Letter from Pablo Solon on the TIPNIS Highway Controversy

GJEP has just received this letter from Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s former Ambassador to the United Nations and chief climate negotiator,  regarding the controversy swimming around the TIPNIS highway, and the response of the Morales administration to popular protests.

— the GJEP team

September 28, 2011 (Español debajo)

President and Brother Evo Morales

Since 2006, Bolivia has shown leadership to the world on how to tackle the most profound challenges of our time. We have achieved the approval of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation in the United Nations and promoted a vision for society based on Vivir Bien (Living Well) rather than consuming more.

However there must be coherence between what we do and what we say. One cannot speak of defending Mother Earth and at the same time promote the construction of a road that will harm Mother Earth, doesn’t respect indigenous rights and violates human rights in an “unforgiveable” way.

As the country that initiated the International Day of Mother Earth, we have a profound responsibility to be an example on the global stage. We cannot repeat the same recipes of failed “developmentalism” that has already brought the relationship between humanity and Mother Earth to breaking point

It is incomprehensible that we promote a World Conference on Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations in 2014 if we don’t lead the way in applying the principle of “informed, free and prior consent” for indigenous peoples in our own country.

The Eighth Indigenous March has some incoherent and incorrect demands such as those related to hydrocarbons ant the sale of forest carbon credits that look to commodify Mother Earth (known as REDD). However their concern for the impacts of the construction of this road is just.

Thousands of the delegates of five continents who participated in the first World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth are deeply upset by the Bolivian government’s actions.

The conflict in TIPNIS should never have happened. Greater physical integration of the country is necessary, but does not need to go through the “Indigenous Territory and National Park of Isibore Secure” (TIPNIS). Obviously building a road that doesn’t go trough the park would be more expensive, but trying to save $200 million or $300 million dollars at any social and environmental cost goes against the very principles of the “Living Well”.

In order to stop the manipulation of the Right who wish to use this protest to return to the past, we must be even more consistent in defending human rights, indigenous peoples’ rights and the rights of Mother Earth.

It’s not too late to resolve this crisis if we suspend permanently the construction of the road trough the TIPNIS, bring to justice those responsible for the repression to the indigenous march, and open up a broad and participatory national and regional debate to define a new agenda of actions in the framework of the Living Well.

— Pablo Solon

Septiembre 28 del 2011

Presidente y Hermano Evo Morales,

Desde el 2006 Bolivia ha mostrado liderazgo al mundo en entorno a los desafíos mas cruciales de nuestro tiempo. Hemos logrado la aprobación del Derecho Humano al Agua y el Saneamiento en las Naciones Unidas, e impulsado una visión de sociedad basada en el Vivir Bien en vez del consumismo.

No obstante, debe haber coherencia entre lo que decimos y lo que hacemos. No se puede hablar de defensa de la Madre Tierra y al mismo tiempo promover la construcción de una carretera que hiere a la Madre Tierra, no respeta los derechos indígenas y viola de manera “imperdonable” los derechos humanos.

Cómo país impulsor del Día Internacional de la Madre Tierra tenemos la gran responsabilidad de dar el ejemplo a nivel mundial. Nosotros no podemos repetir las recetas del “desarrollismo” fracasado que ha llevado a la relación de la humanidad con la Madre Tierra a un punto de quiebre.

Es incomprensible que promovamos la realización de una Conferencia Mundial de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Pueblos Indígenas para el 2014 si no somos vanguardia en la aplicación de la “consulta previa, libre e informada” a los pueblos indígenas dentro de nuestro propio país.

La Octava Marcha Indígena tiene planteamientos incoherentes e incorrectos en relación a temas como hidrocarburos y la venta de bonos de carbono de los bosques que mercantilizan la Madre Tierra (conocido como REDD). Pero su preocupación por la construcción de la carretera es justa.

Miles de delegados de los cinco continentes que participaron en la Primera Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático y los derechos de la Madre Tierra están profundamente contrariados por la posición del gobierno de Bolivia.

El conflicto del TIPNIS nunca debió haber existido. La integración caminera es necesaria pero no a través del “Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Secure” (TIPNIS). Es cierto que será mas caro construir una carretera que no va a través del TIPNIS. Pero tratar de ahorrar 200 o 300 millones de dólares sin tomar cuenta los costos socio ambientales es ir en contra de los principios del Vivir Bien.

Para cerrarle el paso a la derecha que quiere instrumentalizar la protesta para retornar al pasado debemos ser mas consecuentes que nunca en la defensa de los derechos humanos, los derechos de los pueblos indígenas y los derechos de la Madre Tierra.

Aun es posible resolver esta crisis si se suspende definitivamente la construcción de la carretera a través del TIPNIS, llevamos a la justicia a los responsables de la represión a la marcha indígena, e iniciamos un amplio proceso participativo de debate nacional para definir una nueva agenda de acciones en el marco del Vivir Bien.

– Pablo Solón

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Politics

0 Responses to Letter from Pablo Solon on the TIPNIS Highway Controversy

  1. Eugenia

    BOLIVIA WAKE UP! Solón that supported so much another liar OPEN YOUR EYES!!!

    TIPNIS has arrived to La PAz and still awaits to have a space on the tight presidential agenda. These people is a great example not only to other Bolivians, but to the WORLD, on what it means to really love your environment and protest so your rights can be respected.

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