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Cablegate: Bolivia: Indigenous Outreach

VZCZCXRO2893
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHTM
DE RUEHLP #0185/01 0281306
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281306Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6311
INFO RUEHZI/WHA POSTS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 LA PAZ 000185

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM BL OAS
SUBJECT: BOLIVIA: INDIGENOUS OUTREACH

REF: SECSTATE 4241

1. (U) Summary: The U.S. Mission in Bolivia has for many
years reached out to Bolivia's indigenous communities through
a series of innovative and successful programs. USAID
Bolivia has always focused its significant assistance
programs on the poorest and marginalized groups, which are
usually indigenous. The Public Affairs Section (PAS) attempts
to ensure that indigenous communities benefit from all PAS
programs. The Embassy and USAID have also begun initiatives
to include indigenous Bolivians in Mission operations, with
two ongoing indigenous internship programs and hiring
indigenous experts into key professional positions. MILGROUP
medical missions treat indigenous Bolivians, and the
Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) has programs aimed at
preventing drug-use by indigenous youth. End Summary.

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USAID: Helping Poor and Indigenous Bolivians
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2. (U) To highlight the USG's role in providing increased
opportunities for Bolivia's traditionally-marginalized
indigenous communities, USAID identified key messages and
ramped up its public outreach strategy to ensure that the
messages were being delivered throughout the country.
Averaging two per week, USAID events communicate positive
messages on how USG assistance is effectively helping the
Bolivian people, in particular the poor and indigenous. For
example, at one school event in the indigenous city of El
Alto, the Ambassador showed how nutritious USG-supported
Integrated Alternative Development fruit reaches over 180,000
students twice per week in La Paz and El Alto. USAID also
helped create PROSALUD, a health service provider that
currently serves more than 600,000 poor, mostly indigenous,
Bolivians each year.

3. (U) To publicize post's assistance programs, in 2007 USAID
organized five "Project Fairs" to deepen the understanding of
USG assistance programs in Bolivia, highlighting the programs
that USAID, NAS, PAS, MILGROUP and the Peace Corps carry out
across the country. At each Project Fair, project
beneficiaries (typically indigenous) come from the far
reaches of the Amazon Basin, Altiplano communities and Santa
Cruz lowlands to describe firsthand how USG assistance has
benefited their families and communities. In one
particularly successful outreach program, USAID and PAS
brought together USAID partners from all over Bolivia to
present a project fair for participants of the April 2007
Organization of American States (OAS) working group in La
Paz. Through this fair, USAID and PAS were able to
demonstrate valuable 'in the field' cooperation between the
USG and indigenous communities in Bolivia. OAS participants
were able to learn more about various projects and had the
opportunity to buy partner-organization products.

4. (U) Through its Integrated Alternative Development
program, USAID funds annual workshops conducted by PAS for
indigenous community radio journalists to improve local
capacity to report on alternative development projects and
their impact on local communities. USAID also funds program
segments produced by an independent radio journalist that
highlight the benefits of USG assistance to rural communities.

5. (U) USAID also initiated a highly-successful indigenous
intern program, selecting exceptional young indigenous
leaders to work at USAID for six month periods. These
interns gain valuable work experience while also learning
more about USAID and its programs that directly help
indigenous communities in Bolivia.

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MILGROUP: Military Medicine for Marginalized Majority
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6. (SBU) The MILGROUP focuses its humanitarian assistance
programs, totaling over $3M for FY07, on outreach to
populations with little access to basic needs, often
indigenous Bolivians. The grassroots support earned through
these programs provides the USG with significant long-term
goodwill among the neediest populations. During 2007, the
MILGROUP coordinated and executed seven Medical Readiness
Exercises (MEDRETEs) in towns, cities, and along rivers in
Bolivia, providing care to some of the country's most remote
and under-served populations. The MEDRETEs totaled over $1.2
million and treated from five to ten thousand patients per
MEDRETE. In these same marginalized, mostly-indigenous
communities, MILGROUP has funded $2.3 million dollars in
humanitarian assistance, including four medical clinics, five
water storage and treatment facilities, two community
centers, a disaster relief warehouse and supplies, a school,
two wells, and a national Avian Influenza tracking program.

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MILGROUP also coordinated over $600,000 in Denton Amendment
U.S. Air Force support for NGO donations, including hospital
supplies, school materials, and other U.S. citizen donations.

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NAS: No to Drugs, Yes to Indigenous Empowerment
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7. (U) The Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) has an active
demand-reduction campaign that reaches thousands of at-risk
indigenous students, mostly through the DARE program. In
coordination with the Rural Interdiction Police, NAS sponsors
an annual soccer tournament for indigenous youth in the
Yungas coca-growing area and provides three annual
soccer-academy scholarships for indigenous youth from the
Yungas. NAS also supports the "School for Life", which works
with 30 student leaders in Santa Cruz to build social skills
in underprivileged youth. A pilot Narcotics Affairs Section
and Public Affairs Section project starting in 2008 will
invite an art teacher/urban youth expert to live in an
indigenous community for three months to use art lessons to
reach at-risk indigenous kids before they start drug use.

