To be or not to be indigenous, that is the question. Indigenous rights, identity and politics in a divided Bolivia.
Dool, P. van den
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After the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007, Bolivia was the first country to incorporate these indigenous rights in the national constitution. The Bolivian constitution now endorses far-reaching autonomy rights for indigenous peoples. With Latin America's first indigenous president ever now in charge in Bolivia, the criollo elite formerly in charge has sensed the erosion of power underway. Therefore, the elite in the east started to articulate a demand for regional autonomy, along the same lines of discourse as the indigenous movements. By invoking a regional 'Camba' identity based on the notions of mestizaje, they have created a hybrid identity with notions of Guaraní-Indian identity. This thesis shows how identity politics based and a language of indigenous rights was used to create a shared indigenous identity, and how the criollo elite used similar discourses for their autonomy demand, showing the backlash in the concept of self-identification within minority rights. This thesis demonstrates how granting special rights to certain groups will lead towards, rather than away from greater political strife.