Evo Morales Defeated by a Crying Mosetano Girl
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The favorite wonder-boy of many ecological, green, and anti-imperialist movements from all around the world was defeated yesterday (September 27, 2011) by a Mosetano (Indigenous group from the Amazonian Basin) girl crying in front of the cameras. Marcela Charique – see picture - had just asked to be respected as a human and then broke in touching tears. Her home – the TIPNIS National Park (see Evo Morales, TIPNIS and Illusions of Green) – is being violated by Evo Morales. Of Aymara ancestry, he is often presented outside Bolivia as its first indigenous president.
TIPNIS is a national park and autonomous indigenous area close to the border between the Cochabamba and Beni departments. Evo Morales has repeatedly failed to explain why his government is destroying the park instead of building the road through a slightly different route. Land is not an issue here – the Bolivian countryside is practically empty: in a country as big as Texas and California combined live just around 10 million people; a third of them are concentrated in two cities: La Paz-El Alto and Santa Cruz. Moreover, Morales repeatedly rejected talks with the protesters and used obscene language towards the marchers, including his infamous declaration of August 4, when he claimed that campesino youth should “go out and seduce the Yuracaré women” to enlist their support for the TIPNIS highway. Officially, Evo Morales accepted help from Brazil in the construction of a road that would eventually connect the Pacific and Atlantic oceans at the center of South America. This road is vital for Brazil. However, unofficially it would serve also the main group supporting Evo Morales. The last wasn’t elected under the ticket of being of Aymara ancestry, but as head of the national federation of coca growers. The new road would facilitate the export of coca leaves from the Chapare.
This weekend, violence erupted. The police attacked the protest march from Trinidad to La Paz (a 375 miles trajectory from the Amazonian Basin lowlands up to the Andean High Plateau; a march of 1500 heroes against nature and Empire), which had already experienced the death of marchers and several violent events between the protesters and unidentified civilians supporting the government. It had been made public some of the people attacking the marchers were cocaleros, coca-growers. In the weekend, the violence took place near Yucumo, the junction where the Amazonian lowlands meet the slopes of the Death Road. The last reaches La Paz and is considered one of the most dangerous routes in the world. If the marchers would have accessed it, the Bolivian police would have been unable to stop them and La Paz would have been severed from the northern areas of the country. The videos shown on the television left no room for doubts: the police behaved brutally against unarmed men and women.
Evo Morales had no choice. In the following hours Interior Minister Sacha Llorenti and Defense Minister Cecilia Chacon resigned. Then, Evo Morales announced the project was frozen and that a referendum would take place in Cochabamba and Beni in order to let the people decide. Following years of unquestioned leadership, Evo Morales was defeated by indigenous groups and lost face in the eyes of his people and the world.
It was an awesome reminder of reality being different from what is portrayed by Western media. The coca-oligarchy now ruling Bolivia replaced the miners-oligarchy which was violently defeated in the events of 2003. None of them cares about indigenous human rights, despite both of them including indigenous people in their lines. The confusion of the international green movements can be understood. They see an indigenous president and automatically consider him green and anti-imperialist. Fact is that over 80% of Bolivian population is indigenous. The vast majority of the remnant is mixed. It isn’t only that former presidents and other prominent politicians had indigenous blood, but that some of them even changed their names so that they could present themselves as of Spaniard descent.
It was also an awesome reminder of the Bolivian society and government violence. In the first article on the issue I commented on Evo Morales’ Ponchos Rojos paramilitary units which routinely kill dogs as part of their training. But there are other terror units. “Satucos” (an odd slang-word derived from “Satan”) is a unit that specializes in the writing of threatening graffiti all over the city against political targets of the government. This odd modus operandi bring us to the crux of the matter regarding local violence.
Travelers reaching La Paz and venturing beyond its central avenue will soon meet odd behaviors, and I mean beyond the unusual violence of Bolivian pedestrians. One is the constant spilling of drinks on the ground (just a bit from every glass); the other is llama fetuses for sale in almost every market. Both are related to the “Tio” and the “Pachamama.” The first is clearly related to an underground demon that must be calmed with regular offerings; some representations of the second one demand the same. Drinks are suitable offerings in this reality. The llama fetuses are buried below every construction for the same reason. Very important constructions demand human sacrifices. This is never openly done, but many people disappear here under strange circumstances. Human sacrifices are a characteristic of the Aymara culture; some of the books listed at the bottom of this page enlarge on the issue. I have been told that human sacrifices exist by Aymara church members, but even casual travelers can witness some of the softer implementations of this world-vision. The tinku is a ritual fight between two Aymara men; it ends at the moment blood from one of them touches the ground – again, this is an offering to the abovementioned Tio demon. Overall, this is a very violent culture. In Between Ayo Ayo and Bethlehem I provided additional examples and pictures of the extreme situation here.
“But Evo Morales is an international hero of the green movement,” was one of the first reactions I got from who was to become my American lawyer, just before I was declared a political prisoner of the Bolivian government. Reality is different. Evo Morales is no hero. Bolivia may not be a CIA country of the type described by Philip Agee, but it looks like a light variation on the theme, where the USA has become the client-state of a group growing a crop the USA finds indispensable. Evo Morales leads this group of very honorable businessmen.
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