False dilemma: environmentalism versus extractivism

False dilemma: environmentalism versus extractivism

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By Eduardo Paz Rada

In the current debate in Bolivia and in Latin America, the dilemma between environmentalism versus extractivism has been deliberately posed,
specially oriented to assess and criticize the political and economic processes of some countries, in particular the cases of Peru, Bolivia and
Ecuador, leaving aside other contradictions that are fundamental in relation to the historical and social conditions of our countries and the challenges to face the serious problems of backwardness, dependency and poverty.

These problems are not only of the present, but come from causes that have been structurally established both by colonial and imperialist oppression more than a hundred years old, and by internal relations marked by great social and economic inequalities. The oppressed peoples and countries, such as those of our region, have been and are victims of international capitalism that has imposed an international division of labor in which the powers obtain great wealth and resources at the cost of poverty, plundering and marginalization of millions of people. human beings, in the context of the center-periphery relationship of the world system.

For this reason, at the bottom of the confrontation between environmental defense and the economy of primary exploitation of natural resources is the same clue: that is, both poles are part of the imperialist strategy of controlling the most important livelihoods on the planet.

Environmental defense, in terms of the interest of industrial powers, means preventing the internal endogenous use of these resources to promote processes of development and independent industrialization in semi-colonies and Third World countries and even promote the creation of "natural reserves of the humanity ”, as is the case in the Amazon region, rejected by Brazil and other countries in the region. On the other hand, the position of the extractivist economy of primary materials in the old primary-exporter model is also part of the transnational policies to maintain their hegemony and control over strategic resources in the face of attempts to develop independent policies and internal empowerment towards integration. regional.

The alliance between the transnationals with the dependent oligarchies and bourgeoisies has generated a pattern of political domination that, in some cases, is being questioned by emerging popular forces under a banner of defensive nationalism with projections of strengthening the state and social economy that allows a better redistribution of wealth and surpluses.

The greatest fear of transnational corporations and capitalist powers is that in our countries greater margins of economic independence, political sovereignty and participation of the masses will be achieved, together with the advancement of regional integration and complementation processes that will turn our region into a geographical space , geopolitical and economic with its own power and self-sufficiency in the face of the challenges that are presented on the international map.

The internal use of natural resources in advanced industrialization processes, the incorporation of added value, the increase in job opportunities, the economic and commercial complementation between neighboring countries and the ability to face the European and North American capitalist crisis go through undertaking depth of the integrationist processes that are emerging. The Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) that promote political, military, energy, banking integration- financial, commercial, cultural and social are valuable expressions in the perspective of achieving the unity of the Great Nation.

The highest expectations since the beginning of the century occurred in the cases of Venezuela with Chávez, Bolivia with Morales, Ecuador with Correa and Brazil with Lula, however the steps were dangerously deviating in different ways. Chávez's initiatives did not have the repercussion and the accompaniment of the other leaders, and neither were his officials efficient in the outlined perspective; Brazil undertook an isolationist strategy or, where appropriate, advanced in relations of political and economic domination towards the other countries of the region and Correa and Morales had to negotiate and accept impositions in different fields.

In the Bolivian case, the problem is greater because the Evo Morales government not only gave in to the oil, mining and financial transnationals, but has also promoted the approval of a Constitution and policies that tend to promote geographic division, national fragmentation and the appearance of innumerable conflicts between communities, regions, departments, unions, cooperatives and other organizations based on the recognition of non-existent 36 nations and of a plurinational state that generates expectations of self-determination and rights above the unity of the country.

In this way, with the internal division, it is impossible to think of effectively contributing to processes of unity and regional, South American and Latin American integration and, on the contrary, maneuver options are opened for those who, from extractivism or environmentalism, pretend to definitively abort the processes of social and economic advance that were achieved in the last decade.

The world context at this key hour in the history of the peoples, due to the crisis of central capitalism and the absence of alternatives within it, opens possibilities for a more intense democratic proposal committed to the integral development of the popular sectors and classes, towards integration based on national liberation and the construction of a Latin American national socialism.

Eduardo Paz Rada placeholder image, sociologist, academic at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Bolivia


Video: From the Imperial Mode of Living towards an Ecologically Sustainable Future (May 2022).


  1. Tur

    the idea Remarkable and timely

  2. Flannagan

    I think they are wrong. We need to discuss.

  3. Dolkis

    After all and as I have not thought about it earlier

  4. Tygokree

    How do you order to understand?

  5. Barric

    Excuse me for what I have to intervene ... similar situation. Forum invitation.

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