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The TED of Tarija supports the racially motivated systematic persecution carried out by Walter Ferrufino

The children of Malinche

The racist newspaper "El País" of Tarija published a statement that the Guaranis of the Department of Tarija will not have a representative in the Departmental Legislative Assembly due to "their internal divisions"; the journalist who wrote the article, with a malice born of racism, explained that "Abraham Espinoza was recently arrested and the other Guarani group sought to take advantage of this situation and get one of their representatives nominated for the Assemblies". In addition, and to remove any doubt, the journalist went on to say that "Abraham Espinoza and Tomás Ararayay referred to themselves as Guarani captains but they also appeared to be divided".

Not only is this information racially motivated and worthy of the era of South African apartheid, it is also completely false, principally because the Guaranis of Tarija do not have the form of self-government known as a "captaincy". They function by means of their organizations (which all use the term "Assemblies of the Guarani People" or "APG") and these, in their turn, represent the communities which are in all cases the "fundamental sovereign units" representative of the Guarani people. A community leader is known as a Mburuvicha and/or a Captain. A Great Captain (Capitán Grande) is the leader of the corresponding APG, thus the use of the expression "captaincy" used in a racist way to conceal the organic organization of the Guranis.

This structure is part of customary law and is recognised in the Constitution. More simply, it is part of the uses and customs in effect in the original indigenous jurisdiction of the Guaranis. In addition to the foregoing, in the case of the APG Itika Guasu, is the fact that it is governed by an organic Statute which incorporates all of these matters and was approved unanimously in 2013 by all 36 communities.

This statute is ignored by Walter Ferrufino and is one which his kapangas try to "annul" by means of manifestly fraudulent and crude acts. This racist group resorts to artifices which are null and void but which confer on them a false appearance of legality using a team of lawyers with little professional skill but more than enough arrogance and impudence.

All of this is well known both by the racist newspaper and by the members of the Departmental Electoral Tribunal (Tribunal Electoral Departamental - TED) of Tarija. Some of the members of the TED, as in the case of Nolberto Gallardo for example, are not only aware of all of this but is also familiar with the organic functioning of the Guarani organizations. In fact this gentleman owes his position in the TED to the manipulation of the indigenous vote which facilitated his nomination.

There are at least two facts which the journalist has sought to deliberately conceal:

    a) If he took into account the Guarani customs and uses - which would certainly not be so extraordinary given that they are a constitutional right of the original peoples, that is, of the peoples who existed there prior to the arrival of the Spanish in America and independence from Spain - he would not be able to claim that there is a division amongst the Guaranis which is an obstacle to their representation. The truth is that those who make such statement, for reasons they will not admit, need for there to exist such a division.

    b) Abraham Espinoza was arrested for crimes which have absolutely nothing to do with indigenous jurisdiction but which concern his talents as a common extortioner and fraudster. He is not even a guarani, simply a mercenary at the service of Walter Ferrufino amongst others.

This was legally proven in the proceedings concerning the assault and looting of the headquarters of the Council of Captains of Tarija on 9th October 2014 and by the recordings legally carried out by the police of La Paz, which leave absolutely no doubt as to the nature and characteristics of his actions.

Walter Ferrufino mantains a group of 20 individuals contracted for at least the last two years, whose purpose is to harass the Guarani organizations using clearly mafioso methods such as: false incrimination, threats, intimidation, extortion and forcible cooption. To achieve their illegal objective they effect all kinds of false documents with which, and with the support of their own lawyers, they seek to usurp the legal personality of the organizations and their leaders.

According to various sources in Tarija, Entre Ríos, Palos Blancos, Villamontes and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, it is estimated that in the last year Walter Ferrufino has spent more than US$1.5 million on illegal activities.

The "modus operandi" of this racist group is based on psychological and physical intimidation, threats, falsification of documents, use of anthropological and cultural elements to cause terror and use of unlimited financial resources to manipulate the will of the prosecutors, judges, police officers, notaries and other authorities.

