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From Enron to Evo

Pipeline Politics, Global Environmentalism, and Indigenous Rights in Bolivia

Derrick Hindery

Publication Year: 2013

Throughout the Americas, a boom in oil, gas, and mining development has pushed the extractive frontier deeper into Indigenous territories. Centering on a long-term study of Enron and Shell’s Cuiabá pipeline, From Enron to Evo traces the struggles of Bolivia’s Indigenous peoples for self-determination over their lives and territories. In his analysis of their response to this encroaching development, author Derrick Hindery also sheds light on surprising similarities between neoliberal reform and the policies of the nation’s first Indigenous president, Evo Morales.

Drawing upon extensive interviews and document analysis, Hindery argues that many of the structural conditions created by neoliberal policies—including partial privatization of the oil and gas sector—still persist under Morales. Tactics employed by both Morales and his neoliberal predecessors utilize the rhetoric of environmental protection and Indigenous rights to justify oil, gas, mining, and road development in Indigenous territories and sensitive ecoregions.

Indigenous peoples, while mindful of gains made during Morales’s tenure, are increasingly dissatisfied with the administration’s development model, particularly when it infringes upon their right to self-determination. From Enron to Evo demonstrates their dynamic and pragmatic strategies to cope with development and adversity, while also advancing their own aims.

Offering a critique of both free-market piracy and the dilemmas of resource nationalism, this is a groundbreaking book for scholars, policy-makers, and advocates concerned with Indigenous politics, social movements, environmental justice, and resistance in an era of expanding resource development.

Published by: University of Arizona Press


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pp. C-C

Title Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

Che Guevara passed his last days in Vallegrande in the Andean foothills just above the Bolivian Amazon, and as he waited for his inevitable end, he might well have gazed toward the east, over a landscape that was just turning from its latifundist past and beginning its slow gyre toward its modern agroindustrial and hydrocarbon booms and its emergent native ...


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pp. xiii-xviii


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pp. xix-xxiv

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1. Political Ecology, Pipelines, and the Conduits of Resistance

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pp. 1-26

Disgruntled over the Bolivian government’s renewed support for a controversial road through the Isiboro- Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park (Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro- Sécure, TIPNIS), in January 2012 a block of Indigenous legislators from President Evo Morales’s po liti cal party, Movement Toward Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo,...

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2. The Neoliberal Turn and the Rise of Resistance

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pp. 27-62

The neoliberal economic “reforms” adopted in the early 1980s and thereafter defi ned a new era in which multilateral aid and political pressure (mostly from the United States) encouraged Bolivian president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada to partially privatize the national oil company, rewrite laws and regulations in favor of transnationals, create corporate- friendly...

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3. Green-stamping a Pipeline

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pp. 63-79

Thus read the headline of a front page story in the Washington Post that momentarily catapulted the story of Enron and Shell’s Cuiabá pipeline into the international spotlight. Planning for the pipeline took place in 1998, when the companies began conspiring with the Bolivian and US governments to build a 626-kilometer-long natural gas pipeline from the ...

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4. Struggling for Transparency and Fairness

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pp. 80-97

The neoliberal economic reforms implemented in Bolivia since 1985— particularly structural adjustment, capitalization of the state oil company, the hydrocarbons law, and the heart law— brought transnational oil corporations like Enron and Shell into Bolivia, sparking intense mobilization by affected Indigenous peoples. As the reforms deepened, Indigenous...

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5. Struggling for Consultation, Compensation, and Territory

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pp. 98-124

To obtain an environmental license from the Bolivian government and a $200 million loan from the US government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Enron and Shell were obligated to carry out consultations and fund a community compensation program, known as the Indigenous Development Plan, for Chiquitano and Ayoreo Indigenous peoples...

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6. Struggling for Environmental Justice

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pp. 125-147

The case of the Cuiabá pipeline is a classic story of environmental injustice, an outgrowth of a neocolonial form of development based on neoliberal ideology (Wolford 2008). Facilitated by the neoliberal economic policies they had championed themselves, Enron, Shell, and locally allied elites accrued the lion’s share of the pipeline’s profits. Little was left for the Bolivian...

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7. From Neoliberalism to Nationalism: Resource Extraction in the Age of Evo

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pp. 148-163

In December 2005, Evo Morales Ayma became Bolivia’s first self-declared Indigenous president. Winning an unprecedented 54% of the popular vote in a country where 66% of the population self-identifies as Indigenous,1 his election dealt a “historic blow against informal apartheid race relations” (Webber 2011:231). Indigenous issues were propelled front and center in...

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8. Clashing Cosmologies and Constitutional Contradictions

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pp. 164-184

The preamble to the 2009 Bolivian Constitution reads as follows:

In immemorial times mountains arose, rivers were displaced, lakes were formed. Our Amazonia, our Chaco, our highlands and our plains and valleys were covered by greenness and flowers. We populated this sacred Mother Earth with different faces, and since then we understood the ...

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9. Cuiabá under Morales

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pp. 185-215

Although mobilization related to the Cuiabá pipeline subsequent to the election of Evo Morales was marked by sporadic moments of direct action, overall there was a general decline in such activities during the first years of his presidency. Intermittent acts of rebellion emerged primarily in defense of livelihood, most notably in 2006 when the Chiquitanos took over...

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10. Evo’s Double Game on the Environment?

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pp. 216-231

In this chapter I argue that while the Evo Morales administration has made some advances with respect to the environment, such as the modest pursuit of renewable energy initiatives, its green discourse has been coupled with practices on the ground that degrade the environment and threaten Indigenous peoples’ livelihood, such as support for genetically modified ...

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11. Conclusion: Reconsidering Development, Indigenous Rights, and the Environment

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pp. 232-244

The manifesto of the Fourth Global Minga in Defense of Mother Earth,1 circulated October 12, 2011, reads as follows:

Five hundred nineteen years ago, the European invasion of our continent, Abya Yala (today known as America), abruptly interrupted the life of our civilizations, which knew how to coexist in dialogue and harmony with the Mother Earth. The plunder, depredation, and physical...


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pp. 245-250


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pp. 251-284


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pp. 285-302

About the Author

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pp. 303-303

E-ISBN-13: 9780816599899
E-ISBN-10: 0816599890
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816502370
Print-ISBN-10: 0816502374

Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 10 photos, 1 map
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 841912508
MUSE Marc Record: Download for From Enron to Evo

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Indians of South America -- Land tenure -- Bolivia -- Territorio Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro-Sécure.
  • Indians of South America -- Civil rights -- Bolivia -- Territorio Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro-Sécure.
  • Indians of South America -- Bolivia -- Territorio Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro-Sécure -- Politics and government.
  • Indigenous peoples -- Ecology -- Bolivia -- Territorio Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro-Sécure.
  • Petroleum industry -- Bolivia -- Territorio Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro-Sécure.
  • Natural gas pipelines -- Bolivia -- Territorio Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro-Sécure.
  • Environmental protection -- Bolivia -- Territorio Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro-Sécure.
  • Environmental justice -- Bolivia -- Territorio Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro-Sécure.
  • Fossil fuel power plants -- Brazil -- Cuiabá (Mato Grosso).
  • Territorio Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro-Sécure (Bolivia) -- Social conditions.
  • Territorio Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro-Sécure (Bolivia) -- Environmental conditions.
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