Bolivian Indigenous Groups Protest Highway Construction

Bolivia map detail from "The World" iPad app


Indigenous groups in Bolivia have begun a march from Trinidad to La Paz, a journey of over 300 miles, to protest a highway now under construction that will bisect a biodiverse rain forest region, reports the BBC. The protestors reside in the Isiboro-Secure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS) in the west-central region of Bolivia, and believe the highway will result in deforestation and development. Bolivian President Evo Morales has accused the United States of supporting the protestors. Revisit these National Geographic magazine articles offering background on the issues:

  • Alma Guillermoprieto reports on changes in Bolivia in recent years, most strikingly the rise of Evo Morales, the first Indian president, in Bolivia’s New Order (July 2008). She recounts the rocky history of the country, including rule by the Spanish conquistadores, deadly labor camps, a corrupt military elite, and battles over coca production. Photos of the Altiplano by George Steinmetz, who recounts an unexpected plane ride with Morales.
  • What is the effect of roads in a rain forest? In Last of the Amazon (January 2007) Scott Wallace explores the development of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil. He reports: “Brazil has become one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases. The danger signs are inevitable. All of it starts with a road.” Find out how much of the Brazilian rain forest has been cut down and why the original purpose of the roads, logging, is not the most destructive element. With photos by Alex Webb.

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