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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Lowland Indigenous Peoples in Bolivia

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Date(s) Item
Jun 1990 The CSUTCB held a meeting of lowland and highland groups to discuss the implementation of the agrarian law, which was proposed in 1984. The lowland indigenous groups did not agree to the implementation of this law because they perceived it as limiting their autonomy on their agricultural lands.
1991 The Bolivian government signed the International Labor Organization's Agreement 169 on the "rights of indigenous and tribal peoples in independent states." The government also passed a national law protecting the rights of indigenous people. This law was supported by highland indigenous groups, but was not as well supported by lowland indigenous groups. Also during this year, the lowland indigenous people and the highland people marched together ("March for Territory and Dignity") for 700 kilometers from the jungle to the Andes to the city of La Paz. The "territory" referred to the protection of their land from logging and to the legal protection of their communal lands.
1992 The Indians of the highland and lowland adopted the term "pueblas originarias" to refer to their status as original, or first nations of the country.
Oct 12, 1992 Thousands of lowland and highland indigenous people marched in all the cities of the country. In La Paz, over 50,000 Indians surrounded the national headquarters of the government and created a human chain. These were peaceful demonstrations.
1993 Victor Hugo Cardenas, former Katarista highland leader, merged with the MNR (with presidential candidate Sanchez de Lozada) for vice-president in the national election and won. At the August 6, 1993 inauguration, Cardenas spoke in Aymara, Quechua, and Guarani, while he and his wife were dressed in traditional Aymara clothing. He was also accompanied by Guatemalan Maya and Nobel Peace laureate, Rigoberta Menchu.
1993 Bolivia's peasant guerrilla group, Ejercito Guerrillero Tupac Katari, was disbanded after its leader and 11 key members were arrested. The group was responsible for 30 bomb attacks during the early and mid-1980s.
1993 The lowland indigenous group, the Guarani, won a seat in the parliament in an alliance with the MRTKL political party of Aymara Indian, Victor Hugo Cardenas.
Jan 20, 1993 The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) funded a project to protect indigenous people in Bolivia. The $51 million program will support sustainable development and cultural conservation within the region. It will also support the implementation of bilingual education programs and new health care facilities, as well as training indigenous people to market their handicrafts and abilities in the economy.
May 1993 The Plan de Todos was released. This plan included emphasis on communal land and groups, an opening of pluralist democracy, and multi-lingual education.
Jun 4, 1993 It was reported that over one million indigenous people had no voting card and thus, were unable to vote in the election. Many of the indigenous people are also illiterate, which also deters them from voting.
Jul 1993 President Jaime Paz Zamora announced that Bolivia will participate in the Indigenous Peoples Development Fund, created at the Ibero-American Summit. This fund was developed to implement technology development programs in indigenous areas.
Nov 1993 The Technical Team to Support Educational Reform (ETARE), supported by the World Bank, assessed the educational systems in indigenous areas and implemented bilingual education only for students whose "mother tongue" was an indigenous language.
Jan 1 - Dec 12, 1994 The government passed constitutional reforms, which acknowledged Bolivia as "multiethnic, pluricultural society" and allow the indigenous people to assume ownership of traditional lands.
Dec 2, 1994 One hundred Indians from Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia marched in Temuco, Chile to protest Chile's addition to the North American Free Trade Agreement. They protested the opening of the Chilean market to multinational corporations, who they perceived as taking their land.
Apr 19, 1995 The government declares a state of siege after recent unrest including a 5 week teachers ' strike, a 3 week general strike, daily clashes between police and demonstrating workers and growing discontent in the various regions. The emergency declaration follows a violent military-police takeover of the COB 's headquarters in La Paz. Some 300 union leaders were dispersed to remote towns. All demonstrations, protests and meetings are prohibited. President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada says that the measure was necessary as union leaders were provoking violence. States of siege were previously instated in 1986, 1987, and 1993 (Inter Press Service, 04/19/95).
Jul 16, 1995 The New York Times reported that rural towns received 40% of the national budget ($255 million) for roads, schools, and education in Spanish and indigenous dialects, which they receive directly and are in control of the implementation of their local programs. This plan is called the Popular Participation Plan and is considered a model economic plan of decentralization for South American countries with high indigenous populations, such as Ecuador and Peru. The government also legalized indigenous traditional medicine.
Jul 21, 1995 The government has extended the state of siege for a further 90 days. It says that continuing disorder in Chapare, where the government is waging an aggressive anti-drug campaign, and unspecified threats to the capitalization of state companies, necessitate a ban on all forms of protest. Major unions including the CSUTCB have called for a week of political actions to support the Chapare coca growers. The CSUTCB says that 2000 women will also be conducting a hunger strike to press for the release of the growers ' leaders (Latin America Weekly Report, 08/03/95).
