters, and also through the discourses o f the leaders o f the other campesino organizations.
Instead o f focusing on the problematic o f the political move by the M AS, the Bartolinas and CSUTCB leaders took this as an attack on the MAS, and an attack on the proceso de carnbio that they were trying to collectively construct.
231 Gramsci, Selections from the Prison n otebooks, 55.
232 For the purposes o f this section I w ill not be goin g into details on the conflict, I am writing on the conflict elsewhere, what is significant for this section is the w ays in which the Pacto de Unidad and what was happening within and beyond it can be seen as a w indow to the larger emerging tensions w ithin the popular classes who are negotiating and contesting the p ro c e so de cam bio and the M A S.
The march persevered throughout A ugust and September while the governm ent launched an anti-TIPNIS, anti-NGO campaign claiming that those who were m arching had been manipulated and were being used to further American interests in the country. This not only served to obfuscate the political and economic interests at stake for regional and transnational capital, but also resonated within B olivia’s neocolonial history w ith the DEA and NGO presence following the New Economic Plan o f 1985. This period in particular, as seen previously, contributed to the aligning o f popular-national and de colonial agendas of the subaltern and popular class mobilizations. The MAS governm ent was able to manage and manipulate, first by arguing that the indigenous com m unities had been influenced by NGOs with foreign interests, and later by arguing that the Right wing had penetrated into the communities and was using this as a political opportunity to advance their own agenda.233 On September 6th it was announced that colonizadores had set up a counter-blockade in Yucumo and were demanding the construction o f the highway- arguing their brothers needed to dialogue with the government. Later that afternoon, while conversing with an authority from CSUTCB, it became clear that beyond ideological support, the CSUTCB was sending resources to this blockade: “ellos estan diciendo que no quieren la carretera, que no quieren desarrollarse pero estan marchando y sacando la madera en el m ismo 233 The right-wing did penetrate into the leadership o f the CIDOB which ultimately m anifested itse lf in the alternative cumbre held in Decem ber between CIDOB and the right-w ing opposition and the formation o f the bancada indigena. This is som ething w e are w orking on elsew here, for the purposes o f this paper, however, it is important to note that those in opposition were not a hom ogenous group o f right-w ing opposition, rather the majority o f people w ho began and stuck with the TIPNIS w ere from urban, popular, working, indigenous and cam pesino sectors- all taking on the capitalist political tendencies o f the M AS through the TIPNIS conflict.
tiempo, no se puede hacer esto.” As he was telling me this, his phone rang, and after talking a few minutes with someone who appeared to be heading towards the counter blockade, he shrugged to me and said “nosotros, no nos vamos a permitir esto.” A few days later, the president o f the CSUTCB Robert Coraite, in a press conference denouncing the march referred to those marching as “salvajes.” The assembly o f the blockade in Yucumo revealed the clear tensions that were emerging within the popular classes. Tensions founded in pre-existing racial and regional tensions, which despite historical indigenous alliances between tierras altas and tierras bajas, were driving a wedge between indigenous and campesino populations.234 The Yucumo blockade, along with police checkpoints sent by the M AS, resulted in preventing the passage o f food and water coming from the surrounding cities to the march, thus inflicti ng a form o f violence- the colonizadores through the blocking o f the passage and the police through their inaction.235 The colonizadores were also armed w hen the counter-blockade left to m eet the march and provoke confrontation on September 20th. The inaction by police to intervene in that m arch and prevent the possibility o f conflict spoke clearly o f the alliances between the state and the campesino popular classes. It also spoke to the ways in which this conflict had served to polarize and militarize campesinos against indigenous communities as protectors o f the proceso de cambio.
