AMAZON´S ECOCIDE, EVIDENCE OF DICTATOR EVO MORALES´ CRIME
Carlos Sánchez Berzain*
For several weeks, Bolivia has been suffering tropical forest fires that have already burned over 2.5 million acres along with its flora and fauna and these fires are far from being controlled. An ecocide with worldwide effects that could have, and should have, been avoided but one which was deliberately ignited and “legally” caused by Evo Morales who promoted and authorized the “slash and burn” and the “parceling” of the forest to expand the illegal coca leaf cultivation, implement the internal migration of people in order to change the socio-political map of the country, and grant benefits to underprivileged groups of his regime. The “Amazon´s Ecocide” in Bolivia is evidence of Evo Morales crime.
Ecocide is a neo-logism that means “the destruction of the environment, in a particular deliberate way”. An ecosystem is a “biological system comprised by a community of living organisms and the physical environment in which they inter-relate” and the suffix “cide” means “the act of killing”. Ecocide is, therefore, the act of killing an ecosystem, along with all living organisms that comprise it, as is exactly happening with the devastation produced by the forest fires in Bolivia, aggravated by the fact that Morales does not want to reach out and ask for international aid to put out these fires and rejects unsolicited aid, as he did with Chile´s President Piñera´s offer.
Bolivia is internationally considered a high-plateau (altiplano) country but it has over half of its territory comprised by tropical forests. Hydrographically speaking is part of the Pacific basin and three river basins; the Altiplano closed basin, the Plata basin, and the most important one which is the Amazon River basin.
The destruction of the environment was always part of Evo Morales´ activities whom for over 30 years, promotes and defends –with violence and death if needed- the implantation and expansion of illicit coca leaf cultivation as the raw material of cocaine and narcotics’ trafficking. The tropical area of Cochabamba was turned into a coca leaf harvester’s haven through the slash and burn and parceling of tropical forests. Illicit coca leaf cultivation which amounted to 7,500 acres and decreasing in 2003, has now grown to over 200,000 acres, because Evo Morales is the lifelong head of the coca-leaf harvesters´ unions that produce cocaine and it so happens is also the Head of State of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.
The expansion of illicit coca-leaf cultivation has taken Evo Morales to invade and destroy forestry reserves and protected areas such as the “Indigenous Territory and Isiboro-Secure National Park” (TIPNIS in Spanish), that is a protected area of Bolivia that was declared a National Park in 1965 and spans an area of approximately 3.1 million acres of the Cochabamba and Beni departments.
The ecocide has been proven though Evo Morales´ and his regime´s concrete actions, among these; 1) the passing of Law 741 on 29 September of 2015 through which he “authorizes the deforestation of up to 50 acres. . . for the pursuit of agricultural and livestock tasks”, 2) Statements made on 25 August of 2017 by Morales´ Vice-President, rejecting and condemning ecosystem protection efforts indicating that “the protected areas were made up by the Gringos to keep for themselves our natural resources for the day in which they would take charge of our country . . .”, 3) The issuance of Supreme Decree 3973 by Evo Morales on 10 July of 2019 which mandates that “deforestation is authorized for the pursuit of agricultural and livestock tasks in private and community lands in the departments of Santa Cruz and Beni . . . It is also decreed that slash and burn practices may be conducted in both of these departments . . .”, 4) On 16 July of 2019, the Under Secretary for Controlled Substances on his official report “admitted that there is deforestation and slash and burn of forest trees to allow for the expansion of the illicit coca-leaf cultivation in the TIPNIS Reserve”
In June of 2019, the National Coordinator for the Defense of Indigenous Territories, Natives, Peasantry and Protected Areas denounced “the encroachment, parceling, and settlements by settlers´ unions that do not belong to groups without land and who with the approval of the National Institute for Agrarian Reform” controlled by the regime, “are perpetrating an illegal invasion into ancestral territories and protected areas”. This type of situations is meant to enable for the establishment of population areas sympathetic to the regime with the goal of changing the socio-political and electoral map of the country, a mechanism that has been used in Cuba and other dictatorships.
The Friends of Nature Foundation (fan-bo.org) reports that “in the years between 2005 and 2018, over 17.75 million acres of tropical forestry have been burned in Bolivia. 71% in Santa Cruz, 21% in Beni. In 2018 the area burned in Beni added to 4.5 million acres”. This would further show that in his 14 years of holding power, Evo Morales and his Castroist Chavist dictatorship have made ecocide a recurrent practice for his own benefit.
*Attorney & Political Scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.
Published by Infobae.com el Sunday, August 25, 2019
“The opinions pblished herein are the sole responsibility of its author”
Translated from Spanish by; Edgar L. Terrazas, member of the American Translator´s Association, ATA 234680.