Sep 5, 1995 Reports indicate that the government 's anti-drug crackdown is worsening the plight of indigenous peoples. Law No. 1008 gives wide powers to special anti-drug forces. Thousands of people have reportedly been imprisoned and human rights abuses included rapes have been documented. Indigenous peoples have traditionally grown the coca plant for their own use (Inter Press Service, 09/05/95).
Oct 15, 1995 The government lifts the state of siege (Inter Press Service, 10/15/95).
Dec 1995 An article in the Journal of Development Studies indicates that research over the past decade reveals that indigenous populations in Bolivia and Guatemala have lower levels of schooling, receive lower earnings, and experience lower rates of return to schooling than does the non-indigenous population. A 1993 study for Bolivia finds that most of the indigenous/ non- indigenous earnings differential is due to productivity (income-generating) differences between indigenous and non- indigenous workers. This study was however limited to urban areas and included both monolingual and bilingual (Spanish and indigenous language) individuals (MacIsaac and Patrinos, vol.32, no.2).
1996 According to the State Department 's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1996, indigenous people in Bolivia remain among the poorest in society and continue to face social discrimination. Indigenous people complain that their territories are not legally defined and protected and that their resources are exploited by outsiders, especially coca growers and timber companies. Indigenous people have become increasingly organized politically, and have taken advantage of the Population Participation Law to form municipalities that provide them with greater opportunities of self-determination. By the end of 1997, six municipalities had been established.
Aug 1996 A protest march by several groups of indigenous peoples and rural peasants that will culminate in La Paz gets underway. The protestors oppose a controversial land reform bill promoted by the National Institute for Agrarian Reform. They are supported by the Central Bolivian Workers Union, the main labor organization, which has called for a 24-hour strike. The business community, indigenous people, and rural peasants all object to the creation of an Agricultural Superintendency under the control of the president that would be empowered to return land to the state for redistribution. Indigenous leaders fear this body would minimize the power of the National Agrarian Commission in which they participate (Inter Press Service, 09/18/96). The living conditions of indigenous people in Bolivia vary according to region: Amazonian people of the north have officially recognized territories while some groups of Chiriguanos in the south still live in semi-slavery in near-feudal production systems. Indigenous people are rarely small landholders.
Oct 2, 1996 An indefinite general strike called by various unions, roadblocks by rural leaders and daily protests by indigenous peoples and peasants continue in La Paz. Some 20,000 mainly indigenous people, have held daily demonstrations in the capital for the past two weeks to protest a proposed revisions to the Agrarian Law. One demonstrator was killed when police used tear gas to contain the protests. The government says that the armed forces are willing to take action to deal with the situation. Officials indicate that 75% of the country 's poor are indigenous peoples and that 9 of out 10 rural inhabitants are unable to meet their basic needs (Inter Press Service, 10/02/96).
Oct 11, 1996 Parliament approved a controversial agrarian reform law. Over 20,000 indigenous and rural protesters had marched on La Paz for over a month in protest against the measure. Both peasants and indigenous people and large land-owners felt dissatisfied with the final compromise bill. Many marchers felt betrayed by indigenous people from the east Amazon region as the Confederacion de Pueblos Indigenas del Oriente de Bolivia (CIDOB) split from the movement and signed an accord with the government last week. They received title deeds recognizing the collective ownership of their land. A major highland organization, the CSUTCB, still opposes the new law The bill includes provisions cutting the land tax by 50%, protecting land from being arbitrarily seized, but also allowing land on which taxes have not been paid for two years to be transferred to peasant farmers (Inter Press Service, 10/11/96; Latin American Weekly Report, 10/17/96).
Nov 4, 1996 A report by the Commission for Development and Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean asserts that the diversity of Andean natural resources and the region 's indigenous peoples must be protected. Some 60% of Bolivians live in the Andes. The report, sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank and the UNDP, also stresses the need to coordinate development programs with indigenous peoples (Inter Press Service, 11/04/96).
Feb 14, 1997 Indigenous people have become increasingly active political participants in the months before parliamentary and presidential elections. The CIDOB (Indigenous Confederated Union of East Bolivia) which represents 150,000 indigenous from the east, Chaco and Amazon are looking to find a share of political power with one or more political parties. The political platform of the CIDOB consists of demanding new territorial divisions, the creation of municipal authorities and special indigenous areas, the consolidation of territories and promotion of a new national culture, and support for sustainable development.
Apr 9, 1997 Vice President Victor Hugo Cardenas, an Aymara Indian, says that while the state has recognized the rights of indigenous people, that recognition has had little effect on their everyday political and social reality. Since Cardenas was elected in 1993, Bolivia has introduced laws recognizing the rights and land needs of indigenous peoples. A recent Education Reform Law established intercultural and bilingual education to replace mandatory Spanish instruction. However, the lack of qualified teachers has limited the effectiveness of the restructuring of the educational system (Inter Press Service, 04/09/97).
