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Aizay Tariq and Natasha Jean Cabuco

Indigenous People Project: Bolivia


9 EF Human Geography Block 3
November 19, 2013

Part 2: Bolivia

Background on Indigenous People of Bolivia:


The Bolivian Republic was found in the 19th century behind the backs of
the indigenous peoples, who established more than 90% of the total
population. More recently, in 1938, the constitutions began to officially
recognize indigenous communities. Afterwards, Bolivia approved Convention
No. 169 in 1991. Nevertheless, in 1994, the Constitution recognized the
multiethnic and multicultural type of the Bolivia. The constitutional
improvements of 2004 recognized the indigenous peoples right to present
candidates straightforwardly, recognizing them as political and social
individuals in their own right. Bolivia also made the United Nations Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples compulsory as national law. In 2006
2007, the
constitutional procedure included a high level of indigenous
involvement. Indigenous peoples have demanded the addition of First Nations
in the States new pact, defining Bolivia as a multinational state that includes
individuals of diverse nationalities.
A national poll in 2001 revealed Bolivias population includes 62% of
indigenous people. Thirty-six of these people are recognized, the utmost
abundances are: the Quechua (49.5%), the Aymara (40.6%) live in the
western Andes (mountain range) the Chiquitano (3.6%), Guarani (2.5%) and
the Mojeo (1.4%). The other 2.6% form the thirty-four indigenous peoples
that are living in the lower lands in the eastern area.

Recognized People
60%

50%

50%

41%

Precentage

40%

30%

Quechua
Aymara

20%

Chiquitano
Guarani
Mojeo

10%
4%
0%

3%

1.40%

2.60%

Others

Recognized People

Quechua

50%

Aymara

41%

Chiquitano

4%

Guarani

3%

Mojeo

1.40%

Others

2.60%

Indigenous groups have gained strength in recent decades, recovering


their identity as indigenous peoples and First Nations. They are increasing their
levels of organization and participation. There are now five major indigenous
centres organizing the lowland and highland peoples, landless labourers, and
women. The ILO has approved preparation activities on the right to a
conference. Furthermore, the ILO has included Bolivia in its forced labour and
child labour extermination programs.
In Bolivia 62 percent majority of the inhabitants are over
the age of 15, however they belong to indigenous peoples
groups. The other 3.7 percent grew up with an indigenous
mother tongue (first, main language) yet they did not
convey that they belong to an indigenous group. Bolivias
education expenses are 7.6 percent GDP (2010). Their
overall comparison to the world is 16. This is one of the

main causes, why poverty is greatly among the


indigenous people. Also, their infant mortality rate is 58
compared to the entire world, which is extremely poor. It
shows compared to the world numerous babies die in
Bolivia due to the extreme poverty that is captivating
over, and the government is not sincerely doing anything.
Bolivia ranks at/near the bottom among Latin American countries in
several areas of health and development, including poverty, education,
fertility, starvation, mortality, and life expectancy. These are particular glitches
the indigenous peoples have to face to this day. They have somewhat
enhanced, but typically the difficulties remain unchanged. On the positive side,
more children are being vaccinated and more pregnant women are getting
prenatal care and are having skilled health doctors attend their births. Bolivia's
income inequality is the highest in Latin America and one of the highest in the
world. Public education is of underprivileged quality, and educational openings
are among the utmost unequally spread in Latin America, with girls,
indigenous, and rural children less likely to be well educated or to even
complete primary school. Yet, this is another vast dispute among the
indigenous peoples. The lack of access to education and family development
facilities help endure a Bolivia's high fertility rate, which is roughly around
three children per woman. Bolivia's lack of clean water and basic sanitation,
especially in rural areas, contributes to health problems. This specifically
concerns the indigenous peoples since they are the ones commonly living in
rural areas. Drowned in poverty, and having health complications, the
indigenous people are incapable to pay for medical aid causing numerous other
tribulations for them.
The Aymara had been engaged into the Inca Empire before the Spanish
conquest of the Inca in 1532. The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire was
when after decades of fighting, it had finally ended the Spanish victory and
colonization of the region Viceroyalty of Peru. In 1538, the indigenous
inhabitants in Bolivia were defeated. Yet, the country had attracted the
Spanish because of its rich silver mines that were discovered in 1545.
Exploiters, a person who uses something or someone selfishly or unfairly,
approached, determined on a speedy wealth. The natives were forced into
labour, working on mines and the obrajes, textile mills, under pressure. They
had continued to be unconcerned about the development other than the
construction of transportation facilities that were made to remove the exposed
riches. Native labourers were also used on land holdings, a piece of land

