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Derechos Donating Member (892 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:46 PM
Original message
Big win for indigenous rights in Bolivia
The APG IG Announces the Beginning of the Financial Activity of the Itika Guasu Investment Fund

The Assembly of the Guaran People of Itika Guasu (APG IG) announced that March 11th, 2011 marked the beginning of the financial activity of the"Itika Guasu Investment Fund", launched with an investment amount of 14.8 million dollars.

The Itika Guasu Investment Fund was approved by the assembly of the APG IG for a period of 10 years renewable and its investment base is mainly sovereign and corporate debt of the highest credit rating. The fund will be administered by a "Council of Sages" appointed according to Guaran customs and uses, and its legal representative is the current President of the APG IG, Never Barrientos.

The Banco de Brasil has accepted to undertake the management of the fund and it will provide its financial advice on a long term basis, having been chosen for having a solid Bank solvency and assets security.

This fund results from the "Agreement of Friendship and Co-operation between the Assembly of the Guaran People of Itika Guasu and Repsol YPF E&P Bolivia SA", approved by the General Assembly of our organization on December 1st, 2010 and signed before a Notary Public on December 29th, 2010.

This agreement was reached on October 1st, 2010 in Santa Cruz de la Sierra between high representatives of Repsol Bolivia S.A. and British Gas (BP), on the one side, and APG IG legal representatives on the other, and it subsequently received the endorsement of E&P, representative of British Petroleum. This agreement is the product of lengthy negotiations that were initiated in the middle of the month of July 2010 with representatives of Repsol S.A. and Repsol Bolivia S.A. These negotiations marked the end of a long standing conflict between the APG IG and the oil corporation, which began with the establishment of the Chevron and Maxus SA companies in 1997 in the Original Community Territory of Itika Guasu, property of the APG IG.

The legal and financial advice for the implementation of the Agreement, as well as the financial negotiations and the establishment of the "Itika Guasu Investment Fund", were led by Gregorio Dionis, President of Equipo Nizkor, and by members of this organization who are specialized in international commercial and financial law, as well as indigenous law, and results from a formal agreement between the APG IG and Equipo Nizkor from 2006, which was ratified and extended by the Assembly on December 1st, 2010.

The "Itika Guasu Investment Fund" is the first such fund to exist for an indigenous organization in Bolivia, and according to solvent financial sources, it is also the first in Latin America. It was created by an agreement that recognizes all of the demands of the APG IG, including: legal recognition, the recognition of their customs and uses, the recognition of the Original Community Territory (TCO), the recognition of international law relating to indigenous law and international human rights law, the recognition and evaluation of environmental damage by way of independent audits to be carried out on a regular basis throughout the duration of the contract, the coverage of damages by valid and effective insurance policies, as well as the guarantee of the principle to return the land to its original state by the end of the contract.

The financial income yielded by the "Itika Guasu Investment Fund" will be invested prioritarily in the areas of Health, Education and Housing, as well as in productive projects that allow the communities constituting the APG IG to engage in profitable activities.

The carrying out of these activities was regulated by the General Assembly of the APG IG on December 2nd, 2010 and the plan for new activities relating to health and control of the territory is currently under budgetary elaboration and implementation to be carried out by the Board of the APG IG.

http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/bolivia/doc/fund.html

Never Barrientos is the President of the APG IG and his emotional statement can be read here http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/bolivia/doc/apgig14.html
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 02:40 PM
Response to Original message
1. Well, I hope they have REALLY GOOD lawyers and auditors for followup on this.
I don't fully understand what-all parties are involved, but if BP is involved, we KNOW they cannot be trusted. Chevron is mentioned (and we also know what they've done to the Indigenous in Ecuador) but I don't think it's party to this agreement.

---

Does anybody understand this tangled history?

---

"This agreement was reached on October 1st, 2010 in Santa Cruz de la Sierra between high representatives of Repsol Bolivia S.A. and British Gas (BP), on the one side, and APG IG legal representatives on the other, and it subsequently received the endorsement of E&P, representative of British Petroleum. This agreement is the product of lengthy negotiations that were initiated in the middle of the month of July 2010 with representatives of Repsol S.A. and Repsol Bolivia S.A. These negotiations marked the end of a long standing conflict between the APG IG and the oil corporation, which began with the establishment of the Chevron and Maxus SA companies in 1997 in the Original Community Territory of Itika Guasu, property of the APG IG."

---

I'm just guessing, but is it that Bolivia nationalized these gas/oil operations, then Repsol Bolivia, a national company, undertook negotiations with the Indigenous tribe which was in conflict with Chevron and Maxus (and BP?)?
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Derechos Donating Member (892 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. They do have very good lawyers.
This came only after a 6 year legal battle with Repsol and the Bolivian government. The community has faced enormous repression and attempts to economically strangle their leadership to get them to cave. The fact that Repsol and the Bolivian government finally agreed to such an agreement is remarkable and a testament to the courage and perseverance of the community members themselves. Although the deal is finalized, the government is not happy and continues to seek means to weaken the agreement's provisions.
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rabs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 12:42 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Don't understand when you say


-----------------
Although the deal is finalized, the government is not happy and continues to seek means to weaken the agreement's provisions.

--------------------

Reading both your links in OP, it certainly seems like the Guarani people of Bolivia have won a landmark battle against the Spanish multi-national REPSOL. And in doing so, sets an example for other indigenous peoples such as in Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay.

So when you say Evo's government is unhappy puzzles me. Any special reason why you say that?

(Have to confess that I was not aware of Guarani in Bolivia; had always associated them with Paraguay and Brazil. But it makes sense considering eastern Bolivia borders Brazil.)


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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
2. Here's an article discussing Repsol's part, probably the other involved companies
have committed the same acts, themselves.
REPSOL YPF Violates Human Rights and Pollutes the Environment

The Spanish transnational corporation REPSOL YPF is being questioned for its social, environmental and cultural effects on the peoples and ecosystems of the regions where it operates. The company is accused of a series of human rights violations, for its social and cultural impacts on indigenous peoples, for the pollution of the environment and of water sources, for tax fraud, loss of biodiversity and deforestation in Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Repsol YPF is one of Latin Americas largest oil and gas corporations and a leading hydrocarbon corporation. It operates in 14 Latin American countries. In this session of the Peoples Permanent Tribunal in Lima, cases on the impacts of Repsol YPFs operations in Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador will be filed. The effects of the companys operations in Colombia have already been analyzed during the Session on oil corporations of the Peoples Permanent Tribunal Colombian charter (Bogota, 2007).

~snip~
In Bolivia, the company has been operating in the country for over ten years. This has resulted in a constant damage of different kinds: In environmental terms, the company is accused of over ten cases of pollution and environmental degradation. In legal terms, Repsol YPF acted with an illegal and unconstitutional contract until May 1st, 2007. In financial terms, under joined venture agreements it failed to fulfill the investment levels promised and it sped up the depreciation rate to avoid paying a tax on profits. In operational terms, the company has incurred in smuggling and tax fraud.

Furthermore, the transnational corporation operates in Communal Lands of Itika Guasu origin, where it entered indigenous territory without carrying out a previous consultation under ILOs 169 Convention, which became law in Bolivia in 19991. It directly or indirectly committed the following human rights violations: discrimination of Guarani workers (who lack social security and earn lower salaries); pollution and wearing out of water sources; systematic logging without reforestation; change of behavioral patterns; and promotion of new settlements that endanger the collective property of the territory.
More:
http://www.enlazandoalternativas.org/IMG/html/REPSOL_en...
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