Jun 1997 Hugo Banzer Suarez of the National Democratic Action Party (AND) tops the polls in presidential elections. Banzer held the presidency from 1971-78. Five political parties establish a coalition government. They are the AND, the Civic Solidarity Union (UCS), Conscience of the Fatherland (CONDEPA), New Republican Force (NFR), and the Revolutionary Leftist Movement (MIR). Marcial Fabricano, the leader of the main lowland organization, CIDOB, lost his bid at the vice-presidency on the ticket of the Movimiento Bolivia Libre (Latin American Regional Reports: Andean Group, 06/17/97; Cambridge International Reference on Current Affairs, 01/99).
Jun 17, 1997 Officials report that the first beneficiaries of the Agrarian Reform Law are some 250 indigenous communities which have received deeds to 2.3 million hectares of land in eight different regions of the country. An additional 8 million hectares remain to be distributed (Latin American Regional Reports: Andean Group, 17/06/97). Further, under the 1994 Popular Participation Law, 528 indigenous communities have been granted legal recognition. 33 of these groups, comprising 150,000 people, are located in eastern departments, mainly Santa Cruz, Beni, and Pando. Legal recognition allows the indigenous communities to apply for credits and lobby municipal governments for access to resources. (Ibid.).
Dec 11, 1997 El Nino has produced unprecedented heat in La Paz and the highlands and rain floods in the western plains. The government says $100 million is need to repair the damage, especially major losses in the agricultural sector (Inter Press Service, 12/11/97).
Apr 6, 1998 Peasant unions, including the CSUTCB, blocked highways leading to Bolivia 's biggest cities C La Paz, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz C as part of a strike that has already resulted in four deaths. The four died in clashes with the army. The strikers are demanding higher wages and a modification of a land law (AAP Newsfeed, 04/06/98).
Jan 8, 1999 The US praises Bolivia 's reduction of coca crops and announces that its aid for the country 's anti-drug campaign will increase to $54 million this year, from $35 million in 1998. Some 12,000 hectares of crops were destroyed, mostly in Chapare. 12 peasants and 6 policemen were killed in clashes last year (Inter Press Service, 01/08/99).
Feb 13, 1999 Cocaine exports are now reported to outstrip legal exports in Bolivia. One in five Bolivians is somehow reliant on the drug trade which is worth about $5 billion. Chapare is reported to be a major region for the growth and processing of coca (Times, London, 02/13/99).
Jun 1999 The journal Latin Trade reported that the International Finance Corporation was giving Caja Los Andes, one of Bolivia’s leading lenders to micro-businesses, $2 million in U.S. money to provide loans to Bolivian "micro-entrepreneurs," many of whom are poor. Latin Trade reported that this loan was aimed at assisting Bolivia’s indigenous population. (Latin Trade, June 1999)
Jun 15, 1999 Latin American Newsletters, Ltd. reported that Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC), a U.S. export-credit agency, was poised to approve a $200 million (in U.S. dollars) concessionary loan to finance the building of a gas pipeline from eastern Bolivia to a power plant in Cuiaba, Brazil. The pipeline was a joint business venture between Enron and Shell. OPIC had said that financing the project was conditional on Enron’s agreement to re-route the pipeline in the Chiquitano and Pantanal wetlands areas and on Enron’s adoption of certain measures to reduce potential environmental damage. The Chiquitano forest contained some of the most diverse plant life in the world and was home to several endangered animal species. Bolivian Energy Minister Carlos Lopez said that the project had already met all environmental standards and was approved in consultations with indigenous communities residing in the area that will be affected by the pipeline’s construction. The London-based Financial Times noted that 60 environmental groups from 25 countries were opposing the pipeline project, claiming that any new paths through the sensitive wetland areas would open the door for "poaching, logging, hunting, farming, and settlement" (Financial Times [London], June 15, 1999). During the week prior to June 16, environmental lobbyists urged OPIC to oppose the project. Atossa Soltani, director of the environmental NGO Amazon Watch, brought five Bolivian indigenous leaders to the U.S. Treasury and OPIC to complain that indigenous people in the affected area had not been properly consulted about the project. Financial Times reported that Enron claimed it would continue with the project whether or not it received funding from OPIC. Apparently, Enron had promised to spend $2 million in U.S. money to erect a hospital in the affected area. (Latin American Newsletters, Ltd., June 15, 1999; Financial Times [London], June 15, 1999)
Jun 16, 1999 The World Bank approved two loans worth a total of U.S. $57 million to improve health services and reform public administration in Bolivia. One $25 million loan would support the Health Sector Reform Project, which would attempt to increase the degree of coverage and quality of health services in Bolivia by "establishing a basic health insurance system, providing vaccines to immunize children, and financing a program to reduce Bolivia’s high infant and maternal mortality rates" (M2 Presswire, June 19, 1999). This project would also train regional and local health staff and ensure that health services reach indigenous people, who possessed the least access to health services and highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the country. The second loan ($32 million) would improve the "effectiveness, efficiency, and transparency" (M2 Presswire, June 16, 1999) of Bolivia’s public administration. This loan would be the first of three loans that would be aimed at "reducing corruption and reforming the institutional framework of the civil service and budget system, and by creating a performance evaluation system" (M2 Presswire, June 16, 1999). (M2 Presswire, June 16, 1999)
