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Solidarity to the town of Araona

An urgent action must be taken soon

La Paz, 28 of March of 2003

Native victim of the Bolivian Amazon was kidnapped, tortured and threatened to death by defending the forest resources.


Pirates of Timber with the support of the Bolivian Naval Force members abducted and tortured the leader of the indigenous Araona town in the north Bolivian Amazon.


Pirates of wood with the support of members of the Naval Bolivian Force (FNB) abducted and tortured the Secretary of Land and Territory of the Headquarters of the Araona Town, Carlos Ramírez, who later was freed under the threat of death not to return to the attacking wood area that was confiscated inside the Common Territory of Origin (TCO) applicable to Araona town, which is located in the extreme north of the province Abel Iturralde of the Department of La Paz in the Republic of Bolivia. 


This violation of the human rights was carried out on March 11 at 2100 hours in the community of Port Araona, situated on the river Manupare, in forest resources of the Bolivian Amazon, when the Araona required the seize of the exploitation and illegal traffic of the forest resources within their territory, besides being refuse to permit the exit of wood that had been confiscated by Mr. Miguel Vásquez, recidivist pirate of wood in the zone. 


Before the demand of the natives, Mr. Vásquez responded by force leading Ramírez to disappointment.  Three members of the FNB that were together with Mr. Vásquez performed various fire weapons shots in the contour of the leader’s humanity aiming to the edges of his feet. Ramírez then suffered the plucking of his hairs and other tortures to the lower extremities of his body including the hanging of his head inside the water with the clear intention to be drowned. This action lasted approximately 15 minutes and he was generally hanged for many hours.  Subsequently, he was remained with the hands tied until 5 p.m. of the following day’s afternoon on the 12th of March, and at the moment of his liberation was “sentenced” to death by his kidnappers if he would not transfer the other leaders of the Araona town by the military camp to sign documents of authorization for the exit of the confiscated timber.  When he was freed from his aggressors, he was placed in a wallet containing 400 Bolivians and their personal documents.  In his desperation, the soldiers returned and started shooting him.  Among the last, the non-commissioned Officer David Condori was identified. 


The accusation was done by leading the Araonas and the CIRABO –Central Natives of the Amazon Region of Bolivia- in Riberalta, another city in the department of Beni, to accede to the river from Port Araona in a crossing that takes 5-6 days this time of the year when the waters are grown.  In the dry season, the delay is greater.  For that reason, in the relative isolation in which the TCO Araona is found is that it persists the unpunished illegal extraction of wood of this native territory protected by the laws of the Bolivian Republic. 


The town Araona is one of the those recently contacted (1963-64), after the elusion of its members to more far away territories on the banks of the Madre de Dios River where they inhabited before the pursuit being object by the operators of rubber (1880-1920) that captured them to utilize them as labour slaves.  In the 60’s, they were contacted visually by air by the missionaries of the New Mission Tribes in the banks of the river Manupare and, years later they were grouped in this area that today is known as Port Araona. With the arrival of the democracy in Bolivia and the recognition of the rights of the natives and their towns in the Amazonía after the historic March in the Dignity and the Territory in 1990, the President then Jaime Paz Zamora recognized legally their territory by means of the supreme decretal No. 23110 of 1992. 


The ethnic group is conformed by 94 members and suffers a violent genetic process of deformation that is causing the women’s birth absence by which the survival of the Araonas is not guaranteed.  Ii is a respected town of “extreme vulnerability” and lives in an almost absolute state of defencelessness relating to the aggressions that suffer from part of the national company and the western civilization. 


The facts of the 11th and 12th of March added a long chain of abuses that the Araonas suffering since 1998 from a part of large estate owners and lumber businessmen that suffered in a enduring way and with impunity of their rights and territory. 


The CIRABO (Central Natives of the Amazon Region of Bolivia) has emitted a press release where denounce in public and declare the following thing:


“We DENOUNCE in public the soldiers of the Naval Force Boliviana (FNB) and Mr. Miguel Vásquez, responsible for ABDUCTION, TORTURE AND THREAT OF DEATH of the companion Carlos Ramírez, Secretary of Land and Territory of the Native Town Araona who through the power of the force took advantage of the non protection of our brothers to assure that these actions have remained in the impunity. 


We WILL INTERPOSE CRIMINAL COMPLAINT against the soldiers of the FNB and Mr. Vásquez so that they respond for the abduction, the tortures and the threats of death against our brother and they will not be protected in the impunity of their military regulations, whose responsibility we will pursue until they pay for the consequences of their criminal acts. 


We DEMAND by means of an URGENT ACTION to the INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, to interpose the actions that correspond in the Bolivian state for the preservation of the security in the native town of Araona”


For the seriousness of the accusation, we request a further communication with the following institutions that will offer more detailed information:


CIRABO/ Central Indígena de la Región Amazónica de Bolivia

Presidente: Sr. Fanor Amapo

Telf. 010-3-852-3562

Riberalta, Beni


CEJIS/ Centro de Estudios Jurídicos de Investigación Social

Tel-fax 010-3-852-3006

Director: Sr. Cliver Rocha



Responsable: Sr. Jhonny Cárdenas

Telf. 010-3-852-3931



Sr. Germán Rivero Talamaz

Telf. 010-3-852-3861



Sr. Roger López

            Radio Frecuencia USV 8245 de 7 a 12 AM


In the national environment, the attorney general of the Bolivian Republic Dr. Oscar Crespo Solís proceeded to this accusation on the 24th of March and the defender of the Town Mrs. Ana María Romero on the 25th.

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