Senator Peredo outlines the characteristics of indigenous autonomies

June 30 (ABI) - Bolivian MAS senator, Antonio Peredo, marked out this Saturday the different treatment that the originario indigenous populations require in the altiplano, where they are the majority and co-govern, to those that live in the east, where they are a minority and need protection from the activity of petroleum companies.

“The inclusion of the traditions and customs of the originario peoples is the first element of their autonomy” that needs to be analyzed by the constituent assembly in order to be incorporated into the new constitution, affirmed the MAS senator, speaking to the agency, Telam.

Peredo affirmed that “in the highlands, the altiplano, there are large [rural] zones where more than 80% of the population is indigenous. In these territories, more than implementing legislation like the current one, we have to look at how they govern using their own traditions and customs”.

On the other hand, he explained that “in the lowlands [of the east], it is clear that [the originario peoples] are the minority. I don’t think there is a single municipality in which they are the majority”.

For this reason, added the senator, “we have to preserve their territories and give them guarantees that they will be protected” in the new constitution, “because it just so happens that these are the territories where we will find hydrocarbons, and then the originario groups are expelled”.

To give an example of an essential aspect of social, political and economic inclusion of the indigenous communities, Peredo pointed to the problem posed by property.

“In Bolivia, like in all Latin American countries, two types of property are recognized: public and private” signaled the senator, but he added that in Bolivia, “more than half of the population” do not fit into either of these legal frameworks.

He explained that a majority of Bolivians “work with communitarian property, which is recognized in words by the current constitution, but there is not a single law which says how it should be dealt with”.

“At the moment, the National Institute of Statistics says that the average annual income of campesinos is $50, no one can live off that, the campesino sector in Bolivia should be dead by now”, he said in an ironic tone.

He clarified that what this figure meant was that “another economy exists that is not registered nor recognized by laws, which creates a very large economic distortion in the development of the country”.

Peredo also explained that for this same reason, the second highest cause of incarceration of people in Bolivia is for estelionato, which is to say, selling something that does not belong to a person.

What happens is that when there is communitarian ownership of land and goods and an buy-sell transaction is carried out “there will always be a group of lawyers willing to put a campesino in jail in order to take money off them and create another form of corruption” said Peredo, given that the person that carries out the transaction will obviously not have a private title to prove that it is their property.

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