The participatory rights of indigenous peoples have been at the center of conflicts over resource extraction, which have recently increased in number and intensity across Latin America. Using comprehensive empirical data about the Guaraníes’ participation in Bolivia’s gas sector, this study finds that competing claims regarding territory, property, participation, and decision making provide important explanations for contestations over consultation practices and legal norms in the country.
It argues that the main conflicts can be explained by:
the Bolivian state’s focus on directly affected communities and those with formally recognized land titles, something that clashes with the Guaraníes’ principle of “territorial integrity”
the state’s conviction that it holds a monopoly over subsoil resources, and the limited rights to participation that it is willing to grant as a consequence, which the Guaraníes reject; and
the dissonance between state customs and regulations and Guaraní uses and customs
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The GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies is an independent social science research institute based in Hamburg, Germany. Our mission is to analyse political, social, and economic developments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as global issues. As a member of the Leibniz Association, we are committed to the Leibniz principle of “theoria cum praxi”: science for the benefit of society.
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