Apr 3 - 20, 2000 From April 3 to April 7, thousands of peasant farmers and workers protested against increased water prices, unemployment, and Bolivia’s economic crisis, which was blamed in part on the government’s war on cocaine trafficking. San Antonio Express-News noted that the Bolivian government had in recent years destroyed more than half of the country’s coca leaf production, which left thousands of Quechua and Aymara Indian framers without a source of income and depressed the economy in regions where cocaine trafficking formerly flourished. The protests occurred throughout Bolivia, though most of the activity was concentrated in the areas surrounding Bolivia’s two largest cities – La Paz and Cochabamba. Leaders of coca farmers organized protests in Cochabamba beginning on April 3, while peasants began a blockade of a highway running from La Paz to Oruro province on April 4. On April 8, President Banzer declared a 90-day state of emergency in an attempt to quell the week of protests that had occurred throughout Bolivia. Two-dozen demonstrators were jailed the day that the state of emergency was declared. In addition, a teacher was shot and killed as the military attempted to remove the peasant blockade of a highway running from La Paz to Oruro province. A youth was also shot and killed during violent protests in Cochabamba, though the perpetrator of the shooting was unknown. On April 8, President Banzer declared a 90-day state of emergency in an attempt to quell the week of protests that had occurred throughout Bolivia. Two-dozen demonstrators were jailed the day that the state of emergency was declared. In addition, a teacher was shot and killed as the military attempted to remove the peasant blockade of a highway running from La Paz to Oruro province. A youth was also shot and killed during violent protests in Cochabamba, though the perpetrator of the shooting was unknown. On April 9, hundreds of police officers in La Paz and Santa Cruz took over their own headquarters and jails, demanding a 50 percent pay increase. In La Paz, police and soldiers clashed with each other. Police fired tear gas at the soldiers, who fired their weapons into the air. The police strikes ended within hours in both La Paz and Santa Cruz after the officers were granted a pay increase. In addition, thousands of farmers gathered on the outskirts of Cochabamba and the city’s main square on April 9, protesting increased water prices and the government destruction of Bolivia’s cocaine industry, among other things. A commission headed by Vice President Jorge Quiroga was scheduled to travel to Cochabamba to try and negotiate with protestors there, but the trip was cancelled due to a lack of security. Thousands of Aymara Indian farmers also clashed with soldiers in the Andean towns of Achacachi and Batallas on April 9. In Achacachi, farmers blocked roads and threw rocks at soldiers who attempted to disperse them. The soldiers responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets at the protestors. Three soldiers and two farmers were killed. Hundreds of protestors in Achacachi also invaded government offices, destroyed furniture and documents, and burned several buildings and vehicles. In Batallas, soldiers also fought with farmers who had blocked roads. Dozens of people were injured in clashes in both cities. On April 10, tens of thousands of peasants occupied Cochabamba's city square, "armed with broomsticks and machetes" (Agence France Presse, April 10, 2000) after marching there from the town of Quillacollo. Expecting a confrontation, the government sent more soldiers to Cochabamba, but no serious clashes were reported. Cochabamba authorities took control of local radio stations to prevent protestors from reporting the news. Peasant leader Alberto Zapata said that the protestors demanded that the Bolivian government alter the Basic Sanitation and Sewer Law, which aims at privatizing the water service industry. Aguas del Tunari, the British-Spanish-Bolivian water consortium, pulled out of their contract with the Bolivian government to build a dam on April 10. According to Water Superintendent Luis Uzin, this move by Aguas del Tunari would eventually cost the government $10 million. In addition, the Bolivian government halted increases in water prices on the evening of April 10 after reaching an agreement with protest organizers, members of the Roman Catholic Church, and local officials from Cochabamba over an "expensive water project in Cochabamba and a new water law" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 11, 2000). The group that met with the government was known as the Water Coordinating Committee and also contained union and civic leaders from Cochabamba. The Church and civic leaders also asked the government to end the state of emergency because it "tarnishes Bolivia in the eyes of international investors and raises serious questions about human rights" (Knight Ridder Washington Bureau, April 12, 2000). Despite the fact that thousands of protesting peasants left Cochabamba's city square on the evening of April 10, nearly 10,000 peasants remained behind and refused to leave until a tentative agreement between the Bolivian government and the Water Coordinating Committee was approved by Congress on April 11. The Bolivian Rural Workers Union (CSUTCB) also refused to end roadblocks that they had erected