Gerardo Morales proposed to the indigenous communities of Jujuy that they themselves work on a law that regulates their lands
After more than three weeks of roadblocks, protests with tragic consequences, arrests and open criminal cases, the governor of Jujuy, Gerardo Morales, sent a signal to the communities that reject the constitutional reform that he promoted, seeking to relax the heated situation in the province of northern Argentina.
On Monday, July 10, for almost 7 hours, the provincial leader and partner of Horacio Rodríguez Larreta in the presidential formula that will compete in the primary elections of Together for Change, met with members of 69 indigenous communities of Jujuy, the majority belonging to to the Guarani people. There he offered them to draw up themselves, with the participation of 100% of the local communities, a law that should regulate the general principles introduced by the reform of the Constitution regarding land possession in the province and natural resources – such as lithium – what’s in them.
Morales’s proposal is open and seeks to invite everyone, but fundamentally it aims to persuade the community members who maintain around 20 daily roadblocks in different parts of the province.
It may interest you: A tourist was stranded at a roadblock in Jujuy, decompensated on top of the bus that was taking her and died
The local government admitted that up to now it only dialogues with a part of the communities. According to official figures, there are 274 recognized indigenous peoples with legal status and another 30 with the process initiated for this purpose. The community members, however, affirm that there are around 400 original peoples of Jujuy.
Roadblocks have been in place for 24 days in Jujuy
Morales requested that the proposal include everyone for the assembly of a draft to be discussed in the Jujuy Legislature. He also asked them to include in the norm an agile mechanism to recognize and deliver community lands for production.
The Jujuy government maintains that the reform of the Constitution did not introduce any element that affects the possession of the land and ensures that the communities were influenced by political sectors, and accuses Kirchnerism and the Left for this.
The community members, for their part, assure that by action or omission, the articles of the reform grant powers to the local Executive Power and exempt them from rights. This is what the law proposed by Morales should strictly regulate.
It may interest you: Gerardo Morales denounced and asked to identify those who blocked the route in Abra Pampa and caused the death of a tourist
“We are not going to give the names of the community members, nor specifically what communities they are, because there is a lot of fear, they are threatened, since there are many violent people in the cuts,” Morales said in an official statement. Such an affirmation reflects the context that exists in the province, with mutual resentments between the government and the indigenous peoples.
In the background is the discussion for the redistribution of wealth generated by lithium production in the province, which has two multinational projects in production, with annual volumes that exceed 15 tons of lithium carbonate.
In this framework, leaders of the communities – who also requested confidentiality before the Infobae consultation – pointed out at least two articles of the reform of the jujuy magna carta that generate mistrust. They are the following:
Article 94, subsection 2: The law will regulate the administration, disposition and destination of fiscal lands susceptible to productive use, establishing for this purpose development regimes that promote territorial development and the socioeconomic interest of the Province.
There, part of the communities understand that, by omission, the government creates a framework that leaves them out of any opportunity to exploit natural resources. They indicate that most of the towns do not have property titles to the land they occupy. Consequently, they understand that the government could designate the places where they live as public lands and advance mineral exploration projects.
The official response, on the other hand, is that there is not a single precedent in which the local government has advanced in any economic project without consulting or agreeing with the inhabitants. The example given by the officials of Jujuy is the agreement that was entered into with the community of Puesto Sey for the installation of the Cauchari Solar Park, which leaves them millionaire annual figures, in dollars, for the use of their land for this exploitation.
Another article pointed out by the communities refers to the use of water:
Art. 95 paragraph 2: All matters related to the use of surface or groundwater will be under the responsibility of an autonomous and decentralized body, whose members will be appointed by the Executive Branch. Its organization, composition, powers and duties will be established by law.
In this case, the communities expressed mistrust over the possibility of creating a bureaucratic body in which they do not have representation. There, the government’s response points to the fact that future legislation will have to regulate this principle introduced by the new Constitution.
These are two specific cases – although not the only ones – in which the communities notice a non-consensual advance of the new Constitution on the lands they traditionally occupy.
The Minister of Human Development of Jujuy, Alejandra Martínez, was part of the meeting in which Governor Gerardo Morales put on the table the creation of a law that unlocks the deadlock in which the protests entered. She there she defended the local management and stressed that there is no precedent in which the province has advanced without consultation on the interests of the native peoples of Jujuy. “No other governor visited so much and gave the communities so much visibility,” she said in dialogue with Infobae.
A passage from the meeting between Gerardo Morales and the indigenous communities of Jujuy on July 10. The governor seeks to unblock the conflict in the province
In addition, he denounced that there is pressure from social organizations that administer Potenciar Trabajo plans so that the beneficiaries who are among their ranks attend the cuts. “Jujuy receives around 53,000 Potenciar Trabajo plans, 10,000 are administered by the province and the rest are managed by organizations related to the national government that pressure people to agitate the roadblocks,” said Martínez.
Although the Jujuy minister avoided specifying which organizations are involved in her complaint, she stated that she informed the Minister of Social Development, Victoria Tolosa Paz, of this.
The protests in the province have been going on for 24 days, when the reform of the Constitution was approved. Since then, there have been incidents that have ended with 89 people arrested and later released, with criminal charges against them.
In the last few hours, a 66-year-old woman collapsed in one of the roadblocks posted in the town of Abra Pampa, in the Puna region.
Tourism, meanwhile, has suffered million-dollar losses that affected merchants and workers who make a living from this activity, who bring together 25,000 people, according to figures from the province.
That is the situation that Morales seeks to unblock with the proposal that he presented to the communities that reject the new Constitution.
The heartbreaking claim to the Gendarmerie of the small tourist entrepreneurs hit by the cuts in Jujuy: “Do something” How much tourism in Jujuy lost due to the pickets the province faces and how much it could lose on vacation