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Native Protesters Walk 300 Miles To Stop Amazon Highway

Native Protesters Walk 300 Miles To Stop Amazon Highway

 

Frustrated with the Bolivian government’s approval of a 190-mile highway that will cut through the heart of the Isiboro-Secure Indigenous Territory and a wildlife preserve, hundreds of Amazonian Indians have begun a month-long protest march to protect the environment and their right to self-governance.

More than 500 activists from a coalition of indigenous groups began a protest march in the Amazon city of Trinidad last week, reports Mongabay. The protestors plan to walk 310 miles from the lowlands to the Andean highlands of La Paz.

President Evo Morales, claims to support indigenous rights and the protection of “Mother Earth,” but says that the road is essential for national integration and modernization. Earlier this year, Bolivia passed its own la Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra, or “Law of Mother Earth,” as part of a complete restructuring of the Bolivian legal system following a change of constitution in 2009.

But the Washington Post reports construction of the road could lead to the destruction of 2,300 square miles (5,950 square kilometers) of rainforest by 2031.

“This march will end in La Paz, so that the government understands and thinks about changing its attitude and changing the route of the highway project,” protester Fernando Varges told Al Jazeera News.

According to the BBC, “environmental groups and indigenous activists say the road will open the region up to illegal logging, as well as settlement by farmers from the highlands who grow coca leaf – the raw material for illegal cocaine.” The Washington Post also reported that  Bolivia’s Environmental Defense League (LIDEMA) believes the highway is simply a pretext for oil exploitation in the rainforest.

Related Reading:

Bolivia’s President Goes On A Hunger Strike

Bring Indigenous Voices Into The Conversation About Climate Change

Oil Pipeline Threatens Isolated Tribes In Peruvian Rainforest

Image Credit: Flickr – jennifrog

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59 comments

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11:23PM PDT on Apr 21, 2013

This is horrible...find another route. A non invasive one!!

3:58PM PDT on May 12, 2012

Find another way.

1:39PM PDT on Apr 27, 2012

noted

10:12AM PDT on Apr 27, 2012

Thank you for sharing!

7:43PM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

All my best wishes to these incredible &
inspiring people. Your bravery is touching
and an example to be held up for the world
to see. Thanks!

10:42AM PST on Mar 7, 2012

South America (except for a few renegades like these Bolivian politicians) has become a far more environmentally aware and advanced place than backward North America since all its countries had their united populist revolution and threw out World Bank/IMF economic enslavers and the US backed dictators. Prior to that North America had South America oppressed under a greedy economic club and US corporations were busy pillaging and raping South American environments. If not for South America's populist revolution it would have ended up destroyed like other areas of the world that have been wrecked by USA, Canadian and Asian greed.

7:18AM PST on Mar 7, 2012

"Modernization" is such a dangerous word. Along with it comes exploitation by oil companies and the consequent diminished sovereignty of Bolivia.

9:19AM PST on Dec 3, 2011

Thanks.

8:46AM PST on Nov 29, 2011

good luck!

9:56AM PST on Nov 27, 2011

I hope they succeed in keeping this highway out of the rainforest.

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