Bolivia: the Indigenous/Environmentalist Challenge to Evo's government

by Miguel Centellas
(Pronto*)

In Bolivia...the country's largest indigenous organizations are directly challenging Evo's government. In response, the government has chosen to attack USAID, blaming it for fomenting dissension & division w/in the social movements that have traditionally backed MAS. The logic is fairly simple: No legitimate indigenous group/leader would ever challenge Evo unless he/she/they was/were manipulated by foreign interests. But this argument has several problems.

First, it suggests a dismissive view of indigenous movement leaders/organizations. At best, it makes the claim that those in the government (which is dominated by middle-class, mestizo intellectuals) 'know best' the 'true interests' of the country's various indigenous peoples. Any dissent is therefore based on false consciousness that must be corrected.

In other words: indigenous groups are children that need to 'learn' both what their interests are & what 'their place' is w/in the state-society relations (they should be seen, but not heard).

At worst, it suggests a cynical view of indigenous leaders/groups as willing to sell out their own interests/communities for the sake of foreign NGO funding. Neither suggests a real faith in indigenous peoples. Read the rest of this article here...

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