Federico Fuentes

Seven years after being launched by the Venezuelan and Cuban governments, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) has become an important voice on the global stage willing to stand up and denounce capitalism.

ALBA has grown to include eight Latin American and Caribbean countries (Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

espite the government reaching an agreement with indigenous protesters on all 16 demands raised on their 10-week march onto the capital, La Paz, the underlying differences are far from resolved.

On October 24, Bolivia’s Plurinational Legislative Assembly approved a new law banning the building of any highway through the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS).

See also:
Bolivia: Solidarity activists need to support process

The recent march in Bolivia by some indigenous organisations against the government’s proposed highway through the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS) has raised much debate among international solidarity activists.

Such debates have occurred since the election of Bolivia's first indigenous president, Evo Morales, in 2005 on the back of mass uprisings.

See also:
Bolivia: Rumble over jungle far from over

September 25 will go down as one of the darkest days in Bolivia since Evo Morales was elected as the country’s first indigenous president almost six years ago.

After more than 40 days of indigenous protesters marching, police officers moved in to repress those opposed to the government’s proposed highway that would run through the Isiboro-Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS).

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NGOs wrong over Morales, Amazon

Statements, articles, letters and petitions have been circulating on the internet for the past month calling for an end to the "destruction of the Amazon".

The target of these initiatives has not been transnational corporations or the powerful governments that back them, but the government of Bolivia's first indigenous president, Evo Morales.

See also:
Bolivia: Conflict deepens over Amazon highway plan

WikiLeaks' release of cables from the United States embassy in La Paz has shed light on its attempts to create divisions in the social and indigenous movements that make up the support base of the country’s first indigenous-led government.

The cables prove the embassy sought to use the US government aid agency, USAID, to promote US interests.

A March 6, 2006, cable titled “Dissent in Evo’s ranks” reports on a meeting only months after Morales' inauguration as president in December 2005 with “a social sectors leader” from the altiplano (highlands) region in the west.

Neoliberal policies “which have fed the growing political disaffection of Bolivia's majority poor, have helped fuel the country's rolling 'social revolution.'"

This was how a May 6, 2006, US embassy cable from La Paz recently released by WikiLeaks viewed the powerful wave of struggle that led to the election of Bolivia's first indigenous president, Evo Morales, in 2005.

This secret assessment came despite Washington publicly trumpeting neoliberal policies as the way to solve the problems of Latin America's poor.

The decision by leaders of the Sub Central of the Indigenous Territory and National Isiboro Secure Park (TIPNIS), to initiate a 500-kilometre protest march on Bolivia's capital of La Paz capital has ignited much debate about the nature of Bolivia’s first indigenous led-government.

The Sub Central of TIPNIS unites the 64 indigenous communities within the park.

See also
Poverty, inequality in Bolivia -- some stats

Speaking to CNN en Espanol on July 27, Bolivian President Evo Morales said “When presidents do not submit to the United States government, to its policies, there are coups.”

His comments are backed by attempts by the US and Bolivia’s right wing to bring down his government.

Recently released WikiLeaks cables prove the US embassy was in close contact with dissident military officers only months before a coup attempt was carried out in September 2008.

But the close relationship between the US and Bolivia’s military has a long history.

War on drugs

Recently released United States embassy cables from Bolivia have provided additional insight to the events leading up to the September 2008 coup attempt against the Andean country’s first indigenous president.

On September 9, 2008, President Evo Morales expelled then-US ambassador Philip Goldberg as evidence emerged that Goldberg and embassy officials had been meeting with several key civilian and military figures involved in an unfolding coup plot.

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