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Bolivia: Former Minister Demands Investigation of Indigenous Repression

Bolivia's former Minister of Defense, María Cecilia Chacón, wrote a note on her Facebook account [es], which was later reproduced by mainstream media, breaking the silence almost one year after her resignation.

The young former minister left President Evo Morales’ cabinet only hours after news broke about the violent police intervention to the 8th Indigenous March in defense of the National Park and Indigenous Territory Isiboro Secure (TIPNIS in Spanish), on September 25, 2011.

Ms Chacón published this note just as Sacha Llorenti, former Minister of Interior, was appointed as permanent ambassador [es] to the United Nations (UN) based in New York City. During the police intervention to the indigenous march, Mr Llorenti was on duty as head of the police and as the authority directly responsible for safety.

María Cecilia Chacón's note on Facebook

María Cecilia Chacón's note on Facebook

Among the noteworthy parts, former minister Chacón said:

Ha pasado casi un año desde la represión vergonzosa en Chaparina, de aquel día de violencia cometida contra mujeres, niños. Y todo lo que allí sucedió permanece en la impunidad.

¿Qué es lo verdaderamente importante? ¿Quién  preparó el plan? ¿Quién lo propuso? ¿Quién lo autorizó? ¿Quién lo ejecutó?  ¿Quién aplaudió que se ejecutara “limpiamente y sin bajas”?

[…]

Importa todo lo que vimos, pero mucho más lo que no vimos. Fuimos espectadores de lo que se ejecutó, pero todavía no podemos ser testigos de una sincera voluntad gubernamental por enmendar el mal.

It's been almost a year since the shameful repression in Chaparina, that day of violence committed against women, children. And what happened there still remains unpunished.

What is really important? Who prepared the plan? Who proposed it? Who authorized it? Who ran it? Who applauded that it was implemented “cleanly and without casualties”?

[...]

Everything that we saw matters, but what we did not see, matters much more. We were spectators of what had happened, but we still are not witnessing a sincere desire from the Government to amend the damage.

Further down she adds:

El proceso de cambio no es monopolio de un partido o una élite de “iluminados”. La revolución, si es auténtica, no tiene partido, le pertenece a su gente. Nadie debe ser considerado “invitado” del proceso así como ninguno puede creerse más importante que otro compañero. Fuimos fuertes porque fuimos todos, codo a codo. Y ahora todos tenemos el derecho y el deber de defender algo que es nuestro, de luchar por rescatarlo.

The process of change is not the monopoly of one political party or an “enlightened” elite. The revolution, if authentic, has no party, it belongs to the people. No one should be considered an “invited guest” of the process, and no one can consider herself more important than another comrade. We were strong because we were all together, side by side. And now, we all have the right and duty to defend something that is ours, we must fight in order to rescue it.

Citizens reacted immediately on social networks and blogs, expressing support and demanding that authorities clarify the responsibility of officials and decision makers during the repression of the indigenous march.

Fausto, an anonymous netizen, commented [es] on the Rimay Pampa blog [es]:

Esta carta es la pronunciación más honesta, clara, incisiva, valiente, ecuánime, madura; sin retórica ni figuras ni requiebros pseudo-inteligentes.

Obró correctamente al alejarse del cargo para mantener intactas su ética, y principios.

Le agradecemos mucho exprese diáfanamente lo que el resto de los bolivianos conscientes quisiéramos haber expresado.

This letter is the most honest, clear, incisive, courageous, fair, mature statement; it is not rhetoric, fake or guided by pseudo-intelligent compliments.

She did the right thing in stepping down from her position, keeping her ethics and principles intact.

We greatly appreciate that she transparently expressed what the rest of conscious Bolivians would have liked to say.

On the other hand, the note was also criticised. Rocio Llobet (@rociolloret) [es] commented through her Twitter account:

@rociolloret: Tan sabia la ex ministra Chacón, sabía que la oposición iba a usar su carta, cuando el problema de fondo es otro

@rociolloret [es]: So wise was the former minister Chacón, she knew that the opposition was going to use her letter, when the real issue is another.

While Ingrid Barrientos [es] comments on the very same note published on Facebook [es]:

No estas sola, tu valentía, es la valentía de muchas de nosotras, tu coraje, lo hemos demostrado, y lo seguiremos haciendo, el impulso de Dignidad que has dado, es un punto importante, no somos ni de derecha ni de izquierda, sí queremos un cambio para nuestra Bolivia que parta de nosotros mismos!! Dignidad se la tiene o no, así no mas es.

You are not alone, your courage is the courage of many of us. We have shown your courage and we will continue to do so. Your push for dignity is an important point, we are neither on the right nor left, but we do want a change in our Bolivia that must start with ourselves! You either have dignity or do not, that's the way it is.

 

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