Bolivian indigenous activists have started a long protest march from the Amazon plains to the country’s capital in against a government plan to build a 306km highway through a national park in indigenous territory.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has gained notoriety as an environmentally friendly leader and Bolivia’s first indigenous-identified president, which is significant for many locals because the country has a higher per capita indigenous population than any other Latin American country.
Less than a year ago, Morales told Al Jazeera that he is opposed to environmentally destructive development practices that are common in ‘indistrialised’ countries.
“[Those practices are] leaving the world without ecology. I called it ecolocide, which will lead to genocide,” he said.
Organisers of the march have said that they are reacting Morales’ hypocritical stance on climate change and environmentalism, pointing to his promoting of natural gas development and oil exploration.
“Morales isn’t a defender of Mother Earth. His rhetoric is empty,” said Rafael Quispe, leader of the main indigenous organization in Bolivia’s highlands, Conamaq.