Bolivia’s TIPNIS Road Conflict through the Lens of Xavier Albó’s Writings


  • Kevin Healy Georgetown University



indigenous communities, indigenous conflict, Plurinational State, TIPNIS (Indigenous Territory and National Park Isiboro Sécure)


This paper focuses on the writings by Bolivian anthropologist/linguist Xavier Albó in relation to the widely publicized TIPNIS (Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure) road conflict in Bolivia’s Amazon basin. The first part of this paper provides a brief historical review of the emergence of TIPNIS beginning with 1990’s territorial rights march through its most recent related protest march in 2011 and its related ongoing controversies and conflicts. This background section provides the context for a discussion of selected Albó writings as contributions to the debates surrounding TIPNIS. His writing examines the multiple problematic impacts of TIPNIS as a controversial infrastructural project for its various environmental, indigenous rights, developmental, and coca-cocaine related issues and dimensions. The paper argues that a continuing concern throughout Albó’s writing on TIPNIS is the importance of the struggle for indigenous political unity as a necessary foundation for the effective operations of Bolivia’s innovative plurinational state.