Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui
Photo by Frances Pollitt. Courtesy of the Hemispheric Insitute of Performance and Politics.

The Latin American & Iberian Institute presents, "Strategic Ethnicity, Colonialism and Environmental Struggles in Latin America," by Silvia Rivera Cusicanqi, the Andres Bello Chair at New York University, on Monday, Feb. 17 from noon to 1 p.m. at the LAII, located at 801 Yale NE on the UNM campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Rivera, one of the most influential Bolivian writers in the last 30 years, is the recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, is a renowned Bolivian sociologist, historian, theorist,and activist who has been extensively involved in indigenous social movements.
  
A prolific author, she has written ten books, numerous articles for journals and magazines, and has produced documentaries and feature films.
 
Rivera's presentation focuses on the potential and limits of the discourse of ethnicity in Bolivia, with comparative remarks with the cases of the Reservas Extractivistas in the northern Amazonian region of Brazil and the Asambleas Ciudadanas against environmental depredation in Argentina.
 
The massive popular protests and rallies that took place in Bolivia between 2000-2005, and which eventually led to the rise of MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo) and Evo Morales to State power in 2006, have stirred a wave of expectations and hopes for change in the anti/globalization scene around the world, and specially among the popular and indigenous movements in Latin America. Nevertheless, the continuity of a policy of State centralization, classic developmental schemes and elite management of State affairs have soon led to a frustrating sense of cosmetic changes; meanwhile the pervasive influence of transnational corporations and predatory capitalism has remained unchallenged.
 
State repression to popular and indigenous resistance against open pit mining projects in Peru, Chile and Argentina and to Hydrocarbon mega projects in Ecuador; as well as the brutal police intervention to the lowland indigenous march in defense of TIPNIS National Park in Bolivia are sad examples of the gap between public declarations in defense of indigenous and environmental rights and the day to day needs of a redistributive and populist models of development, that the progressive regimes in the region have only adjusted to a certain extent.