until security forces released its leader, Felipe Quispe Huanca. The Central Obrera workers' union (COB) also called on all Bolivian citizens to engage in a nationwide strike on April 12 to protest what it termed the "massacre" of peasants by the military in the recent wave of protests, followed by "mass mobilizations, wildcat strikes, and shutting down local food markets to fight the government's (state of emergency) order" (Agence France Presse, April 11, 2000). Rounding out the action on April 10 was a clash between roughly 100 students and police near San Andres University in La Paz and a hunger strike launched by three members of Congress. Both actions were staged to protest or defy the government's declaration of a state of emergency. On April 11, the Bolivian Congress passed a modified national water law that would give local communities a greater voice in local water issues. In addition, Aguas del Tunari released a public statement in which it claimed that it was still committed to the $200 million Cochabamba dam project. On April 12, clashes between students and police flared up again in La Paz. Students threw rocks, and police fired tear gas and rubber bullets. Students returned to their campuses after fighting with the police. A university professor named Jaime Vilela claimed that 11-15 students were injured and 50 were detained in the clashes with police. In addition, workers engaged in a strike in the Andean town of Potosi on April 12 in protest over government "indifference" to their problems, according to local leaders. In addition, the Bolivian Workers Center, Bolivia's largest union, engaged in a strike to protest the state of emergency on April 12. Knight Ridder Washington Bureau reported that the strike "did not seriously disrupt daily life in Bolivia's largest cities" (Knight Ridder Washington Bureau, April 13, 2000). Finally, negotiations between government and union officials came to halt on April 12. On April 18, the Bolivian government and agricultural unions signed an agreement to end the conflicts that had been occurring since April 3. However, the Dubuque, Iowa-based Telegraph Herald reported that the Bolivian military had been occupying the area around the town of Achacachi since peasants clashed with police and brutally murdered Captain Jesus Omar Tellez there on April 9. Human rights groups reported that the Bolivian military had been "knocking down peasants' doors in the night and torturing suspects in the search for men blamed for maiming and killing" (Telegraph Herald, [Dubuque, IA], April 18, 2000) Captain Tellez. Finally, on April 20, President Banzer lifted the state of emergency that he had called on April 8. Banzer lifted the state of emergency after indigenous and labor protestors agreed to dismantle roadblocks and cease protest actions, the Catholic Church and trade unions increased their pressure on the government, and Banzer realized that he risked losing a foreign debt relief program financed by the IMF and World Bank. The debt relief program was conditional on the Bolivian government engaging in "dialogue with civil society in defining how…resources would be used" (Inter Press Service, April 21, 2000). One military and four civilian deaths had occurred since the state of emergency was declared on April 8. In addition, 88 people were wounded, and 21 union leaders were arrested. Apparently, Felipe Huanca (peasant workers' union leader) and Mallku (Aymara Indian leader) claimed that the protests staged during April were only the beginning of more demonstrations. Mallku allegedly claimed that the April protests were "the first stones toward taking political power" (Inter Press Service, April 21, 2000). (Japan Economic Newswire, April 9, 2000; Agence France Presse, April 9, 2000, April 10, 2000, April 11, 2000, and April 12, 2000; The Washington Times, April 10, 2000; USA Today, April 10, 2000; San Antonio Express-News, April 10, 2000; Newsday [New York, NY], April 10, 2000; The New York Times, April 10, 2000; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 11, 2000; The Deseret News [Salt Lake City, UT], April 11, 2000; The Times-Picayune, April 12, 2000; Knight Ridder Washington Bureau, April 12, 2000 and April 13, 2000; Telegraph Herald [Dubuque, IA], April 18, 2000; The British Broadcasting Corporation, April 18, 2000; Facts on File World News Digest, April 20, 2000; Inter Press Service, April 21, 2000)
May 30, 2000 Members of the National Pilot Association engaged in a 24-hour strike to protest the entrance of the Brazilian-Paraguayan TAM airline in the Bolivian market. The strike left thousands of people stranded because all domestic and international flights were cancelled. (Chattanooga Times / Chattanooga Free Press, May 31, 2000)
Jun 10, 2000 Mr. Evo Morales, the highest-voted deputy in Bolivia and representative of 60,000 coca farmers, told the Irish Times that he had been "approached by a retired general interested in a joint civic-military insurrection" (The Irish Times, June 10, 2000). (The Irish Times, June 10, 2000)
Jul 11, 2000 Roughly 1000 indigenous Bolivians began a 528-mile march from Santa Cruz de la Sierra and La Paz to "protest the government’s delay in recognizing indigenous territories and land titles" (EFE News Service, July 11, 2000). The "March for Land and Territory" was organized by the Confederation of Bolivian Indians (CIDOB). A week prior to the march, CIDOB leaders had reached an agreement with the government establishing a timeline for the transfer of land titles to indigenous peoples. However, CIDOB leader Jose Bailaba told EFE News Service that the agreement was "not satisfactory and that the people are tired of name-calling, terms and negotiations that have never come to fruition" (EFE News Service, July 11, 2000). EFE also reported that approximately 200,000 Indians from 34 tribes in Bolivia’s Amazonian and River Plate regions had obtained rights to land and the natural resources located there. (EFE News Service, July 11, 2000)
