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Land, Territory and Evo’s “State of Paradox”: Anthropological Untangling

Thursday, November 13, 2014
12:00 AM
1636 School of Social Work

The talk centers on the “government of paradox” concept, attributed to contemporary States, such as Bolivia, that claim a socialistic posture while at the same time, adopt entangled relations with neo-extractive capitalism. Recent works on Indigenous Peoples, the environment and neo-liberalism focus on deepening inequality, tensions between government and Indigenous Peoples, and the privatization of natural resources. Another factor mediating these conflictive relations has to do with the availability of international instruments and the juridical stand of such documents that focus on, amidst others, Indigenous Peoples’s rights (consultation, informed consent, co-participation pertaining ‘development plans,’ etc.) Evo Morales, an elected government for two periods, has clear detractors amidst intellectuals and Indigenous peoples alike who question the State’s stand on neo-extractivism, most agreeing that to decolonize, a proposal submitted by both the State and Indigenous social movements, is turning into an unfinished project. Thus, the term neo-extractivism illustrates a sealed fate wherein Bolivia is seen as destined to implement inexorable forms of ecocidal exploitation of nature answering to never self-satisfied international markets’ high demands that eagerly pursue acquisition of oil, gas, hardwoods, soybean mono-crop agriculture, lithium, gold, and land tracks purchased or rented by transnational speculators. Within this systemic constraint, the Morales government seems to ask for a bit more of the piece, almost readjusting post-neoliberal neo-extractivism’s short-term benefits to improve the lives of its inhabitants. In the long-term, though, deforestation, oil/gas exploration, and GMO “Monsantization”, the large global warming culprits, will certainly deplete Bolivia’s fragile environment.

Neo-extractivism could accelerate a regional integration that would allow Brazil (China, India, the so-called BRICS) to have, in Bolivia, a step stone to reach the Pacific. The Bolivian Amazon, in particular, is one scenario to observe: interlinking transnational and “paradoxical” interests, the national government, the environment, recent international legal instruments that grant Indigenous Peoples consultation rights over their territories, and NGOs.

Guillermo Delgado-P. obtained his doctoral degree in Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin and his Licenciatura en Ciencias de la Religion, Philosophy and Etnología Americana at the Universidad Católica de Chile (Santiago). Since 1988 he lectures on Latin American Anthropology in the Anthropology Department University and the Latin American Studies Department of UCSC; He is a Member of the Crisis of Capitalism Research Cluster, of the HRI (Humanities Research Institute), and co-Chair of the Indigenous Research Centre of the Americas, IRCA, University of California Davis. He was Editor of the on-line academic journal, (2001-2011).

From 1989 to 1997 he served as an editor and Board member of the non-profit SAIIC-Abya Yala News para los Derechos Indígenas de Meso&Suramérica (Oakland, California). From 1994 to 2003 he was in the Steering Committee of the CLRC (Chicano/Latino Research Center, UCSC). He is a founding member of the Indigenous Research Center of the Americas, IRCA at UC-Davis. He was a member of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations (1990-1992) He was elected to the EC of the Latin American Studies Association, LASA (2006-2009), and recently he served as Chair of the LASA Bolivian Section. (2012-2014).

Cosponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

Guillermo Delgado-P, Anthropology Department, University of California, Santa Cruz