234 Francescone, “Internal Fractions and the Right.” 235 Ibid.
With the militarization o f the counter-blockade in Yucumo, and the increased tension between the CIDOB-CONAMAQ and CSUTCB-Bartolina-lnterculturales alliances, we began to experience tensions emerging and erupting in the support-vigil San Francisco.236As one indigenous leader who was living in the vigil told me, “estamos luchando contra nuestros hermanos, ellos no son nuestros enemigos, son gente con quien hemos luchado.” When the “contra m archa” arrived into La Paz on O ctober 12th, one week before the arrival o f the TIPNIS march, the atmosphere of the vigil was extremely tense. Rumours had been circulating that there would be confrontation, that the march would attack the vigil, and they were going to have their “meeting” in Plaza San Francisco. When it arrived however, the countermarch, consisting o f Cocaleros and Campesinos, Bartolinas, Kataris, cooperativistas and public officials was anything but
Fui en camino hasta la cola de la marcha cooperachos237....cooperachos... cooperachos... Estabamos contando, hemos llegado hasta 9 000 cooperativistas al final. Luego las Bartolinas, pero eran pocos....Cocaleros de C ochabam ba...
sindicatos cam pesinos....m as cocaleros, oficiales publicas....no hemos podido Uegar hasta la cola. Han marchado casi todo el dia, un mar de gente al frente de la vigilia desde las 1030 hasta las 1430 pero no hubo enfrentamientos, sino adentro de la gente de la clase media que estaban por el lado de la avenida gritando a los m archistas...238 In fact, the demands o f the countermarch were extremely similar to those o f the vigil; get rid o f the right-wing opportunists, get rid o f the corrupt ministers, and recuperate the proceso de cambio. Therefore, even though the highway became the point o f contention, on a much larger scale, the vigil and the members o f the Pacto de Unidad were revealing 236 1 moved into the V igilia San Francisco on September 24th, which form ed in solidarity w ith the XIII Marcha by the w om en leaders o f CO N A M A Q in la Paz on September 19 th 2011.
237 Common w ay o f referring to cooperativistas, miners w ho work in cooperative m ines.
238 From fieldnotes: October 12, 2011 their very nature as those same organizations that fought to expel Sanchez de Lozado from the country in 2003 and eventually lead to the M AS’ election in 2005. The popular classes- some indigenous, some campesinos, some workers all claiming the importance o f “la recuperacion del proceso de cam bio”, centered around and grounded in land.
Throughout the conflict the Pacto de U nidad served two m ain purposes. The first was that it served as a body whose campesino membership undoubtedly supported the MAS government and Evo as president, at least at the authority level.2 9 In this sense, it de mobilized its own bases to follow line and support the MAS government no m atter the policy, the action or the tendencies. At one point before the large TIPNIS arrival in La Paz, a leader o f a campesino community from northern La Paz talking to me expressed his discomfort with the position o f the CSUTCB saying how his communi ty was planning on marching with the TIPNIS in order to recuperate the proceso de cambio. He expressed his concern for marching and being considered a traitor but claimed that the government had gone too far.240 This was also reflected in the ways in which presidents o f both the Bartolinas and the CSUTCB echoed E v o ’s arguments o f the marchers being ‘opportunists’ being managed by the Right-wing interests o f the country. The ways in which popular organizing and mobilizing has been slowed or severely debilitated by its institutionalization is also reflected in a interview I had with Oscar Olivera, a key leader in the Coordinadora o f the Guerra de Agua in 2000, 239 There are several instances when sp ecific cam pesino locals announced publically that they were not supporting the official position o f their unions. And on September 27, a campesino union authority from a CSUTCB local in the department o f La Paz approached the vigil requesting permission to march with CONAM AQ and CIDOB. He explained to m e later that he w as nervous about their lo ca l’s participation in the m obilizations because o f potential backlash from the C SU TC B but also from the indigenous com m unities with w hom they would be marching. From fieldnotes, September 27, 2011.
240 From fieldnotes, October 10th, 2011, La Paz.
0 0 :...el Pacto de Unidad tenia muy claro muchos aspectos de la politica en el tema indigena, en el tema territorial y eso definitivamente no esta ;pues!
coincidiendo con las politicas gubemamentales, a las cuales han subordinado muchos dirigentes del Pacto de Unidad. Y creo que ha ido m antenido, yo digo algunos sectores como el CONAM AQ por ejemplo, ^no? y la CIDOB por ahi.