Aug 5, 2000 The Irish Times reported that, in response to the April rebellion, the Bolivian government was forced to cancel a water privatization deal. The Irish Times also reported that the government compensated the families of protestors that were killed by army snipers. (The Irish Times, August 5, 2000)
Sep 13 - Oct 14, 2000 Union protests were launched on September 13. On October 18, in protest against the Bolivian government’s anti-narcotics policy, a group of more than 1000 of the country’s coca leaf growers blocked the highway in Villa Tunari – Bolivia’s main highway. Leftist policymaker Evo Morales stated: "We (indigenous people) are making our voice heard again, in favor of sovereignty, against the Yankees (referring to US aid to the Bolivian anti-drugs program) who want to take control of our lands, and against the government (of President Hugo Banzer) which has not kept its word" (Agence France Presse, September 18, 2000). The coca growers also demanded "that the government guarantee prices for substitute crops and set up a university with agronomy and environmental studies in the area" (Agence France Presse, September 18, 2000), as well as not touch coca crops in the area and discontinue plans to build three military outposts in the region. EFE provided the following facts about President Banzer's four-year "Dignity Plan," which began in 1998 and projects the allocation of $950 million as follows: "$700 million for alternative crop development, $108 million dollars for coca crop eradication, $129 million dollars to fight drug traffickers and $15 million dollars to set up addict rehabilitation programs" (EFE News Service, September 25, 2000). As indicated above, protestors are opposed to several points of this plan. Bolivian authorities claimed that protestor demands to both not touch coca crops and not construct the military bases are "not negotiable, because these projects form part of a state policy" (EFE News Service, September 25, 2000). Agence France Presse reported that in the past three years, the Banzer administration had destroyed between 33,000-38,000 hectares (the equivalent of 90% of the crop) of coca leaf in Bolivia and that approximately 60,000 indigenous Bolivian farmers in the Cochabamba area depend on the production of this crop for a subsistence income. The Scotsman reported that an estimated 300,000 Quechuan and Aymaran Indian farmers rely on coca as their primary source of income. The Scotsman also commented: "Andean mountain peasants traditionally use (coca) to combat altitude sickness and reduce the pangs of hunger and thirst," and in Bolivia, "South America's poorest country, there is no alternative employment (for coca producers), with 70 percent of the population of eight million living below the poverty line" (The Scotsman, September 30, 2000). Japan Economic Newswire also reported that the U. S. had pressured Bolivia "to abolish its excess production of coca leaves" (Japan Economic Newswire, September 27, 2000), seeing that coca also acts as a raw material for cocaine. In response to this pressure, the Bolivian government was "aiming to eliminate all illegal coca cultivation by 2002 and allow only 12,000 hectares of coca fields to operate for local consumption" (Japan Economic Newswire, September 27, 2000). On September 20, legislative sources claimed that protestors in the Chapare region ended one roadblock after the Bolivian parliament agreed to establish a municipal jurisdiction in the area. Despite this agreement, other roadblocks continued, and 400 military troops were sent to the region to carry out a September 19 government threat to use security forces to dismantle roadblocks. This promise was made good when 300 Bolivian troops took apart a roadblock on the Copacabana highway (in Bolivia’s mountainous region) leading to Peru, at the towns of Achacachi and Huarina – an act that was met with no resistance by protestors, according to Interior Minister Guillermo Fortun. However, the day did not pass violence-free. 800 soldiers clashed with the 15,000 coca farmers in Villa Tunari for 20 minutes, injuring three people (a soldier, a student, and a journalist). The coca farmers were armed with sticks and stones, while the soldiers launched tear gas. Finally, in southern Bolivia near Santa Cruz, roughly 300-500 peasants stormed three oil fields belonging to the Chaco oil company, a British Petroleum-Amoco (British-U.S. oil company) affiliate. The Humberto Suarez, Los Cusis, and Patujusal fields were occupied. This act was reported by a spokesperson of the affiliate. The protestors demanded that roads be paved, two bridges be constructed, and a forestry project that was intruding on their lands be cancelled. Santa Cruz provincial prefect Ramon Prada reported that the protestors "allowed a partial resumption of operations" (EFE News Service, September 21, 2000) on September 21, after Prada got protestors to halt their occupation until the following day. However, the conflict was not resolved in its entirety. Also on September 21, EFE News Service reported that other Indians in Santa Cruz province continued to occupy two fields belonging to Bolinter, a company that was in the process of building a sector of an oil pipeline linking Bolivia and Brazil. The occupiers were "demanding that the Enron-Shell consortium provide guarantees that a development plan will be implemented" (EFE News Service, September 21, 2000). On September 24, two peasants in the town of Parotani (located on the Cochabamba-Oruro highway in central Bolivia) and