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Hemispheric Security and Indian Peoples

Hemispheric Security and Indian Peoples

By Alejandro Aldana S

While millions of spectators watched the World Trade Center collapse through television screens, a good number were aware that beyond the famous Twin Towers, the historical perception of the sophisticated security apparatus of the only supermarkets was also falling. power of our day.

While millions of spectators watched the World Trade Center collapse through television screens, a good number were aware that beyond the famous Twin Towers, the historical perception of the sophisticated security apparatus of the only supermarkets was also falling. power of our day.

The impact of the September 11 attacks was immediate. Huge investments were used to create much safer security mechanisms at borders and means of transport. The issue of security became the center of the public agenda.


Faced with this situation of generalized terror, we began to observe desperate and, above all, authoritarian actions by some countries; the discourse became more and more accusatory and persecutory. For the researcher Ignacio Cano, the high rates of violence and crime in Latin America, the struggles waged by various groups or social conglomerates, and the advanced movement of indigenous peoples become factors that allow us to understand why US public opinion, like that the Bush administration identify Latin American countries with sources of terrorism or possible terrorism.

The intense media campaigns carried out in the mass media have provoked in some sectors of Latin American society and in the worst of cases, in certain governmental spaces, the endorsement of actions that violate human rights, allowing by action or omission practices such as torture, police violence, militarization and, in countries like Mexico, the discussion on the legitimacy of peasant struggles and the movements of Indigenous Peoples are seen as a serious danger to national security.

The risk is that international humanitarian law and human rights are considered as prerogatives, legal frameworks, which only make sense to exist in so-called "advanced" countries, which are not burdened by social violence and the presence of Indigenous Peoples who endanger national stability, the security of countries and the harmonious life that sustains the well-known Rule of Law.

In this regard, Jesús Q. Alemancia, from the Panamanian Center for Studies and Social Action, makes an interesting reflection on how governments integrated into the phenomenon of globalization conceptualize not only national but hemispheric security as a danger. The United States government, through its National Intelligence Council, an organism of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), made public its position on this phenomenon, in its report "Global Trends 2015". In this document, the CIA considers that Latin America has a challenge to face and this is nothing more than indigenous resistance movements. The result of the analysis carried out in the document is that "Such movements will increase, facilitated by transnational networks of activists of indigenous rights, supported by international groups of human rights and well-financed ecologists", and adds, "the tensions will intensify in one area from Mexico through the Amazon region… ".

Given these positions, it is clear to observe that the prospects for human rights are not favorable.


As an additional piece of information we can point out the balance made by the Center for Military Studies and Research of the Armed Forces of Chile, which in 1999 brought to light the document "The Mapuche Conflict and its Impact on National Security." The report's conclusions are conclusive: the Mapuches are a security problem because "firstly, they affect the internal order and public tranquility of the country, through various calls that the leaders of the movement have made to transgress the legal system. second, because during its development it has been intended not only to limit but also to violate the property right enshrined in the Constitution. Third, because there have been clear manifestations of extrapolating the local conflict to the national level, even with the participation of foreign elements , such as international volunteers and foreign organizations that have an interest in claiming minorities throughout the world. "

The recent history of the continental indigenous movement, and its high level of incidence in international public opinion, has awakened a number of alarmist positions that seek to prevent the development of these struggles, especially during the last decade of the 20th century (the armed uprising Zapatista in Chiapas, large indigenous mobilizations in Ecuador, political processes opened by indigenous people in Colombia in the midst of an internal war, conflicts over natural resources on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua, Aymara resistance in Bolivia against the anti-drug policy of the President Banzer).

The Committee for Solidarity with the Peoples of Chiapas in Struggle-Paris has verified the systematic violence and repression against the Indigenous Peoples of various regions of Mexico. The struggle of the Mexican Indigenous Peoples for autonomy has become a conflict of legal spheres, positivity of rights, their own normative systems, and legitimacy. For these Peoples, autonomy constitutes a historical project, an expression of resistance, asserting their own decisions based on their own organization, based on their worldview.

However, the construction of autonomy in Mexico faces neoliberal policies promoted by the Federal Government itself and the federative entities, who impose on the peoples, violating the right to be consulted as stipulated in ILO Convention 169, projects such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, as well as new mega-projects such as the Puebla-Panama Plan (PPP) and the Free Trade Area of ​​the Americas (FTAA). These projects represent for the peoples of Mexico a true wave of looting and destruction of natural resources, the constant violation of their socio-cultural rights, thus blocking any type of autonomous organization.

Faced with these situations and the complexity of the social fabric and its dynamics, it is necessary that hemispheric security programs and projects between states and citizens are based on the enjoyment of human rights. For Indigenous Peoples, the recognition of their collective rights in international standards, as well as in the constitutions of the countries, which provide regulatory or instrumental laws that guarantee their effective applicability, becomes a priority.


For this, the participation of Civil Society is very important. The International Coalition of Human Rights Organizations is a space for the articulation of civil organizations, mainly from the American continent, which initially worked with the objective of strengthening the Inter-American Human Rights System. Through this specific work, the spheres of advocacy of the organizations were expanded, since the issue of guaranteeing and defending human rights was expanding to other spaces of the OAS itself.

It is of utmost importance that in the process of building the new concept of security, the participation of civil society as a whole is a fundamental element, contributing the experiences accumulated in other spaces of participation, which it is necessary to implement in order to have a clear level of incidence on the issues that affect us as a society.

* Lawyer and writer - Member of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas A.C Human Rights Center - Solidarity Information Agency

Review: Collaboration of Tania Fernández Pino for EcoPortal.


Video: Ambassador Haley Delivers Remarks at Washington Conference on the Americas (September 2021).