Damian Condori “We have sworn to defend the assembly”

Gabriela Ramos interviews Damian Condori from FUTPOCH, La Prensa

Damian Condori represents the campesinos of north and central Chuquisaca [United Federation of Originario People Workers of Chuquisaca, FUTPOCH] , and since the issue of the capital emerged has been vocal in his criticisms of the Inter-institutional Committee. Contrary to what people have said about him, Condori is in favour of discussing the moving of the state powers to Sucre, although he has always rejected the way in which the civic institutions have dealt with this issue, in insisting that the capital be discussed in the Constituent Assembly.

The leader expressed that he felt wounded and hurt by the multiple displays of racism towards the campesinos and warned that his sector would defend the assembly with their lives, which for them is a closely felt yearning that they have conquered and which they will not give up.

During these days, the campesinos have been accused of going against the capital. Is it true that you don’t agree with the demand coming from Sucre?

That is not true; it is just one more lie told by the oligarchy which only wants Bolivians to fight amongst themselves. Since the start we have said that we could agree with the moving of the powers to Sucre, because it is the capital of Bolivia, but we do not believe that this is the correct scenario, because we could lose the rope and the kid, as they say. What are we going to achieve by discussing the capital in the assembly? That we fight amongst ourselves like what is occurring now, for it to go to a consultation and afterwards each department goes to vote for its own interests - all of them want to be the capital - and in this situation, those of us from Chuquisaca will come out losing, including the judicial power [which is currently located in Sucre]. This issue has to be discussed, because it has already come up, but not in the assembly, rather over a table of dialogue. I believe that as chuquisaqueños we can obtain more benefits for the region if we opt for this path. The campesinos are asking for dialogue and that this issue not put in danger the assembly, a conquest that has cost us blood, which we will not give up.

But the argument of the Inter-institutional Committee is that by being the full capital, there will be more development in the region….

That’s a lie, if that was the case, then only a few parasites would benefit, not the impoverished people of this department, or are they trying to say that there will be jobs for us? We are not stupid.

How do you feel about the population of Sucre? Do you feel marginalised by the people?

No, no. It is not like that, at least that’s not the feeling that we have in regards to all the population, because there are conscious people who are here with us and support us, they help us and are not in favor of this issue of the capital. But we are very hurt, me personally, with those people who are mobilising to demand full capital. They have humiliated us, they have insulted us, they have treated us like sheep, as ignorant, as Indians: they have kicked us out of our own land, without thinking that they eat thanks to us, because we work the land. But we are not going to allow this to happen anymore, we also know how to think and if we have not come out to defend the assembly until now it is because we don’t want confrontation, but we know that this is what the rector [of the university] and the mayor of Sucre want. If we have taken a step backward, it is only so that we can take three, four steps forward, although who knows, it could be ten.

Does that mean that if necessary you will come out onto the streets to protest?

Yes, because we have that right, because what we want is not bad, we only want to defend our assembly, which is our conquest, it has cost the blood of campesinos from across all the country. We have sworn to defend the assembly and we will do it.

Translated from La Prensa

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