one in Guaqui (located on the road between La Paz and Desaguadero) were killed in clashes between soldiers and protestors. The Bolivian Human Rights Assembly sent a commission to Parotani to investigate the deaths occurring there. Sacha Llorenti, secretary of this human rights organization, told EFE News Service that around ten people suffered bullet wounds and another four had disappeared during the Parotani clashes. Conversely, Bolivian Interior Minister Guillermo Fortun stated that other signs indicated that the Parotani deaths resulted not from soldier’s bullets, but rather from being run over by a trucker whose vehicle was being pelted by rocks. At least 35 people were also reportedly injured in clashes throughout Bolivia. The army reported that four officers and two soldiers in Guaqui were injured when peasants threw rocks at them. EFE News Service also reported that the Catholic Church was attempting to arrange negotiations between government representatives and protest leaders, while representatives for the coca farmers were reviewing a government proposal responding to protestor demands. Felipe Quispe, leader of the Union of Rural Workers of Bolivia (CSUTCB) and organizer of many of the roadblocks, told Radio Fides that broad demonstrations would continue " ‘because bloodshed motivates us, and others will join our protest’ " (EFE News Service, September 25, 2000). The CSUTCB was also demanding the repeal of water and land laws. On September 27, Japan Economic Newswire reported that the number of casualties resulting from police-protestor clashes had reached five. It also reported that the number of teachers involved in the protests was 130,000 and that the roadblocks had caused product shortages in several major Bolivian cities. On September 29, Agence France Presse reported that the number of casualties since September 24 had risen to eight, while the following day, The Scotsman reported that the number of casualties was at least nine, and the number of injured was 95. On September 30, The Scotsman reported that President Banzer stated that the plan to restrict coca growing would continue, despite the protests. In response to teacher protests, the government laid off hundreds of striking teachers and arrested the leader of the teacher’s union. Police had also broken up teacher protests with tear gas. Agence France Presse reported that the Bolivian government had scrapped the U.S.-funded plan to build three military bases in the region where protests were occurring, in an attempt to appease the coca farmers. Excluding the military base issue, Bolivian Minister of the President, Walter Guiteras, released the following statement on October 1: "We are not willing to obey the whims and the goals that are not the goals of the Bolivian people. (CSUTCB leader Felipe) Quispe is operating under a mentality of 400 years ago" (Agence France Presse, October 1, 2000). On October 2, the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights in Bolivia claimed that the number of deaths in protestor-security force clashes reached 10, while the number of injured had reached 128. A day after Felipe Quispe broke off negotiations with the Bolivian government that aimed to end the countrywide protests, the CSUTCB stated that it would resume talks on October 2. However, Quispe allegedly claimed that he would only attend negotiations if they took place at Achacachi. Additionally, in a meeting mediated by the Roman Catholic Church and other non-governmental organizations, striking rural teachers signed a tentative agreement with the Ministry of Education. Negotiations between the Ministry of Education and urban teachers also apparently got underway on October 2. On October 4 and 5, the Bolivian legislature remained in special session to try and find "a solution to the social crisis" (EFE News Service, October 5, 2000) stemming from the protests. Legislators from three opposition parties criticized President Banzer "for not having acted in time to avoid the crisis" (EFE News Service, October 5, 2000). "Legislators agreed in calling for a social truce and for a national salvation accord involving the government and the political parties, as well as representatives of labor, business and other social sectors" (EFE News Service, October 5, 2000). On October 6, the fifth day of negotiations between CSUTB leaders and representatives of President Banzer’s Cabinet, striking farmers and teachers reached several agreements with Cabinet members. The Catholic Church, the Ombudsman’s Office, and the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights acted as mediators of the meetings. Teachers received a $50 bonus this year and will receive a $190 bonus in 2001, in exchange for agreeing to postpone salary talks. The Banzer "administration (also) agreed to replace controversial land legislation within 60 days, amend the Forests Act, and permanently shelve a bill that would have charged for the use of water from springs and streams" (EFE News Service, October 6, 2000). Felipe Quispe said that "the government’s concessions were being discussed by the rank and file of the different unions, but that once the agreement was signed the roadblocks would be lifted" (EFE News Service, October 6, 2000). The New York Times reported that, in an interview on October 6, Quispe claimed that his ultimate goals were to force Banzer to resign and also reverse his pro-market economic policies, claiming that Banzer was " ‘incapable, inept…(unable to) govern…(and) has to go’ " (The New York Times, October 7, 2000). On the other hand, Presidency Minister Walter Guiteras, the head governmental negotiator, expressed satisfaction with the agreement. The agreement was scheduled to be signed as soon as the government released those who