Walter Ferrufino boasts of having spent enormous sums of money to block the accounts of the APG IG and this fact is known to the Vice-Minister for the Interior, to whom Ferrufino has complained on repeated occasions that he has not achieved his objectives. The blocking of the accounts was part of a broader criminal manoeuvre to attempt to ransack the "Itika Guasu Investment Fund"

Racist actions take place in all the Guarani territories and always arise from the same group of individuals who act in an organized and systematic way in an operation of harassment and persecution which can only be characterised as racist crime with systematic persecution.

The Departmental Assembly

The APGs of the Department of Tarija convened in Yacuiba pursuant to their uses and customs and elected their candidates according to uses and customs on 5th March 2015.

The Departmental Electoral Tribunal was informed and received timely and proper notification of the existence of the said meeting but, notwithstanding this, it deliberately and with malice aforethought refused to attend the meeting.

This situation, however, is nothing new. In the prior legislature, the candidate Justino Zambrana was elected as a result of the personal intervention of Nolberto Gallardo, who imposed a candidate other than the one voted for by the assembly of Guarani organizations in what was a clearly illegal and racist act.

The racist newspaper has subtitled its article as "Authorities elected by the group of Tomás Araray", as if to imply that he is a caudillo and not a leader elected according to uses and customs. However, the newspaper provides information that betrays its own lie: the said group is made up of 90 communities of the Department of Tarija, in other words, practically all the communities in existence there.

The articulation of racist discourse is based on the deconstruction of the identity of the "enemy", in this case the Guaranis, but the same method has been used in various circumstances with Negros, Chinese and Jews. Racial hatred has its own mechanisms which tend to be repeated through history.

The Electoral Tribunal

The fact that the Electoral Tribunal of Tarija is completely corrupt, as well as being a model of arbitrariness and illegality, is not doubted even by Evo Morales who explained to the Guaranis the need for it to be completely dismantled... something which of course has not happened and is unlikely to happen.

Two rather brutal examples of this are enough explanation: The first is the letter which Nolberto Gallardo delivered in the name of the Tribunal to the regional candidate for the Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS), Carlos Cabrera, giving guarantees as to the legality of his candidacy which were eventually shown to be false.

The second is the failure to recognise and to comply with the judgement granting constitutional redress in favour of the former mayor and mayoral candidate, Teodoro Suruguay.

Both of these two acts are criminal and therefore should have led to the resignation or expulsion of those involved. This is so even if it would have led to the annulment of the electoral process given that if these acts have such a consequence, the basis for nullity does not disappear thanks to their concealment. This is the case both in constitutional law and in electoral practice worldwide.

The real cause for this situation is the rampant corruption within the Tribunal itself. Walter Ferrufino has told his friends and relations and even openly in Entre Rios, how much it has cost him to ensure that the Tribunal does not implement a decision which affects constitutional rights in the case of the constitutional judgement in favour of Teodoro Suruguay.

This mayor, who is very popular in the city, was the only person who could stop the illegal manoeuvring for the appointment (which is different from election), by the personal intervention of Walter Ferrufino, of mayor Nicolás Herrera Barca, a man who is just a lawyer and who, together with Eduardo de los Ríos and Jorge Alcoba, also a lawyer, comprise the technical team of the task force led by Walter Ferrufino, according to their own records.

What is described here is in reality the official policy of the Government of Tarija ever since Lino Condori assumed its leadership, always under the direction of the Executive Secretary of the Government, a man well known for his expressly racist views, Bass Werner.

The latter individual is solely responsible for the cancellation of the so-called bi-oceanic highway simply because it would have benefited the Guaranis. This correspondent has had access to the documents which evidence this decision which can only be understood from a racist perspective, irrational as the decision is in both, technical and economic terms.

Bass Werner and his colleague Mario Gareca preferred to throw overboard US$30 million rather than proceed with a highway project which, according to them, would favour the indigenous Guaranis, in an absurd decision which merits ranking in the history of racism in Bolivia and Latin America.

... But that would need another article.

[Source: By Irandey Tupapire, Correspondent of Radio Nizkor on indigenous matters, Tarija, 08Apr15]

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small logoThis document has been published on 23Apr15 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.