rented or owned. Thus, arose a system of a pillaged economy and social


inequality that continued in Bolivia to this day. Economic development was
lagging by the harsh ground. Situations did not change even when the area
was completed in 1559.
The Indigenous Role in Society:
Indigenous people have historically been among the poorest and most
excluded groups throughout Latin America. They have not only faced serious
discrimination in relations of their basic rights to their ancient property,
languages, cultures, and systems of governance, but also in relations of
contact with basic social services, such as education, health and nutrition,
water and sanitation, housing, etc., and the essential situations for a fulfilling
life.
The demographics, a particular sector of a population, of Indigenous
people differ from those of the non-indigenous. The majority of indigenous
peoples is bilingual, a person fluent in two languages, and speak Spanish as
well as their own indigenous language; and 40% of the indigenous population
is monolingual, speaking only their native language. A large number of
indigenous women are generally monolingual and go through extensive
discrimination from the main mestizo, people of mixed European and nonEuropean Indigenous group. An important issue influencing the demographics
of indigenous people is the cumulative development of urbanization in Bolivia.
However, in 1976, only 41% of the overall population lived in urban
areas, and in 2002, approximately 64% lived in major cities or towns. This
speedy urbanization is caused by the migration of Indigenous people from the
countryside to the cities. This idea of movement, being the cause of speedy
urbanization, is assured by the fact that in 2002 a majority with 52% of
Bolivias indigenous people lived in urban areas while 48% continued to live in
rural communities. Nevertheless, rural areas continue to be inhabited primarily
by Indigenous people, with an estimation of 78%. Yet, urban areas continue to
be largely inhabited by the non-indigenous and mestizo population, with an
estimation of 66%.
Economic indicate a high amount of poverty and income inequality in
Bolivia. The poverty headcount ratio of 2002 indicates that more than 65% of
the Bolivian population were living below the national poverty line and 14.4%
were living on less than US$1 per day. George Town University explains how it

is important to emphasize that there is a high and persistent connection


between being poor and being indigenous (Gigler 7).
The overriding group of mestizos and other ethnic minorities define
every aspect of their social life and indigenous people rarely have access to
important social networks within their own society in Bolivia. Indigenous
people have become the 23 invisible others, as George Town University
states it. The Indigenous people are mainly working for the major class as local
servants, rural workers, paddlers, and other forms of cheap labour (Gigler
23). Also, indigenous women are absorbed in labour abuse and daily ethnic
discrimination, when working as local servants or prostitutes on the streets of
the urban areas. Life for the Indigenous people in Bolivia just keeps on getting
harsher and unkinder.
Numerous Indigenous people have tried to overcome this social
segregation by migrating to urban areas. In Bolivia an entire new group of
mestizos, or Cholos, has emerged. Cholos is an insulting and offensive term
used to mention Indigenous people who have migrated to urban areas in
Bolivia, leaving various sections of their traditional way of life behind, and still
at the same time keeping
countless features of their
indigenous
identity.
For
example, most Cholas keep
their traditional clothing and
work completely in the urban
areas,
mainly
as street
merchants. Due to their
movement,
they
are
generally ignored from their
communities,
and
only
somewhat included in the
lifestyles of urban areas.
They socially and culturally remain excluded and named within the mestizo
society. The University of Georgetown exclaims, This group, whose identity is
constantly between two worlds represents the most vulnerable group of
Bolivias society (Gigler 23).
Issues the Natives Face:
From the time when there were indigenous people in Bolivia, they have
faced many issues such as poverty, lack of passable employment

opportunities, rights, resources, and discrimination. People looked down on


them. Since they encounter poverty, they could not employ their children in a
proper school or allow them to continue their education. That is why there is a
scarce amount of indigenous people who are accepted in a passable
employment. Of the Bolivias population, 49.6 percent are below the poverty
line and the country rank of the unemployment rate is 84 to 7.5 percent,
according to last year estimation.
Due to poverty and the lack of passable jobs, the majority of those
indigenous people has no other choice but to commit crimes. Bolivia is in the
top 100 at the rank of 74 with 14,770 total populations of prisoners, including
pre-trial detainees and remand prisoners. However, Bolivia is in the rank of
110 with 140 as the population rate per 100,000 of the national population.
83.3 percent of the prison population are pre-trial detainees and remand
prisoners. 11.7 percent of the prison population is female prisoners. Nine
percent of the prison population are juveniles, minors, and young prisoners
under the age of 21. 6.8 percent of the prison population is foreigner
prisoners. In Bolivia, there is a total of 53 prisons according to a 2011
database. According to the 2012 database, the official capacity of the prison
system is 5,000 with the occupancy level of 269.8 percent.

10,000
9,000
8,000
7,000
6,000
5,000
4,000
3,000
2,000
1,000
0

1996
1998
2001
2004

1996

Prison Population Total


5,412

1998

6,149

2001

5,577

2004

6,495

2007

7,683

2010

9,406

2007
2010

100
90
80
70
60
1996

50

1998

40

2001

30

2004

20

2007

10
0

2010

1996

Prison Population Rate


70

1998

76

2001

65

2004

71

2007

80

2010

93

Legislation:
According to ILO, it is said that Bolivia has the highest percentage of
indigenous people in South America and that their identity is composed as
indigenous people and First Nations. Somewhere in the 19th century, they have
been fighting for their rights, lands, a share in the national resource profits, to
be known in the society, et cetera. In 1991 and 1994, the Convention No. 169
has been authorized. This made the Constitution recognize Bolivia as
multiethnic and multicultural. It also recognized the indigenous peoples
rights, their native communal lands, a share in the national resource profits,
and to be known in the society. The UN also declared the Rights of Indigenous
People as a national law. As Bolivia is not only composed of indigenous people
but also a First Nations, Bolivia was described as a multinational state.
Indigenous peoples have merged together almost about 20,000,000
hectares of a united property under the idea of Native Community Lands
Native Community Lands is commonly known as the Tierras Comunitarias de
Origen, or for short TCO. The TCO were territories held by indigenous

