By Bill Van Auken, WSWS.ORG, a socialist organization
Editor’s Note: We regret to have to publish this piece, as we support and admire the trajectory of President Morales, and the Bolivian people. Evo Morales has been a progressive in many critical ways, including his support for the environment which certainly outstrips anything a developed country leader has said or done. But this policy of cutting through a pristine and fragile ecosystem, of endorsing more farming in the Matto Grosso—the largest surviving rainforest (and “lung”) on planet earth, is misguided, even if expedient in the short-term given the narrow choices President Morales faces at the moment. (See the update at the foot of this piece.)
The government of President Evo Morales carried out a bloody crackdown Sunday against a march by indigenous protesters against the building of a new highway through their lands. Some 500 paramilitary police surrounded the encampment of the thousand or more marchers, including hundreds of women and children, firing teargas, beating the protesters with clubs and fists, trampling many and handcuffing them and throwing them face first onto the ground.
The assault killed a three-month-old baby, who died of asphyxiation from the teargas. Many others were injured, and at least 37 were reported missing, including a number of children.