Some remarks regarding several news articles and statements by Andrés Soliz Rada

In light of several newspaper articles published in the press in Tarija, and more recently, some published by Bolpress undersigned by Andrés Soliz Rada, that mention the APG IG and Equipo Nizkor, we find ourselves obliged to clarify the following points:

1) Equipo Nizkor, Radio Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights have never received funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, nor from George Soros, and are organisations that have a different legal personality from that of "Human Rights", which entity is accused -as he himself put it- of having received this funding. On the other hand, it is known and appears not only in our documentation sites, but also on Wikipedia, that Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights have been sister organisations since their foundation, which fact has never been concealed.

2) In order to support his accusations regarding the issues of funding, Andrés Soliz Rada uses the webpage http://www.derechos.net/links/res/funds.html, which is part of a domain [derechos.net] that is dedicated to specialised information for human rights organisations and academic institutions and has absolutely no connection with the internal organisation and/or the funding of Equipo Nizkor or Derechos Human Rights. The information found on said page is an account of North American foundations that finance human rights programmes, particularly of North American organisations on the basis of which, it is not possible to deduce in any way that they fund our activities.

3) Equipo Nizkor is an international human rights organisation whose activities are legally recognised in Spain and Belgium. Its objectives are laid out in detail on our "about us" page of the documentation website, which is, moreover, a reference site in the Spanish language that has been included among the top 10 in the world in the specialised field of "human rights". It is the first among civil organisations not to be funded by a government. Radio Nizkor was the first online radio specialised in human rights to be created in the world. Derechos Human Rights is an organisation based in California, United States. We have never received funding from any government, nor from any company or corporation.

4) The agreement between us and the APG IG is perfectly legal and adequate in light of our objectives. We have advised the APG IG and we continue to do so in the specific fields of indigenous rights, international criminal law and civil liberties and, as in the case of any human rights organisation, our actions are protected, inter alia, by the "Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms", adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolution 53/144 on 8 March 1999.

5) It is false to state that the APG IG seeks to "veto the Extention of the Villamontes-Tarija Gas Pipeline (GTV)" and, despite this right to veto being recognised by the Bolivian Constitutional Court in its Constitutional Judgment 2003/2010-R of 25 October 2010 (notified to the APG IG on April 12 2011), the APG IG has not exercised this right.

6) The APG IG has never opposed the Villamontes-Tarija gas pipeline. What it claims and what also accounts for the standstill in negotiations are demands recognised by the Constitution of the State of Bolivia, and by its domestic legislation, and, recently, by the Constitutional Court in the exemplar judgment aforementioned in relation to indigenous rights. It is basically a question of the following rights: the recognition of the APG IG's property rights on the Itika Guasu Original Community Territory (TCO), legal recognition by YPFBT SA (corporate successor of Transredes SA) of the APG IG as an indigenous organisation, the right to consultation -which necessarily implies direct negotiation with YPFBT SA and not with the Ministry of Hydrocarbons (MHE)-, the recognition of pending liabilities, not covered by Transredes SA, which are duly documented, and, of course, the corresponding economic compensation.

7) The statement made by the current president of YPFBT SA, Luis Vincenti, and YPFB advisor, Luis Lafuente, according to which the negotiations are blocked because of a monetary claim by the APG IG for 20 million dollars, is entirely false. This statement, deliberately false, is part of the campaign denounced by the APG IG in its communiqué dated November 15 and 22, 2011, where the indigenous organisation explains the reasons for the blocked negotiations; the statement is also false that the APG IG included in its negotiation proposal said quantity.

8) Regarding the agreement signed between Repsol Bolivia SA and the APG IG on 29 December 2010, it should be mentioned that it constitutes an agreement between an indigenous organisation and the companies active in the exploitation of the Margarita gas field located on the Itika Guasu TCO, which is the property of the APG IG. This property right is recognised by INRA (Bolivia's National Institute for Agrarian Reform) and ratified by the Constitutional Court. It is, therefore, a "private agreement", which, for increased legal security, was duly registered before a notary public. There is no legal obligation for its publication just as there is no obligation for an easement contract or any other type of contract.