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Public Affairs: Indigenous Participation in Every Program
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8. (U) The Public Affairs Section (PAS) produces in-house
indigenous language (Aymara, Quechua, and Guarani) radio
programs to highlight the Embassy's programs and provide the
U.S. perspective on key events within Bolivia and around the
world. The programs are produced three times a week and are
distributed to over 200 rural community radio stations.

9. (U) PAS has a large number of programs targeting young
indigenous audiences. PAS works closely with Bi-national
Centers in order to reach 15-18 year-olds, especially with
English language instruction and cultural outreach. In the
last year, PAS more than tripled the number of scholarships
for indigenous and Afro-Bolivian students from 80 to 263.
PAS supports several "youth Ambassador" programs in which
indigenous high school students and other young indigenous
leaders have the opportunity to go the United States for two
weeks or more. In conjunction with the Martin Luther King
scholarship program, PAS's "College Horizons" projects
provides two years of English language scholarship and pairs
participants with former International Visitor, Fulbright or
other scholarship recipients for mentoring. Participants are
helped in the college application and scholarship application
process, and the program pays for college entrance test fees.
Embassy Bolivia's Fulbright program also actively seeks
indigenous participants, supported by PAS's English-language
scholarships, as more potential indigenous Fulbright
participants are close to having the required level of
English (currently two of Bolivia's Fulbright scholarship
recipients in the United States are indigenous.)

10. (U) Through the 'Winter Institute for Bolivian Indigenous
Leaders' (the 'Study of U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders
Program'), ten Bolivian university students of indigenous
background are selected to go to the United States to
participate in a five-week academic seminar and educational
travel program, enhancing their leadership potential and
their familiarity with the United States and U.S. values.
Two former Winter Institute graduates (and Embassy indigenous
interns) have gone on to create a series of workshops for
over 1,500 indigenous Bolivian students. Their "Breaking
Stereotypes" workshops reached 20 to 30 students at a time
with discussions of U.S. democracy, government, and the role
of the Embassy in Bolivia, with Embassy officers often taking
part. Participants had the opportunity to question the two
former interns about their experiences in the United States
and at the Embassy. Many of the indigenous youth attending
the workshop were from tough inner-city schools and had never
had the chance to meet or talk with an American, or even
someone who had visited the United States.

11. (SBU) With PAS, U.S. conservationist Jon Kohl promoted
eco-tourism as a tool for environmental protection and
economic development. In addition to lectures around the
country, Kohl conducted a four-day workshop in an indigenous
community in Madidi National Park (where USAID is also
working with the indigenous community). Participants of this
workshop plan to use the course material to improve
ecotourism projects in two Mission-supported Bolivian nature
preserves.

12. (U) Recent Cultural programs included two hip-hop groups
and a group of Native American dancers: the hip-hop groups
were chosen to appeal to young (mostly-indigenous) urban
audiences, while the Native American dancers appealed to
indigenous audiences in Cochabamba, La Paz, Batallas (an

LA PAZ 00000185 003 OF 003


Aymara city in the Altiplano), and Santa Cruz. PAS also
recently organized a visit to the United States for six
indigenous members of the El Alto orchestra (note: El Alto is
Bolivia's largest indigenous city and one of President Evo
Morales' areas of strongest support. End note.) The young
indigenous musicians visited Juilliard, the Kennedy Center
and Carnegie Hall, participating in workshops and educational
events. One of the U.S. teachers in this program will soon
visit Bolivia as a U.S. speaker. In addition, the
Ambassador's invitation of over 500 orphans and street kids
from El Alto (mostly indigenous) to a professional soccer
game made the front page of the only newspaper dedicated to
the 800,000 indigenous residents of El Alto.

13. (U) PAS also hosted a successful DVC on Native American
history, inviting indigenous community leaders, former
scholarship participants and other indigenous observers to
also participate in two follow-up roundtables. During the
roundtables, participants were able to comment on what they
had learned from the DVC and provide their own insights into
parallels between the history of U.S. Native American and
Bolivian indigenous groups.

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Comment
- - - -

14. (SBU) One of Post's top priorities is to continue to
reach out to Bolivia's historically overlooked and
under-served indigenous population. Opportunities abound in
a country where the majority of citizens identify themselves
as either mestizo or indigenous, depending on the survey.
Post's programs for indigenous populations have been very
well-received, generating good results and good will
throughout the country. Demand exceeds our ability to supply
indigenous outreach: we could support even more successful
programs with additional resources.

15. (SBU) Because of the positive response Post's indigenous
outreach programs garner, these programs could prove hard for
Bolivian officials to attack (for example, anti-USAID
rhetoric is less convincing when the Bolivian public can see
that USAID supports indigenous women entrepreneurs in El Alto
or provides scholarships to poor, indigenous youth.) As
President Morales capitalizes on his status as Bolivia's
first indigenous president, indigenous identity and
indigenous inclusion will become even more prominent issues.
President Morales may find it difficult to criticize programs
that directly benefit his largest base of support: indigenous
Bolivians. While focusing on delivering real benefits to
Bolivian indigenous communities, we will therefore also seek
to counteract anti-USG rhetoric with the positive truth: that
the USG and the U.S. people continue to support Bolivia's
poor, marginalized, and indigenous citizens. End comment.

GOLDBERG

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