The Costa Rica News (TCRN) Latin America – The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, recently enacted a law that proclaims the creation of Defensoría de la Madre Tierra. This law explains how to live in harmony and balance with nature, and also considers the mother earth as “sacred’’ and as a “dynamic living system’’.

This new law considers the Defensoría de la Madre Tierra a counterpart to the human rights ombudsman office known as the Denfensoría del Pueblo, but leaves its structuring and creation to future legislation. It also claims that the State Authority has the obligation to protect the rights of the Earth.

The law also includes the concept of “climatic justice” and created the Justice Fund, which says that public lands should be distributed to mostly women and indigenous people. The norm orders regulating foreign ownership and control of the property, access and use of the components of Mother Earth.

It also proposes the “elimination of concentrated land ownership and other components of Mother Earth in the hands of landowners” and establishes the regulation and control of “foreign ownership on the property” as well as access and use of the components of Mother Earth, such as considering that economic activities such as mining and oil should be regulated by this law.

Anybody who causes accidental or willful damage to Mother Earth or its “living systems” should ensure the rehabilitation of these areas, or they will face legal consequences.

The new law states that crimes against Mother Earth are “imprescriptible” which does not give them the benefit of the conditional suspension of sentence. Repeating offenders will have more severe penalties.

Two years ago, Morales enacted a law granting “rights” to Mother Earth or Pachamama as if it were a person, including the right to life, diversity, water, clean air, restoration and to be free of contamination.

Bolivia openly opposed the agreements reached during the climate summit of the United Nations in Cancún, Mexico, in December of 2010. Bolivia felt they were not strong to curb climate change damages, and they demanded commitment from the developed countries to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 50% by 2020.

Diego Urdaneta

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose, Costa Rica