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Bolivia’s Wealthy Minority Brings New Crisis

Published: September 12, 2008, Author: MHirch

Manuel Rozenthal (Manuel Rozental <>) sent this dispatch on the growing political crisis in Bolivia. As I have discussed in earlier posts what happens between the minority wealthy and indigenous people majority in Bolivia will say volumes about the future of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. New laws in states with indigenous populations must be developed to give meaning to the UN Declaration. Mario Murillo’s dispatch suggests that this process will probably get bloody before it produces human results respectful of indigenous peoples’ social, economic, political and cultural rights.

The Dispatch:

President Evo Morales received a massive popular mandate with close to 70% support for his Government. This was followed almost immediately by an uprising coordinated between the US Embassy and Government and the elites and landowners in Eastern Bolivia. Mr Branco Marinkovic, of Croatian ancestry, part of a community that arrived after WWII where they participated as Nazi collaborators, is the leader of the right’wing elite insurgency. Soon after arriving from the US, the uprising began. The US Ambassador Goldberg, was expelled by President Morales once the Government found evidence of his participation in organizing the coup against Bolivia´s legitimate democratica popular Government. Mr Goldberg had been the US ambassador in the forme Yugoslavia, instrumental in the partition of that country and the civil war that ensued. It seems like the skills deployed in Yugoslavia with Croat and Serbs are being used in Bolivia now. These Croat landowners enslave Guaraní indigenous peoples in the lands they illegaly acquired. They favour the Free Trade Agreement with the US and the delivery of natural resources to transnational Corporations, something the people of Bolivia have objected and one of the main items of the popular agenda that lead Evo to the Presidency after outsting Gonzalo Sanchez de Losada, who was privatizing the countrie´s resources on behalf of these US and corporate interest. The US used September 11th again to launch a coup. The US has expelled the Bolivian Ambassador.

Hugo Chávez also exposed US lead coup intentions in Venezuela from a recorded telephone conversation made public yesterday. As a result, he expelled the US ambassador and recalled his own ambassador from Washington.

The US is attempting to launch an Andean War for the ´profit of its corporations. The following message was sent by Mario Murillo from WBAI, Pacifica Radio in NYC and Hofsta University. We call for solidarity.

Press release: For Immediate Attention (Spanish Version Follows)

La Paz, Sept. 10, 2008

The violence experienced on September 9 in the city of Santa Cruz has forced
organizers to suspend, for security issues, the events planned in this city
to launch the IX International Festival of Indigenous Peoples Film and Video.
Following occupations by “civic” groups of the opposition of different
Public institutions and communication media centers related to the government,
fearing potential attacks to participants of the festival. These have
reasons forced the indigenous organizations to suspend the Festival in Santa Cruz.

Since 1985, the Coordinator of Latin American Cinema and Communication
Indigenous Peoples, CLACPI, alongside indigenous organizations and allies of
different countries, promotes the development of International Film and
Video Festivals of Indigenous Peoples. In this edition, violence and intolerance
Have silenced the message of Indigenous and originating in many parts of the

After the triumph of violence and unreason, the festival has little choice
but to now move on to the city of La Paz, where the film “The Cry of the Jungle”,
the first indigenous feature film produced in Bolivia, was planned to start next
Sunday September 14. This film narrates the struggle of indigenous peoples
Defending their territory in the Bolivian Amazon in the face of subjugation suffered
at the hands of large landowners. These landowners and other opposition groups are
precisely those who now seek to halt the process of empowerment of
indigenous peoples living in our country.

However, hardline opposition violence will not prevent the Ninth
International Festival of Film and Video of Indigenous Peoples from: asserting full
social, political and cultural recognition of indigenous peoples; highlighting the
value of images and communication that uphold a pluralistic world in which
Indigenous peoples can build the future we seek; motivate the production of film and
Video works that give voice to indigenous peoples and that portray indigenous
Peoples with dignity; strengthening the ties that bind and Native and non-indigenous
people from different continents fighting for a more just world and for the
full recognition of self-determination rights.

Organizing Committee
IX International Festival of Indigenous Peoples´ Film and Video.

La Paz, 10 de septiembre, 2008

Los actos de violencia vividos el pasado 9 de septiembre en la ciudad de
Santa Cruz han obligado a suspender, por cuestiones de seguridad, los
actos previstos en esta ciudad en el marco del IX Festival Internacional
de Cine y Video de los Pueblos Indígenas. Después de la toma por parte
de los grupos de choque de la oposición “cívica” de diferentes instituciones
públicas y medios de comunicación afines al gobierno, se temen ataques
a los participantes de dicho festival. Este es el motivo que ha obligado a
las organizaciones indígenas originarias convocantes a suspender el
festival en Santa Cruz.

Desde 1985 la Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Cine y Comunicación de
los Pueblos Indígenas, CLACPI, junto a Organizaciones Indígenas y
aliados de diferentes países, impulsa el desarrollo de los Festivales
Internacionales de Cine y Video de los Pueblos Indígenas. En esta
edición, la violencia y la intolerancia han acallado el mensaje de los
pueblos indígenas y originarios de muchas partes del mundo.

Después del triunfo de la violencia y la sinrazón, el festival no
tiene más remedio que trasladarse ahora a la ciudad de La Paz, donde
estaba previsto su inicio el próximo domingo 14 de septiembre, con la
presentación de la película “El grito de la selva”, primer
largometraje de ficción indígena producido en Bolivia. En esta
película se narra la lucha de los pueblos indígenas de la amazonía
boliviana por defender su territorio del avasallamiento sufrido por
parte de grandes latifundistas. Precisamente, estos latifundistas y
otros grupos opositores, son los que ahora pretenden frenar el proceso
de emancipación que viven los pueblos indígenas en nuestro país.

Sin embargo, la violencia de los intransigentes no impedirá que el IX
Festival Internacional de Cine y Video de los Pueblos Indígena
consiga: afirmar el pleno reconocimiento social, político y cultural
de los pueblos indígenas; resaltar el valor de la imagen y la
comunicación para celebrar un mundo plural en el que los pueblos
indígenas puedan construir el futuro que buscan; motivar la producción
de obras cinematográficas y videográficas que dan voz y que los
retratan dignamente; ni fortalecer los lazos que unen a las y los
comunicadores indígenas y no indígenas de diferentes continentes
luchando por un mundo más justo y por el pleno reconocimiento del
derecho a la autodeterminación.

Comité Organizador

IX Festival Internacional de Cine y Video de los Pueblos Indígenas

Mario A. Murillo
Host/Producer, Wake UP Call
WBAI Pacifica Radio
99.5FM in New York

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