Struggle Within: Indigenous Political Parties and Environmental Protection in Bolivia

On assuming office in 2006, Bolivian President Evo Morales promised to govern on behalf of the country’s long-marganilized indigenous majority. The head of a coca growing union, he emerged from left wing social movements to become the country’s first indigenous president. He has advanced a range of indigenous causes, but his government has also come into conflict with indigenous organizations that diverge from his vision for how the country’s resources should be managed, especially over the questions of a highway project that would bisect the TIPNIS national park and indigenous reserve. Our reporting will focus on the simmering tension between environmental and indigenous groups over issues related to development and environmental protection, and in particular, on government efforts to foment internal divisions in opposing groups.

Benjamin is a journalist whose work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The New Republic, USA Today, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. He was the 2013-2014 Princeton in Asia journalism fellow at the Jakarta Globe, where he worked as a web editor and covered elections, corruption, and volcanic eruptions. He has lived Indonesia, Turkey, and Brazil.

A 2013 graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, Alexandra investigated government/civil society relations in Bolivia for her undergraduate thesis. She interned at the D.C. Public Defenders Service before completing a English Teaching Fulbright in Belém, Brazil, where she wrote freelance stories that were published in The Washington Post and Huffington Post.