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Nelson La Madrid

HRD & Lawyer

Nelson La Madrid is a lawyer and human rights defender in Cochambamba, Bolivia. He is providing legal representation for the guaraní indigenous communities of Tatarenda Nuevo and Yumao, located in Santa Cruz province, Bolivia. Nelson is supporting these indigenous communities, who challenged before the domestic courts the execution of “Rositas Hydroelectric Project” (Proyecto Hidroeléctrico Rositas), promoted by Bolivia’s Electric National Company (Empresa Nacional de Electricidad de Bolivia ENDE) in their territories without their free, prior and informed consent. The communities have opposed to the project because it will flood approximately 45 thousand hectares of land, leaving the territory of twelve guaraní communities (approximately 500 families) under the water.


Human rights defenders face continuous attacks, threats and acts of intimidation in Bolivia. Land and indigenous rights defenders and their allies have have faced particularly severe repression. They are subject to intimidation, legal harassment, arbitrary detention, death threats, acts of physical aggression and criminalisation as a result of their activities in defence of human rights. Conflicts over land and rights of indigenous communities have at times resulted in violent repression and the killing of protestors. Human rights organisations – especially those which work to denounce human rights violations and abuses by the State – have suffered threats, stigmatisation and legal and administrative harassment.