Bolivia cancels controversial Amazon highway

Oct 21, 2011
Amazonian natives women arrive to the Plaza de Armas square in La Paz, on October 20 after a two-month march from the Amazon against a government plan to build a highway through their ancestral homeland. President Evo Morales has announced he was cancelling the controversial plan.

Bolivian President Evo Morales announced Friday he was cancelling a controversial plan to build a highway through an Amazon ecological reserve that has triggered widespread protests.

Morales told reporters he had sent an amendment to Congress, controlled by government supporters, halting the plans for the road through the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS).

"Therefore, the issue of the TIPNIS has been resolved," Morales said. "This is governing by obeying the people."

Morales made the announcement just ahead of a meeting with representatives of some 2,000 who entered La Paz on Wednesday after a two-month march from their in the Amazon to press Morales to cancel the project.

The marchers, who set out in August and trekked 600 kilometers (370 miles) to the capital, were met as heroes as they entered the city in the high and made their way to the presidential palace.

About 50,000 people from three different native groups live in the remote territory in the humid Amazon lowlands.

Amazon natives also feared that landless Andean Quechua and Aymara people -- Bolivia's main indigenous groups and Morales supporters -- would flood into the road area and colonize their land.

The government has said it would be too expensive to build the highway around the preserve.

The Brazil-financed road was part of a network linking land-locked Bolivia to both the Pacific through Chile and the Atlantic through Brazil, a key outlet for Bolivian exports.

Morales, the country's first indigenous president, has come under tremendous popular pressure to end the project.

A police crackdown on a march against the highway that left 74 people injured in late September triggered widespread anger, a general strike, and the resignations of several top , including two ministers.

Explore further: Pact with devil? California farmers use oil firms' water

Related Stories

Bolivian natives enter La Paz after march from Amazon

Oct 19, 2011

Hundreds of indigenous people made a triumphal entry into La Paz Wednesday at the end of a two-month march from the Amazon to oppose the construction of a highway through their ancestral homeland.

Bolivia: Colonialism understood as a sickness

Feb 27, 2009

When Evo Morales, Bolivia's first president of Indian origin, was appointed in 2006 he initiated a "decolonising revolution". In a new thesis in social anthropology at the University of Gothenburg, Anders Burman examines ...

Brazil approves huge Amazon power plant

Jun 01, 2011

Brazilian environmental officials on Wednesday gave their blessing to construction of what will be the world's third largest hydro-electric plant and dam project to be built in the Amazon rainforest.

Recommended for you

Gimmicks and technology: California learns to save water

Jul 03, 2015

Billboards and TV commercials, living room visits, guess-your-water-use booths, and awards for water stinginess—a wealthy swath of Orange County that once had one of the worst records for water conservation ...

Cities, regions call for 'robust' world climate pact

Jul 03, 2015

Thousands of cities, provinces and states from around the world urged national governments on Thursday to deliver a "robust, binding, equitable and universal" planet-saving climate pact in December.

Will climate change put mussels off the menu?

Jul 03, 2015

Climate change models predict that sea temperatures will rise significantly, including in the tropics. In these areas, rainfall is also predicted to increase, reducing the salt concentration of the surface ...

As nations dither, cities pick up climate slack

Jul 02, 2015

Their national governments hamstrung by domestic politics, stretched budgets and diplomatic inertia, many cities and provinces have taken a leading role—driven by necessity—in efforts to arrest galloping ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.