The first indigenous autonomy is born in Bolivia

The Multi-national State of Bolivia approved the creation of the Guarani autonomous indigenous and aboriginal farming community of Charagua Iyambae, the first one in the country

 

The Guarani population of Charagua Iyambae offically became Bolivia’s first autonomous indigenous and aboriginal farming community (AIOC), through the citizens’ vote and after years of fighting to regain self-governance and the territory. The new body responds to the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to the Political Constitution of the Multi-national State of Bolivia (2009).

The process began on December 6, 2009, when the Guarani people living in the municipality of Charagua, with 74.424 km2, determined by referendum their will become an Indigenous Autonomy. An assembly made up of representatives of different communities drafted a statute of autonomy that was adopted by referendum on September 20, 2015. After that, the 46 authorities of the new self-government were elected through different procedures based on the habits and customs of the Guarani nation.

Thse 46 representatives took office on January 8, 2017, in a historic event both for the indigenous peoples and the Bolivian State. The great Capitan of Charagua Norte (one of the four sectorial captaincies), Ronald Andrés, stated that “we are burying an excluding and discriminatory system to offer an alternative for all indigenous peoples in the world", and he added that "the indigenous autonomy begins in Charagua for Bolivia, for Latin America and for the world”.

 

Communal democracy

From now on, the Indigenous Autonomy shall be governed by a new system of governance based on the consensus of the community assembly and no longer on the direct vote typical of representative democracy. It shall be composed of three bodies: a Collective Decision Making Body called Ñemboati Reta, made up of 27 assembly members; a Legislative Body, Mborakuai Simbika Iyapoa Reta, with 12 members and, lastly, the Executive, Tëtarembiokuai Reta, with six. 

Charagua Iyambae is the first of 34 self-governance procedures currently in place in other communities, and it will certainly serve as an example for the potential conversion of those peoples. For the time being, three other indigenous autonomies, Raqypampa, Uru Chipaya and Gutierrez, have approved their statutes and will soon join Charagua. 

 

 

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