Bolivia and its New Rules for the Mining Industry

2016-09-09 06:46:47 / web@radiorebelde.icrt.cu / Translated by: JC Caballero

Bolivia and its New Rules for the Mining Industry

Álvaro GarcíaLinera, who is the vice-president of Bolivia, explained that there were some entrepreneurs that were under the facade of cooperative miners, wanted to hand over the mining resources of that sector to international enterprises.

Álvaro GarcíaLinera stated that the break of the working relationship between the Bolivian government and some cooperative minersis a consequence of the local entrepreneurs’ interests who are trying to benefit themselves from the rights granted to the people. They wanted to snatch the rights of the people.”

The Bolivian vice-president pointed out that there have been a social phenomenon, known as the splitting of class, where a sector has appears, along with a conflict position against the government while looking for privileges.

Phases of a Defensive Plan


Álvaro García Linera explained the five defensive phases which are being applied through decrees by the Bolivian government:
“Those mining areas that are not being used will go back to the Bolivian state again due to those regions were delivered to the real cooperative mining groups for the related production.” He explained.

“That small group of entrepreneurs use their workers without any kind of working protection and they are treated as second-category worker to generate their wealth.” Álvaro GarcíaLinera said.

“They hire the lands for the multinational corporations; therefore, that is not loving their nation, He pointed out. The second of the phases is the prohibition about the rent of lands which have been delivered for the nation´s mining production, while the third one is aimed at defending the working rights.” He said.

Álvaro García Linera stated that if the cooperative entrepreneur was no longer producing for the state and does not respect the worker´s working rights, then he/she would not be considered as a legal cooperative one given they would not be defending the nation´s values.

“There is a fourth decree that is about to discern between the enterprise and a real cooperative one by which a search of the cooperative will begin soon. The last rule is about prohibiting the use of dynamites or related materials in future social demonstrations.” the Bolivian vice president concluded.

Evo Morales´s words


Bolivia President Evo Morales


The president Evo Morales stated recently that his administration is willing to carry out a national debate with the cooperative miners, but there was not a permissive attitude for those ones who plan to sell the Bolivian´s mining resources to the big multinational corporations. We do know about the right-wing sectors´ destabilizing plansgiven they have been sending their main spokespersons to the United States.” He said.

“He called the nations of the region to join against the attacks of the right-wing sector. I trust the social movements and I do know that they will stand up due to the truth was shown to them by means of rights which were not fulfilled for them during right-wing governments.” He concluded.

According to the information given by the minister of government, Carlos Romero, there are 31 contracts signed with private enterprises of which their duration is 25 years and even unlimited in some cases.

A very likely Coup

Carlos Romero, who is the minister of the Bolivian government, presented many proofs about the attempt to carry out a coup recently and the violent protests carried out by the cooperative miners who killed the vice minister of government, Rodolfo Illanes.

Some hours later of the lynching of the government minister, Rodolfo Illanes, the “cooperative” Bolivian miners decided to suspend their protests and abandon the roads that they had kept blocked and returning to their towns which are throughout the Andes Mountain range. The conflict of these days that had existed between them and their government for the control of the minerals remain unsolved.

The use of cooperatives by transnational corporations to try privatizing and controlling the Bolivian mining resources is the real background of the recent violent protests and that is why it was accumulated a large quantity of explosives in Panduro region that is the main scenery of the clashes and is located some 185 kilometers from La Paz region which makes think about the very likely possibility of a conflict strategy that was planned to cause hundreds of casualties.

The mining is the second industry of mineral extraction in Bolivia, along with over a hundred of types of related materials. This nation is notable for the tin, silver, cooper, zinc, gold, precious stones, and other minerals like the one locally named as Bolivianita which is the only of its kind in the world, as well as the planet´s biggest lithium reserves.

Chronology of the conflict

The cooperative miners killed the vice minister of government, Rodolfo Illanes


August 10th. Miners, who were organized in local cooperative groups, begin the blockades of routes.

August 11th. The government minister, Carlos Romero, denounced that there are 5.200 protestors with explosives on six out of the nine Bolivian regions. The police detained some members and Federico Escobar, who is the leader of that sector, threatened to use Molotov cocktails to cause casualties among the police officers.

August 12th. The miners announced a truce in relation to the road blockades and asked the local authorities to start a dialogue.
August 13th. Ten miners are detained by being accused of attacking the police officers and public goods.

August 14th. The minister, Carlos Romero, warned that the cooperative miners were willing to kill in order to achieve the Bolivian executive to authorize them to sign contracts with national and international private enterprises about state-run deposits.

August 15th. The local Cooperative Federation from La Paz region gave a 48-hour ultimatum to order the release of ten miners jailed for having attacked the police.

August 17th. Carlos Mamani, who is the president of the National Cooperative Mining Federation, stated that the protests would radicalize if those detained for having attacked police officers were not released.

August 19th. The president Evo Morales proclaimed the reform that enables to create unions in the cooperatives in spite of the rejection of the miners. The head of state defends the right to organize in unions and it is supported by the local Central Obrera Boliviana (Bolivian worker Association) which has been facing the mining cooperatives.

August 23rd. The miners resumed the road blockade and the clashes left 27 wounded people, including 14 police officers, a dozen of workers and a journalist.

August 24th. Two miners named Severino Ichota and Fermin Mamani were killed by shoots on the roads from Kami, Sayari regions and the center of Cochabamba regions, during the clashes of demonstrator with the police offiecers.

August 25th. Rodolfo Illanes, who is the vice minister of Interior, travels to Panduro region to try to carry out a negotiation and he was kidnapped by the miners.

August 25th. The Bolivian government confirmed that Rodolfo Illanes was beaten to death, brutally, when he was kept kidnapped.
August 26th. The Bolivian authorities found Rodolfo Illanes´ corpse covered by a blanket on a road of the Bolivian high plane.

August 26th. The president Evo Morales considers the murder as unforgivable and declared a national mourning.


By Ana Teresa Badía



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