CONAMAQ, a federation of Bolivian highland indigenous peoples, has split into two parallel organizations after a bitter struggle. Is this the result of internal political conflict, or a government strategy to undermine opposition?
The general assembly of the Bolivian Workers Central (COB) has declared its support for the upcoming march to defend the Isiboro-Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS), contradicting the executive committee's position announced just last week. The dispute highlights how growing internal divisions within the COB have been intensified by the TIPNIS conflict.
Less than three months ago, indigenous protesters forced Bolivian president Evo Morales to sign a law cancelling the government’s proposed highway through the Isiboro-Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS). Now, with a pro-highway counter-march and a legislative strategy to amend or bypass the law, the controversial road project may be on the verge of resurrection.
Fifty-six judges of Bolivia's top courts, elected in a historic but controversial popular vote last October, were sworn in by President Evo Morales on January 3. The new judges, 50% women and 40% indigenous, have changed the face of Bolivian justice, but confront significant challenges of legitimacy and obstacles to implementing judicial reform.
After a week of polarizing rhetoric and escalating conflict, the government and indigenous groups protesting construction of the TIPNIS highway have begun negotiations. While the outcome of the process is uncertain, it’s even less clear whether the fractured political alliance between President Evo Morales and the indigenous groups that helped bring him to power can be repaired.