From Enron to Evo

Pipeline Politics, Global Environmentalism, and Indigenous Rights in Bolivia
Derrick Hindery; Susanna B. Hecht


Derrick Hindery's lively prose and careful documentation bring to light the dynamics that produced the neoliberal context and how the deals were cut and helps us understand why and how xii · Foreword Indigenous re sis tance has been successful. The book does what no other does: it gives us a template for understanding the "energy wars at the ends of the world" in the twenty- fi rst century. It changes how one reads both energy and environmental headlines and clarifi es the operations of neo- extractivist states. It gives us a history of places that are assumed not to have any, and thus open to a succession of predatory cycles and exclusionary politics, and shows us how the deep dialectic of tropical politics unfolds. Global climate, new development approaches, new ideologies, and a recasting of what it means to be a citizen increasingly are shaped by actions in the Global South, especially, I would argue, in Amazonia. Hindery's book shows in detail what is the essential truth of Amazonia: like the river itself, its history is always turbulent, always insurgent.

Susanna Hecht
Luskin School of Public Affairs
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
University of California at Los Angeles

Chapter 1
Disputing "Development"

Disgruntled over the Bolivian government's renewed support for a controversial road through the Isiboro- Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park (Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro- Sécure, TIPNIS), in January 2012 a block of Indigenous legislators from President Evo Morales's po liti cal party, Movement Toward Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo, MAS), formed a caucus to defend Indigenous rights and keep the project at bay. Although the representatives retained their party affi liations, the act spoke to a broader rift forming between the MAS and some Indigenous groups. The move came as a long- promised countermarch of cocadependent communities supportive of the highway1 approached the highland capital of La Paz, without police repression and without much press coverage. During the previous year, Bolivia's main Indigenous organizations had joined Yuracaré, Mojeño, and Chimane Indigenous peoples from TIPNIS in a two- month- long march- the Eighth Indigenous March- from the Amazon Basin to La Paz in opposition to the project. They feared the road would bring development activities that would undercut the livelihood of communities dependent on hunting, fi shing, and subsistence agriculture. Several weeks before this seminal march took place, Morales made it clear that he supported the highway when he urged men from the coca- producing Chapare region to woo Yuracaré females into accepting the road: "If I had time, I would go to enamor the Yuracaré comrades and convince them to not be opposed; so, young men, you have instructions from the president to win over the Trinitarian Yuracaré comrades so they don't oppose construction of the road" (qtd. in Chipana 2011, translation by author). The TIPNIS confl ict was seen as a litmus test of whether Morales's reputedly pro- Indigenous government would respect the rights that Indigenous groups had won since the fi rst March for Territory and Dignity in 1990, and whether Morales would comply with his own proposal to adopt the Indigenous doctrine of "Living Well" (Vivir Bien) over the capitalist, modernist ideology of living better (vivir mejor):

As long as we do not change the capitalist system for a system based on complementarity, solidarity, and harmony among peoples and nature, the mea sures we adopt will be palliatives that will have a limited and precarious character. For us, what has failed is the model of "living better" [vivir mejor], of unlimited development, of industrialization without borders, of modernity that disregards history, of increasing accumulation of goods at the expense of others and nature. That is why we propose the idea of "living well" [Vivir Bien], in harmony with other human beings and with our Mother Earth. (Evo Morales, November 28, 2008, qtd. in Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Agua 2008, translation by author)

Copyright © 2014. The Arizona Board of Regents.

This sample is free for reading while you are visiting our web site but is not free for other use, distribution, or download anywhere other than your web browser's cache.

[Close Window]