9) Mr. Andrés Soliz Rada may request from the APG IG at its headquarters in the city of Entre Ríos, O'Connor province, a formal and in-depth explanation of the terms of the agreement, which he has never done despite the fact that he knows the leaders of the organisation to whom he promised, in 2006, to provide his support in their conflict with Repsol SA. In this way, the APG IG will certainly explain to him that the State did not take part in the negotiations because the then-Ministry of Hydrocarbons and current president of YPFB SA, Carlos Villegas, informed them in a letter that it would not participate in the negotiations because they constituted a "matter between private parties", in other words, it was the Government that renounced being present in these negotiations, thereby leaving the APG IG defenseless in flagrant violation of articles 2 and 6 of the "ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries", which is part of Bolivian domestic law since July 11, 1991 by way of Law No. 1257.

10) Said agreement complies with the historic demands of the APG IG, which demands are no different from those of other indigenous organisations in Bolivia and other Latin American countries and from those provided for under international law and Bolivian domestic law, as well as specifically detailed by the Bolivian Constitutional Court in the Constitutional Judgment 2003/2010-R of October 25 2010, notified to the APG IG on 12 April 2011, to which a number of agreements on environmental damages between 1997 and 29 December 2010 should be added.

11) As a result of the above-mentioned agreement, the Itika Guasu Investment Fund was established as was communicated by the APG IG in a communiqué dated 15 March 2011 that was published on our documentation site and distributed in Spanish, French and English through our information lists on 7 April 2011. Said communiqué meets all necessary formal requirements from the point of view of financial practices, taking into consideration that it is a private fund, exclusively owned by the APG IG, and hence, any responsibilities must be dealt with internally and according to the Itika Guasu's uses and customs. This communiqué was "unknown" to the Bolivian media and particularly to the media in Tarija. Nevertheless, now it is being mentioned as if it had been a "secret" concealed by the APG IG.

The communiqué expressly clarifies that the Fund is property of the APG IG and that its administration and disposal depends on the "Council of Sages", a traditional institution of uses and customs. As such, the statement that Repsol SA administers the fund and "pays" the indigenous organisation on a monthly basis is entirely false.

12) The Fund is managed and advised by the Banco do Brasil, a banking and financial institution property of the Government of Brazil. This bank was chosen for being part of Mercosur and meeting the highest qualifications for financial guarantees, while no Bolivian bank met these requirements, nor was there a single Investment Fund in Bolivia similar to that established by the APG IG. Therefore, it is false to state that said Fund does not comply with the law.

13) It is clearly false to accuse the APG IG of "fundamentalism" in relation to its actions, as they have been and are carried out in the framework of a legal strategy in conformity with the rule of law, in defense of legitimate and legal rights, as was expressly confirmed by the Constitutional Court of the Plurinational State, and, according to its uses and customs.

14) It is clear that there is a campaign against the APG IG that is founded in a racist analysis according to which the APG IG's behaviour is "suspect" of undeclared intentions, that it puts the plurinational state in danger, and that the advice they receive has the illegal intention to "dismember" Bolivia.

15) Andrés Soliz Rada, among others, shares this interpretation with a discourse that leaves by the wayside, legality, indigenous rights and the Political Constitution of the State itself, and is ideologically poisoned by racism.

This discourse denies the indigenous communities - which preexist, as in this case, the state of Bolivia's very own existence -, any possible rational behavior, thereby denying indigenous peoples as citizens and also holders of rights, and therefore, condemns them to misery, to not have legitimate organisations to represent them but instead to maintain their state of slavery and servitude as is reflected in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights report "Captive Communities: Situation of the Guaraní Indigenous People and Contemporary Forms of Slavery in the Bolivian Chaco" of 24 December 2008.

Entre Ríos, Charleroi and Madrid, 27 December 2011
Assembly of the Guarani People of Itika Guasu and Equipo Nizkor

Donaciones Donaciones Radio Nizkor

Informes sobre DDHH en Bolivia
small logoThis document has been published on 03Jan12 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.