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Letter from the APG IG to the Minister of Hydrocarbons regarding the indigenous' right to consultation and government's proposal of a new law

Guaye (Entre Ríos), 18 January 2013

For the attention of:
Juan José Hernado Sosa Soruco
Minister of Hydrocarbons and Energy
Av. Mariscal Santa Cruz, esq. Calle Oruro
Edif. Centro de Comunicaciones La Paz, Piso 12
La Paz

Dear Minister,

Taking advantage of the meeting we have scheduled today with the Deputy Minister Franklin Molina and specialist Xabier Barriga, and which we assume you are aware of, we have decided to send you this letter so that it may be delivered to you by hand, with the express request that a copy of it be transmitted to the ministers responsible for planning what the press is referring to as the "Consultation Framework Law".

Regarding this issue, we wish to state for the record that we should be consulted on any project that could affect our rights, and specifically those attributable to our ownership of the TCO Itika Guasu, which as you know is a high-value area in terms of hydrocarbon exploitation. As such, we formally request that any drafts of the law be sent to us by the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and/or any other relevant governmental body.

Since we have been able to unofficially analyse government drafts relating to the consultation law, we would like to advise you that these are contrary to both indigenous law and the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court as stipulated in the Constitutional Judgement 2003/2010-R, which concerns our organization. We hope that these are merely working drafts prepared by officials without knowledge of the State Constitution and the indigenous law that is pertinent to us.

In regards to this situation, we would like to remind you that there can be no law, and therefore no consultation law, that is contrary to the State Constitution. Furthermore, the law must be consistent with the dispositions set out by this superior Court in the aforementioned Constitutional Judgement, a judgement that "extensively" addresses the norms of indigenous law and the obligations of the Plurinational State towards the legal and legitimate organizations that represent the indigenous peoples such as us.

Unfortunately, the repeated and systematic exercise of bad faith by the Ministry of Hydrocarbons regarding the right to consultation, which we have recorded on several occasions - accompanied by a practice on the part of the legal representatives acting on behalf of the Ministry, which could very well be described as racist - compels us to act in this way in order to protect our rights.

Minister, we look forward to establishing a mechanism that will permit the legal and effective exercise of our right to consultation regarding this law. Please regard this letter as formal notification of your responsibilities as a civil servant with respect to the application of constitutional judgements.

Your Sincerely,

Benildo Vaca
Member of the Board of Directors

Documental note:

This letter was delivered to the Deputy Minister of Energy Development, Franklin Molina Ortiz, who was accompanied by Rony Peña, Advisor to the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energy, and Xabier Eduardo Barriga Sinisterra, Director-General of Socio-environmental Management for the Deputy Ministry of Energy Development, during a meeting that took place at the APG IG headquarters in Entre Ríos on 18 January 2012 in the presence of the members of the Board of Directors and numerous Mburuvicha (leaders according to indigenous uses and customs).

In the meeting, the Legal Department of the APG IG formally notified everyone present of the Constitutional Judgement 2003/2010-R for the purpose of its implementation in accordance with the ruling of the Constitutional Court, and cautioned those present accordingly.

A notarized copy of the minutes of the meeting was drawn up by the Public Notary of Entre Ríos dated 18 January 2013.

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