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

by Miguel Centellas

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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