were arrested during the protests but not charged with a crime. This agreement would end most of the roadblocks that had so crippled many of Bolivia’s cities that the air force had to deliver food to these cities. Despite the agreement with farmers and teachers, the main highway in the central Chapare province remained populated with coca farmers on October 6. Government Minister Guillermo Fortun "insisted that he would only talk to representatives of the coca farmers after they unblocked area roads" (EFE News Service, October 6, 2000). On October 7, Congressman Evo Morales, leader of the coca farmers, released a statement in which he reaffirmed the coca growers’ intention to continue carrying out marches and roadblocks "until the government backed down" (The New York Times, October 7, 2000). However, on the same day, protesters and government ministers signed an accord in La Paz. The ministers "agreed to prop up corn prices, reverse a land titling process that would have raised taxes, and return water rights from the government to Indian peasants" (October 7, 2000). On October 10, Agence France Presse reported that President Banzer remained "immovable" on the coca issue, dedicated to eradicating coca-leaf production by the end of his presidential term in August 20002. "Government minister Guillermo Fortun stated that, for reasons of national development as well as international commitments, ‘not even one centimeter (inch)’ of coca leaf would be allowed in Chapare (province)" (October 10, 2000, Agence France Presse). Evo Morales replied by releasing a statement "that coca growing ‘will not be surrendered, even in the face of gunfire’ " (October 10, 2000, Agence France Presse). However, three days later on October 13, the coca leaf farmers agreed to remove their roadblock, which had prevented traffic among the La Paz, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz provinces. This roadblock had cost Bolivia "more than 250 million dollars in economic losses" (Agence France Presse, October 14, 2000). According to the Ministry of Government Information, Evo Morales and Interior Minister Fortun reached the agreement in the town of Chimore. Agence France Presse reported that "3000 troops were poised to clear the road if protesters refused to do it themselves" (Agence France Presse, October 14, 2000). Other points continued to be negotiated on October 13, but Agence France Presse reported that President Banzer "had ruled out farmers' demands that they be allowed to grow small plots of coca leaf for personal use" (Agence France Presse, October 14, 2000). Finally, on October 14, the Bolivian government pledged to spend "$80 million in economic development programs…to aid coca growers to cultivate other types of crops" (The Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT), October 15, 2000). This move would effectively end the month of roadblocks being carried out by coca farmers. (Agence France Presse, September 19, 2000, September 20, 2000, September 29, 2000, October 1, 2000, October 3, 2000, October 10, 2000, and October 14, 2000; EFE News Service, September 21, 2000, September 25, 2000, October 5, 2000, and October 6, 2000; Japan Economic Newswire, September 27, 2000; The Scotsman, September 30, 2000; The New York Times, October 7, 2000; The Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT), October 15, 2000)
Oct 20, 2000 In preparation for the launching of a measure to revive Bolivia’s staggering economy, President Banzer appointed three new members to his Cabinet, "shuffled the portfolios of four current ministers" (EFE News Service, October 20, 2000), and promised to name a minister for peasant and indigenous affairs. The new Cabinet members were: businessman Caludio Mansilla Pea, the new Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment; UCS executive secretary Jorge Pacheco France, the new Minister of Labor and Microbusiness; and MIR legislator Hugo Carvajal, the new Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, and Rural Development. (EFE News Service, October 20, 2000; The Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT), October 21, 2000)
Oct 30, 2000 As promised on October 20, President Banzer named a Minister for Peasant and Indigenous Affairs. The new appointee, a sociologist named Wigberto Rivero Pinto, said "his first action would be to implement a 50-point agreement…on coca eradication" (The Seattle Times, October 31, 2000) signed with farmers on Oct. 7. (The Seattle Times, October 31, 2000)
Mar 30, 2006 Guarani Indians in the Bolivian region of the Chaco, launch a bid for departmental status. They want to control the gas fields of San Alberto and San Antonio. (Latin news Daily. 3/31/2006. "Bolivia: Chaco makes bid for departamental status")
Sep 9, 2006 Guarani Indians cut off gas to Argentina in protest against increased customs duties. (The Economist. 9/9/2006. "Power grab; Bolivia's constitution")
Nov 9, 2006 Thousand of lowland indigenous gathered together and marched from Yapacani towards Bulo Bulo, in order to get the approval of the new Agrarian Reform bill, especially of the agrarian law 1715. (Caminamos. 11/9/2006. Boletin official de la marcha indigena. Por la Reconduccion Comunitaria de la Reforma Agraria. Santa Cruz. N. 3.
Dec 12, 2006 The Civic Committee and the Prefectura of the Deparment of Santa Cruz attempt to take over the headquarters of the CIDOB (Confederacion de Pueblos Indigenas de Bolivia) destroying the the facilities of the office. (Confederacion de Pueblos Indigenas de Bolivia. "Manifesto to the Bolivian people, 12/12/2006". 7/2/2007. http://www.cidob-bo-org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=84&Itemid=2)


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Information current as of July 16, 2010