Second Indigenal Congress - The challenge of this century: Indigenous unity of the urban and rural ayllus

Today’s challenge for all Aymaras, Quechuas, Guaranies, Chiquitanos…. from the countryside and cities, is to achieve indigenous unity in order to once retake the SARÄWI (path) of our ancestors - through the realisation of the SECOND INDIGENAL CONGRESS - which was truncated by the process of the ’52 revolution that led us down the wrong path; one removed from our visions and which, above all, has harmed us in the process of unity based on our identity of jaqis or runas of the ayllus and markas for Qullasuyu-Tawantinsuyu, by dividing us into simple social classes removed from our social and cultural identity.

Why is the realisation of the Second Indigenal Congress a necessity?

The Aymaras, Quechua, Guaranis….. and other indigenous peoples, together constitute more than 85% of the population of this country, although due to the loss of identity of many indigenous people, the 2001 census says that we are only 62%. However, this indigenous majority has territorialised all the country, we have filled all the principal cities, all the borders and including other cities of South America, North America and Europe.

The indigenous men and women of the countryside and the cities are at the same time professionals, students, teachers, unionists, artisans, workers, campesinos, unemployed…. And we continue surviving despite more than 514 years of colonialism, of subjugation, oppression, plunder, racism, segregation, supplanting, exclusion, genocide etc.

The imposition of union and other forms of organisations, beginning in 1952, even though they were instruments of struggle for the just demands of each sector in their time, such as was the case of the Bolivian Workers Central, which constituted during some historic stages of the country, the maximum force and representation of the majority sectors, nevertheless represented the lack of an adequate reading of the reality of the indigenous majorities, and a full identification with it, demonstrating that the Aymaras, Quechuas, Guaranies… have not achieve our aspirations.

Nevertheless, through the ayllus and markas - as much in the rural as in the urban areas - a reconstitution of indigenous authorities has begun, including political parties, etc.

But until this moment, millions of indigenous people in rural and urban areas do not have an entity that unites us, which coordinated with all the indigenous sectors and struggles, which works for the benefit of everyone and for all the peoples and organisations using this identity, and which can truly assume the role of representation. In reality, what exists are sectorial organisations such as the CSUTCB, CONAMAQ, CIDOB, CSCB, FNMCB-BS, which do not exactly represent this 62% of the population which is indigenous, given that the majority of indigenous people in Bolivia live in urban areas.

Faced with this vacuum of a powerful indigenous representation in Bolivia-Qullasuyu, today, more than ever, it is necessary to organise the Second Indigenal Congress, whose principal objectives will be:

* Form a single indigenous organisation at the national level
* Elect a national leadership with representation of all the indigenous peoples and sectors, from the countryside and the cities.
* Consider and approve political-ideological, social and economic positions, amongst others

The Indigenous Forum

The Indigenous Forum, made up by the free participation of amawt'as, investigators, professionals and indigenous investigators, has been carrying out diverse actions in order to facilitate the organisation of a Second Indigenal Congress, which in the next few days will begin with a campaign to collect signatures for the convocation of the Second Indigenal Congress, in order to bring together the representatives of all the indigenous peoples of Bolivia, from rural and urban areas.

Chukyawu-Qullasuyu, June 25, 2007.

Zenobio Quispe Colque, Coordinator of the Indigenous Forum

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