The Phenomenon of the Indigenous Counterrevolution

By Juan Carlos Zambrana Marchetti

January 13, 2012

It is no secret that the United States finances the opposition to leftist governments, and that its motivation is to control natural resources. In the case of Bolivia, indigenous resistance to U.S. abuse made the indigenous people formidable defenders of human rights, but their symbiotic relationship with the land also made them defenders of natural resources. Evo Morales managed to tie up the loose ends of this symbiotic relationship, and, therefore, his victory was so significant for the indigenous peoples that now, in Bolivian politics, all roads pass through the indigenous. The extreme right had no choice but to invent their own indigenism, and, as absurd as it might be, the notion of an indigenous imperialism, the new political phenomenon in Bolivia, is an indigenism complacent with neoliberalism, the U.S. Embassy, the transnational oil companies, and the NGOs, where the interests of looting hide.

This novel mutation of the indigenous movement has its center of operations in the lowlands of Santa Cruz, coalescing around the Indigenous Confederation of Eastern Bolivia (CIDOB), funded by USAID and supported by a legion of NGOs, as was demonstrated by the march opposing the road through the TIPNIS, and the agreement that the Guarani signed directly with the Repsol oil company, with the help of the NGO Nizkor, behind the back of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.

In the latter case, Repsol simply put $14.8 million in a Certificate of Deposit for ten years, with the interests committed itself to give approximately $140,000 monthly to the Assembly of Guarani People (APG) for them to manage freely. Considering that international oil companies are for-profit entities, it is clear that there exists an ulterior motive, beyond the apparent philanthropy. As it happened with the TIPNIS road, where one of the mechanisms to create the dependency of the Indigenous, were the carbon bonds paid by the industrialized countries as a “compensation,” (which allows them, by the way, to continue polluting the planet), the consultation with the Indigenous that the new constitution establishes to approve the environmental permits for projects in their territories had been kidnapped in advance by the interests of plunder, in order to boycott the process of change.

The U.S., the transnational corporations, the NGOs, the Right, its powerful press, and even the Catholic Church, were openly promoting the new indigenous counterrevolutionary leadership, dependent on the interests of plunder, to put in place around the natural resources new local elites opposed to the national interest. Following the political mandates of their “benefactors,” the counterrevolutionary indigenous leaders proved that they could oppose every project and even destabilize the government, which ultimately means boycotting the process of change, and why not, even overthrowing Morales’ government.

History has shown that the Right, when is defeated democratically due to its in lack of arguments to convince a historically dispossessed people such as Bolivians of the benefits of pillage, resorts to the most curious and conspiratorial covert operations. The phenomenon of counterrevolutionary indigenism is undoubtedly one of those destabilizing projects. However, the manipulation is so obvious that it does not withstand the test of an objective analysis. The Bolivian people have already realized that the eternal war between Left and Right is the war between plundering and a people who refuse to be robbed one more day.

Having come to power, the Bolivian people have a new objective in the sphere of understanding. The Guarani people are beginning to understand, for example, that they don’t need to surrender to the transnational corporations that previously took 83% of the value of hydrocarbons and intend to do it again. What they need to do is to claim their portion of the Direct Tax on Hydrocarbons (IDH), which is a resource for the welfare of the producing areas. They are finally understanding that the nationalization carried out by President Morales has multiplied those revenues, which are still being administered by the regional governments. These revenues, at least in the case of Santa Cruz, being in the hands of the Right, have been redistributed through projects that benefit the productive sectors in power. The indigenous Bolivians are finally understanding that some of that money belongs to them, and that all they have to do to manage it directly is to push for democratization of the concept of autonomy, which left behind national centralism only to become stuck in that of the governorships.

In December 2005, when Evo Morales won his first election by promising the people the nationalization of hydrocarbons, Tarija’s Governor (then Prefect) Mario Cossio, closely linked to transnational corporations, and speaking for the Right, said that they had lost the central government but not the hydrocarbons, because the new provincial governments would take over decision-making concerning those resources. Autonomy was, without a doubt, the plan “B” of the transnationals to control Bolivia’s hydrocarbons. It was not surprise, therefore, to confirm that the transnational oil companies were always part of the Right’s destabilizing structure that constantly conspired against Evo Morales’ government.

The process of renewing understanding that the Bolivian people are going through is actually a process of recovery from the enormous damage caused by the powerful campaign of disinformation with which the Right has managed to place them in a state of collective hypnosis, under which, as automatons, they have boycotted their own future. This process of awakening of consciousness was noted, for example, in the latest election of the Guarani People’s Assembly, in which the leader who signed the agreement with Repsol Oil lost the election facing a leadership that favors good relations with the government in order to carry out legislative changes to rescue their representation, and the right to self-manage their resources.

Something similar is starting to happen with the natives of the TIPNIS, who have already realized the manipulation to which they have been subjected by the interests of plunder. They understand that the national projects, being genuinely in favor of the classes previously forgotten are much more beneficial for them, as is, for example, the project of the Chapare development pole, which aims to make possible the substitution of coca leaf production with the industrialization and export of agricultural products under the communitarian production model, in which they are protagonists.

The transnationals boycotted the road to prevent the success of that production model, opposite to the capitalist agriculture model, that is controlling the world’s food production. Again, the motives of the conflict are the attempts of transnational corporatocracy to control Bolivia, and the efforts of the people to defend themselves.

In despite of all, the poor results of the huge imperialist investments to defeat Morales and his process of transformation prove that, in Bolivia, the counterrevolutionary indigenous movement will be just another U.S. experiment doomed to failure, simply because it prostitutes the indigenous identity by corrupting it for the benefit of exploiters, dragging it away from its natural symbiotic relationship with mother earth, which make the indigenous invariably anti-imperialist.

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