people through a legislation that was cited together under the law. Through
their approval with a Decree Number 727/10, the TCOs took the legal name,
Territorio Indigena Originario Campesino, or for short TIOC. Territorio Indigena
Originario Campesino is translated to the Peasant Native Indigenous Territory.
The TIOC became known as the territory where common lands or a community
was established. Ever since, Bolivia has become a participant in the ILO
Convention 169. The ILO Convention number 169 was an indigenous and tribal
peoples convention, which deals with the rights of these people. A Law No.
3760 on November 7, 2007 approved the United Nations Declaration on the
Rights of the Indigenous Peoples.
The largest events in
history,
including
the
Indigenous
people,
had
comprised of laws and
disputes the Indigenous
people had to face. During
an approval of Law 180/11
which was about banning
the construction of a Villa
Tunari-San
Ignacio
de
Mojos highway through a
Isiboro
Secure
National
Park
and
Indigenous
Territory, otherwise known as TIPNIS. President Evo Morales had decided to
resign from this decision because it was under the effect of unconvinced social
protests about lands and coca settlers who demanded the termination of this
Law 180. Therefore, he passed the Law 222 on a discussion in the TIPNIS. This
law was about getting the communities to accept the highway that was going
to go through their territories. This concerned the Indigenous people because
it was a procedure that violates their basic rights and that contradicted the
accomplishments that had been gained through an 8th Indigenous March in
2012. The Indigenous March was a protest towards the Bolivian governments
proposed highway through the TIPNIS. So far, there have been nine
Indigenous Marches, which were the protests against the proposal of President
Morales.
The Indigenous people had rejected the Law 222, because of certain
disputes that were: (1) the aim of the Law was to bond the controversial
dispute of the intangibility of TIPNIS with building of the highway, by

rejecting the intangibility of the area (Parellada 150-51). This meant that the
Indigenous people would automatically have to accept the construction of the
highway no matter what. (2) The law had been called a prior discussion,
however in reality the project had already been under governing development
for nine years. In addition, three more years of more construction in the areas
those were entering the north and south of TIPNIS. (3) The law had
established a some sort of sphere of application (Parellada 151) that
included the area of settlement located outside the indigenous territory, which
had been occupied by 17,000 coca producers who were the basic main
supporters of the highway construction. (4) The law lined out any participation
in TIPNIS organizations or decision making associations, stopping the
Indigenous people from indicating their communities in this process. (5) The
law also established a process that would be completely executed by, and its
results outlined and spread completely by (Parellada 151), the Ministry of
Public Works and the Ministry for the Environment.
The government had already made up a procedure in which the objective
of a discussion was to establish the best possible conditions for construction
of the first ecological highway in Bolivia [] (Parellada 151-52). This meant
that there was no more determining whether the highway would be
constructed or not. Now, however, the government had to consider in what
way to construct this highway.
Following approval of Law 222, the government soon enough approved a
support program for the TIPNIS communities. This had been funded by an aim
of assembling resources and gaining the territory with so-called gifts. These
were handed out during ceremonies, in which they found out that this state of
limbo would once and for all culminate if the Indigenous people accepted the
highway. If they do accept the project, it would bring them progress and wellbeing. The Naval Forces and the Special Drugs Control Force supported this
campaign. This had established firm control over many ways, such as the
rivers, the Church or other support associations, averting the sale of oil for
indigenous techniques, and blocking the area from organizations and people
that still opposed the highway.
The TIPNIS conflict comprised of a new era of relations between the
government and the indigenous people living in the lowlands. Even though the
seventh and eighth Indigenous Marches had formed conflicts they had, in the
end, been overcome by the different agreements and discussions. However,
this situation changed drastically in 2012 leaving the alliance between the

indigenous people and the government briefly demolished due to the


developments in and handling of this TIPNIS conflict.
Organizations Working on their Behalf:
There are many organizations that were working on their behalf. These
organizations help them by telling one another what their needs are. Some of
these organizations are the Indigenous Confederation of the Lowlands
(CIDOB), Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Organisation
of American States (OAS), and International Labour Organization (ILO). When
the government was making sure that there were no outcomes repeated in the
Ninth Indigenous March, the CIDOB got the indigenous people to sign some
agreements regarding to the program. The aim for these agreements was to
prevent them from supporting. During the 42nd General Assembly of the OAS,
several governments wanted to amend the statutes and regulations of the
IACHR. The IACHR has always attracted robust criticism from other human
rights organizations. To come to an end of it, the decision said that for 30
years there would be no harm or threats towards the IACHR. Bolivia and the
ILO has been partnered for more than a decade, since 1991.