Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Report from Cochabamba: Dissidents Push Limits of Free Speech

Despite "the anti-capitalist discourse of Brother Evo," Pablo Regalsky charged that "foreign capital" still often plays a decisive role in Bolivia's development policies.

by Bill Weinberg, World War 4 Report
April 20, 2010

[World War 4 Report editor and WBAI host Bill Weinberg is in Cochabamba, Bolivia, for the World People's Conference on Climate Change. He plans to post daily on-the-scene reports.]

As the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (CMPCC) convened for a second day April 20 at Tiquipaya, outside the central Bolivian city of Cochabamba, Aymara indigenous leaders held their own dissident "Table 18" on social conflicts related to climate change. Barred by organizers from the official summit grounds on the campus of the University del Valle (Univalle), Aymara elders of the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Cullasuyu (CONAMAQ) and their allies convened the dissident forum in a Brazilian restaurant just off the campus.

Cleared of tables to make room for rows of chairs, the premises filled with pungent smoke as incense and coca leaves were ritually burned for the opening ceremony. With many drawn by the controversy, the unofficial Table 18 was as well-attended as the many tables held at the official proceedings on the campus--despite a contingent of UTOP, the national police anti-riot force, stationed at the restaurant's door. [...]

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