SHOCKING REVELATIONS IN BOLIVIA : A letter from Damon Gerard Corrie

Every Caribbean person who has benefitted from a Secondary Education will be familiar with the vile Éncomienda system´that was instituted in Spanish occupied Caribbean islands shortly after Colombus´s arrival in the Western Hemisphere. This heinous system allowed the Spanish plantocracy to ´own´ Arawak families, clans and even entire villages - if they had enough money, they then made their Arawak slaves work on their own lands for the financial benefit of the Spaniards until death freed them from this wretched state.

All in the past I hear you say, but you are wrong. According to a documentary produced in Bolivia - there are Arawakan Guarani Amerindians in Eastern Bolivia who are still living under a virtual encomienda system administered by the wealthy descendants of European Spanish descent.

This was allowed to continue un-opposed by all the Colonial and Neo-Colonial governments of Bolivia since the evil days of the Spanish conquest (because all of these prior & illigitimate governments were led by Spaniards and their descendants) .

Naturally, the heirs of the conquistadores can no longer punish by killing the Guarani indentured servants as they would like - but they continue to exploit them in every other way imaginable, rapes, beatings etc, these minority of modern day Spaniards who still parasitize the Amerindian territories of Bolivia sell one another vast areas of Guarani land - with any Guarani who dare to live on their own tribal lands being valued in the sales at $1,800 Bolivianos each ($1 US dollar = 7.50 Bolivianos), they provide the Guarani with second hand clothing (how philantrophic of them!) and see that they get just enough food to survive - so they can provide physical labour to keep their captors wealthy 7 days a week.

A video recorded interview with a lucky few Guarani who escaped their living hell documents this crime against humanity, and in it the wealthy land owners regurgitate familiar racist arguments (similar to a former Canadian Editor in a recent Barbados newspaper) to justify their actions saying and I quote: "The Guarani are hard workers, but if it were not for us forcing them to work they would become lazy since they have no ambition, they need us to civilize them".

It was not until the beginning of 2006 when Amerindian President Evo Morales was democratically elected President of the Republic of Bolivia that the liberation of the Guarani became a high priority on the agenda of the Amerindian Government of this beatiful country - home to the largest population of Amerindians on Earth (approximately 7 million pure-blooded survivors of the Spanish Holocaust).

Of course President Morales can only solve the problem though legal channels - and this has been an uphill struggle to rewrite a racist constitution so that Bolivia's rightful landlords have a body of laws to protect them from such exploitation - whilst the battles are on-going the war is not yet won, and the Guarani´s day of total liberation has not yet arrived.

Long live the Amerindian Government of Bolivia - the light that shines on in the darkness.

Damon Gerard Corrie
Writing from La Paz, Bolivia

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UCTP Taino News Editor's Note: Damon Damon Gerard Corrie is the Hereditary Chief of the Eagle Clan Lokono-Arawaks, founder & president of the Pan-Tribal Confederacy of Indigenous Tribal Nations, and a member of the Indigenous Caucus of the Organisation of American States working group to draft a declaration of Rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas - for which he is the official representative of the United Confederation of Taino People.

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