Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

December 26, 2010

Wikileaks on Indigenous Peoples: US white privilege

By Brenda Norrell

Censored News

The Wikileaks cables released about Indigenous Peoples so far have focused on Chile’s Mapuche and Bolivian President Evo Morales. The cables are proof that the global Indigenous movement to halt the corporate rape of Mother Earth, and unite Indigenous Peoples around the earth, has had an impact.

The most disturbing aspect of the US State Department cables on Indigenous Peoples is the haughtiness and white privilege that bleeds through the print.

The cables make it clear that to the United States, Indigenous Peoples are annoying, even potential terrorists, and must be dealt with.

Along with the Mapuches defense of their land and environment, the Wikileaks cables released so far show the United States’ obsession with Bolivian President Evo Morales and his growing popularity. In the Bolivian cables, the incorrect facts, poor content and unreliable sources are the most glaring aspect.

If the US spy in Bolivia was so wrong about President Morales’ tumor that did not exist, what can be said of the rest of the information. Much of the information is based on public news reports and rambling gossip.

The Bolivian cables make clear the intent of the United States: It is to create mistrust and division between individual Bolivian leaders and executive staff.

One can only ponder what the US spy meant when he referred to a possible unexpected exit by President Morales. The US cable is supposed to be an assessment of Indigenous political leaders in Bolivia. The US spy said, “If Morales were to exit unexpectedly, an indigenous or strong regional leader would be the most likely candidate to fill his position.”

Reading the Wikileaks spy cables concerning Indigenous Peoples is like reading a foreign language, it is very difficult to decipher what is being said. The thinking is so foreign it takes a while to ponder the intent of the both the writer (the US spy) and the message.

The impact of the global Indigenous Peoples is obvious in the cables from Santiago, Chile, written in January 2008 and just released.

The US spy in Santiago said, “Secretariat General of the Presidency Minister Viera Gallo told the Ambassador January 30 that the GOC – and Chilean society - are only belatedly taking seriously a growing problem with Chile's indigenous (largely Mapuche) population, which has never been fully integrated and is becoming increasingly radicalized. Mapuche alienation and protest activity could impact on issues such as terrorism, energy, and development in environmentally sensitive regions.”

This cable, and other cables, show the growing concern by the United States of the rising collective power of Indigenous Peoples, it terms of uniting with other groups and stopping the development of enormous development projects such as dams that destroy Indigenous lands. With the Mapuches, the US is concerned about connections to the Basque and NGOs (non-governmental organizations.)

The US spy in Santiago said, “Viera-Gallo agreed with E/Pol Counselor that the issue cut across several lines, including terrorism, energy, and development. The Minister noted that several Mapuche had ties to the Basques, including possibly to the ETA. They are involved in protests against construction of dams that would produce hydro-electric power, impacting Chile's energy needs. Mapuche are linked to NGO's opposed to development in lands both claimed by the Mapuche and which are also environmentally sensitive.”

“Chile will face ‘serious restrictions’ in the upcoming winter months. Construction of dams (hydro) is critical but faces obstacles from indigenous and environmental groups. The potential for developing geothermal power in Chile's north ("we are talking to the Italians") is also hostage to indigenous groups in that region, who are concerned about associated water rights and shortages,” the US spy said.

The United States, the last country in the world to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and a country settled by colonizers who carried out slaughter and genocide of Indians here, prevailed in its haughtiness, criticizing other countries for their treatment of Indigenous Peoples.

The US spy in Chile said, "On the other hand, successive Concertacion governments have bungled indigenous policy, perpetually making it a low priority and failing to set and meet realistic expectations."

While spying on Chile, the US had this to say: "Meanwhile, another indigenous group --Easter Islanders -- seem to have been inspired by Mapuche activism, recently occupying the island's only airport for 24 hours in a successful effort to gain government attention to their demands."

Wikileaks Santiago cable:
Wikileaks La Paz cable on Indigenous leaders:
Wikilkeaks cable referring to Easter Islanders:
Listen to First Voices Indigenous Radio, WBAI New York with Lakota Tiokasin Ghosthorse, for more on the Easter Islanders:SANTI HITORANGI www.saverapanui New Evictions By Chilean Forces Of Rapanui The Chilean government is now moving to evict all Rapanui from their lands in a move to grab and privatize the Moai. NICKOLAS KOZLOFF Wikileaks: FBI Now Keeping Tabs on Native Americans --- in South America?
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