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A History of the Doctrine of Intervention

Source: Al Jazeera

One does not think of archaic papal bulls when witnessing democratic states like Brazil or the United States building dams on Amazon rivers or drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Yet today’s political ethics are surprisingly similar to the doctrine of discovery set by the Vatican back in 1452.

Fifteenth-century papal bulls that declared war against all non-Christian peoples also encouraged the conquest and exploitation of enemy territories throughout the world. European explorers like Columbus took possession of newly “discovered” non-Christian lands with the express authorisation of the Catholic Church. read more

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Evading indigenous consultation in Bolivia

Source: Al Jazeera

Indigenous groups from the lowlands of Bolivia have been marching since August 15, 2011 to protest the construction of a highway through protected territories. Over 1,500 protesters have joined the 375-mile trek from the Amazon lowlands to La Paz, pregnant women and children included. President Evo Morales response was to label them “enemies of the nation.” He discredited protesters, portraying them as being confused by NGOs, and even denounced the march as another strategy of US imperialism. Although negotiations are in sight, what seems like a mere controversy over a local issue may in fact be representative of Latin America‚Äôs broader tensions with its indigenous population. read more