Solidarity with Pablo Solón & Rafael Archondo
Posted on Thu, 07/13/2017 - 5:26pm
As community, labor, and human rights organizations in the United States, representing hundreds of organizations in over 20 states and territories, we call for solidarity with Pablo Solón and Rafael Archondo, two Bolivian activists facing potential criminal charges. The charges are for allegations dating back 6 years (see background below) and could go as far as imprisonment. We have worked closely with Pablo Solón for a number of years to support people’s movements for climate justice at a global level.
These charges for incidents years ago come in the wake of his recent outspoken critiques of two hydro-electric megaprojects El Bala and Chepete in the Amazonian region in Bolivia. On July 11th, 2017, Pablo Solón made a formal complaint to the Ministry of Justice and Transparency, the same Ministry that is accusing him, asking them to investigate two contracts between the public state electric company ENDE and the Italian consultancy firm Geodata. Geodata's own studies have shown that the projects are economically nonviable and yet they are recommending their implementation.
In the coming days, Pablo Solón will be summoned to make his first declaration before the prosecutor and there is a small chance he may even be put into preventative detention. It is important to mobilize solidarity as quickly as possible.
We call on the Plurinational State of Bolivia to withdraw its accusations against Pablo Solón and Rafael Archondo and to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ right to Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) about major development projects such as the El Bala and Chepete dams in their territories, as required by the Bolivian Constitution and according to ILO convention 169 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- Solidarity with Pablo Solón and Rafael Archondo: Drop the Charges!
- The dams of El Bala and Chepete are nonviable and destructive
- Investigate the contracts between Geodata and ENDE
- The government of Bolivia must hear the voice and the spirit of the river
Take Action Today! Let the Bolivian government know we are watching & we stand with Pablo & Rafael
- Sign this petition to send an email to the Plurinational State of Bolivia, to the Bolivian Embassy in DC and the Bolivian Consulates in NYC, Miami, Los Angeles, Maple Grove MN and Houston TX. You can also contact them by phone to express the key messages above: https://bolivia.visahq.com/embassy/united-states/
- Solidarity photos: Download and Print this poster (see below), take a photo with it and post on the Focus on the Global South website, on your Facebook and Twitter accounts, tagging @MinJusticiaBol and @Minenergias and @evoespueblo, and use the hashtags #WeAreWithSolon and #StopElBalaChepete. Please also post on the Fundación Solón Facebook.
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Indigenous Environmental Network
Climate Justice Alliance
Labor Network for Sustainability
US Solidarity Committee with the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB)
Corporate Accountability International
Pablo Solón is a close friend and ally to people’s movements around the world. He is currently the Director of Fundación Solón, former Executive Director of Focus on the Global South, and former Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations (UN). According to Focus on the Global South:
“Solón resigned as Bolivia’s UN Ambassador in June 2011, and was succeeded by the Deputy Permanent Representative, Rafael Archondo. Archondo a very well known journalist, served as the interim representative for 14 months, until Sacha Llorenti, who was Minister of Government in September 2011 during the repression of the indigenous peoples’ march in defense of the National Park and Indigenous Territory of TIPNIS, was appointed as the new UN Ambassador. The Vice Ministry of Transparency and Anti-Corruption has now decided to bring criminal charges with jail sentences of up to 4 years against Solón and Archondo, alleging that Solón “illegally appointed” Archondo and that Archondo committed the crime of “prolonging functions.” Both the accused have publicly responded showing that Archondo was appointed by the President of Bolivia as Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN and that he did not prolong in his functions.”
The El Bala and Chepete dams are a long standing controversy for Indigenous groups in the region. According to this recent article in NACLA:
Since Bolivia already has the capacity to produce the electricity it needs for domestic use, the energy generated by the new dams will be used almost exclusively for export, primarily to neighboring Brazil and Argentina. In fact, Chepete/ El Bala is the centerpiece of the Morales government’s ambitious $27 billion program to develop 35 hydroelectric plants (including 23 megadams) throughout the country by 2025, that will generate 11,000 mw of electricity, including at least 8,000 for export…
For their part, indigenous groups in the affected zone, represented by the Amazon Defense Coordinating Committee (the “Coordinadora”), reject the newly-promised consulta as “too little, too late.” They are planning a popular initiative to challenge the project legally before Bolivia’s Constitutional Court…
At the same time, the Coordinadora has proposed a national referendum on the Chepete/ El Bala megadams. “The problem of the dams is not only ours, but a problem for all Bolivians because these national resources belong to all of us,” says leader Valentin Luna. “And who will pay this multi-million dollar debt? How strategic is this project when the world is going in another direction?”
More background on Fundación Solón’s analysis of the El Bala / Chepete dams: https://woborders.blog/2017/07/04/pablo-solon-el-bala/
Video: What do we know about El Bala and Chepete? (with subtitles in english)
Video featuring popular resistance to El Bala / Chepete dams: