Evo Morales Scraps Amazon Highway Plans
Evo Morales pledged to scrap a controversial highway through an indigenous reserve in the Amazon in Bolivia, according to the Guardian.
The plan to build the 185-mile highway through the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory prompted thousands of protestors to take to the streets of La Paz, the capital Wednesday.
"The Tipnis issue is resolved," Morales said as quoted by the Guardian. "This is governing by obeying the people."
Morales added that he would push for measures to protect the reserve and would declare it an “untouchable zone.”
The decision to scrap the highway is a reversal for the Bolivian president, who vowed as late as June that the project will happen.
"Whether they like it or not, we will build that road,” he said.
Jorge Lazarte, a political analyst from La Paz’s Universidad Catolica, told the Guardian that Morales’ reversal was a result of “pressure from indigenous protesters.”
"He had to yield to this pressure. The president's announcement is what he should have done long ago, when the march began two months ago," he said. "This is a defeat for the president."
Protesters were cautiously optimistic about Morales’ announcement to scrap the highway.
“It’s a good signal, but we need to talk with the president and analyze several pending topics,” protest leader Fernando Vargas told reporters before meeting with the Bolivian president in the afternoon as quoted by the Associated Press.