My translation of original article from here:
Title: Tipnis- Threats and opportunities for indigenous development
Speakers: Adolfo Moye, president of the Indigenous Territory and National Park Isiboro Secure (Bolivia) and Toño Puerta, representative of the NGO irundarra Taupadak
Time and place: Today, 7pm, in the conference room of the Oiasso Museum, free entry.
Adolfo Moye Rosendy is the president of the Indigenous Territory and National Park Isiboro-Secure (Tipnis) and this evening (19.00) offers a conference in the Oiasso Museum. Many years of struggle have converted this part of Bolivia into an autonomous zone recognised by the national constitution. «the Bolivian indigenous peoples have had many rights recognised; what we demand now is the exercise of these rights», explains Moye.
-First of all, I would like to explain what the TIPNIS is.
-It is an area of over a million hectares of virgin forest, legally owned by three indigenous ethnic groups: the chimán, the yuracaré and the trinitarios-moxeños, an achievement pursued for years, which culminated in 1999. We are some 11,000 people, in 64 indigenous communities. It has always been a forgotten zone for all, of the regional and national administrations of Bolivia, but now it is an autonomous indigenous territory.
-Meaning that it is the indigenous who manage it?
-That’s how it is supposed to be; that is the legal right we have been granted. But the reality is different. For example, there are more and more illegal settlements of coca-growers
in our territory. In the last few years, they have destroyed more than 80 hectares of virgin forest in order to grow coca. And there are other threats which are institutional, like the project of the road that would split the TIPNIS in half.
-Which project is that?
-It is an international road which would link the Atlantic with the Pacific via the southern cone of South America. It is funded by loans from Brazil. It is planned to pass through the heart of the TIPNIS. It’s a protected area of natural beauty which would never be defiled like this if it was in in Europe, but…
-The Bolivian president Evo Morales is a self-declared defender of the indigenous peoples, what does he say about this?
-The official institutions say that it will bring progress to the indigenous communities, but that is not true. The closest community to the road would be more than 40km away, 40 km of jungle, and on the contrary, the road will destroy forest, pollute the land, cut off the sources of rivers… Keep in mind that for the indigenous, this forest, their rivers, lakes and lands, are the source of food and vital resources. The road puts in danger the continued existence of many communities. I met with the High Commission of the UN, and continue searching for international support to try to change the project. We ask that they leave the indigenous communities to decide their own development path according to their customs and traditions, calmly and in harmony with nature. These are rights that are legally recognized in Bolivia and even by international standards, but are still not exercised.
-How do they articulate this model of development? What projects are there?
-The indigenous peoples have always had livestock, but at a subsistence level. The big livestock producers, who make a business out of it, were settlers.
In 2008 there were floods which killed the livestock belonging to the indigenous communities and ruined their crops. In the aftermath humanitarian projects were working in each community to provide them with seeds and chickens. Now, along with Toño Puerta of the Taupadak NGO, we want to implement a program to ensure that communities’ livestock needs are secured under all circumstances. The indigenous people will manage it themselves and it will strengthen our communities.
- Is it the first Indigenous project in TIPNIS?
“Since the Indian administration was made official, we have developed several projects of education and training. But this is the first project that aims to produce goods. We are planning to implement another, a furniture factory to supply the communities, which currently lack any kind of furniture. For all of this, the support of the local councils, Taupadak and Basque are proving essential. The people we represent are deeply grateful for the assistance we are receiving from Gipuzkoa municipalities, including Irun and Hondarribia.