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Territories and citizenship: The revolution of the Chiquitanos

Territories and citizenship: The revolution of the Chiquitanos
12 pages

Cáceres, Eduardo

Publication date
14 Jun 2008

Oxfam International

Research report

The Chiquitanos are an indigenous people living in lowland Bolivia. They have suffered exclusion and discrimination under successive governments since the colonial era. In the 1980s, the Chiquitanos mobilised in response to neo-liberal reforms which put increased pressure on indigenous territories. Political decentralisation in the 1990s created impetus and political opportunities for such indigenous movements. Water privatisation and rising unemployment in 2000-01 led to political unrest throughout Bolivia, particularly amongst indigenous groups. Since 2003, mobilisation in demand for political change has reformed the basis of political participation and representation. This has resulted in the election of several indigenous people to high-level government positions, and significant directional changes in social and economic policy-making. This paper describes the Chiquitano struggle for land rights and political representation, analyses the diverse catalysts for this radical shift in Bolivian politics, and reviews the initial achievements of - and challenges for - Bolivia's new government.

KeywordsLand rights, Bolivia