Bolivia threatens IC Editor with prison for using Kichwa passport
We are alarmed and deeply concerned to learn that Bolivian  authorities have threatened to arrest Intercontinental Cry Editor Manuela Picq and her partner--Indigenous lawyer and president of The Confederation of Kichwa Peoples  of Ecuador (ECUARUNARI) Carlos Pérez Guartambel--for allegedly trying to  falsify their identities by using Kichwa passports to enter Bolivia. 

Manuela Picq and Carlos Pérez  entered Bolivia on November 17 using Kichwa passports  to attend the III Continental Summit of Indigenous Communication of Abya Yala. 

After the immigration official commented that he had "never seen such a passport" before, Picq explained that it was created about a year ago  to realize Ecuador's status as a pluri-national state. 

The immigration official proceeded to stamp both passports, permitting Picq and Guartambel entry into Bolivia.

According to a recent report by El Periódico Instantáneo del Ecuador, Bolivian  authorities now deny that they were accepted into their country with an  entry document issued by an indigenous organization.

The report goes on to say, "Bolivian ambassador to Ecuador  Juan Enrique Jurado indicated that the Bolivian Ministry of Government  is aware of the case and that investigations have been initiated,  stating:

"What I can say tacitly is that this passport  is not valid as a migratory document, and if it had happened it would  only be an error by an official... We do not really know if Mr. Carlos  Pérez Guartambel entered and returned, we have to check the stamps to  see if they are really original stamps. You have to do a study. "

The report continues,

The  Ambassador noted that INTERPOL had already been informed with the aim  of locating the persons involved and determining the details of the  entry. He added that, if the news were true, the migration official  would have to be sanctioned, as well as those who tried to falsify their  identity. "In this case, to use a document that is not valid, if the  people are still in Bolivia, they will be arrested.
In addition to checking for irregular entry, they could be tried and this could lead to a prison sentence.

We  acknowledge that Bolivian authorities must exercise some caution on  this matter, however, we strongly dismiss any claims that Manuela Picq  and Carlos Pérez Guartambel attempted to falsify their identities in any  way, shape, or form.

We also urge the Bolivian government to hold  both individuals harmless for exercising Bolivia's status as  pluri-national state--a status that is shared by Ecuador, where the  Kichwa passport originated.

Under the auspices of Ecuador's status  as a pluri-national state, which establishes the concept of universal  citizenship, and guarantees collective rights to self-determination, the  Kichwa passports were created in 2015 by the Council of Government of  ECUARUNARI, an organization founded in 1972 by 18 Indigenous Peoples and  representing 14 different nationalities.

The Kichwa passport is a tool of diplomacy and good relations between indigenous nations and nation states.

It  follows a history of self-determination that dates back to 1923 with  the first recognized use of a Haudenosaunee passport, a form of  identification and an "expression of sovereignty” that has been accepted  as a legitimate passport in more than 50 countries.

While the Kichwa is relatively new compared to the famous Haudenosaunee passport it is no less valid.

We  urge Bolivian authorities to uphold this important history as a  plurinational state that has its own proud tradition of respecting  indigenous self-determination.

You can find the full statement on our website 

 

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