David Choquehuanca Céspedes (born May 7, 1961 in Omasuyos Province) is a Bolivian politician. He served as the Foreign Minister of Bolivia from 23 January 2006 to 23 January 2017. He was designated the Secretary General of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) in March 2017.
Choquehuanca, who is of Aymara descent , is an activist in the Aymara indigenous and campesino movement. He worked in support of the Unified Syndical Confederation of Rural Workers of Bolivia, through various political actions, trainings, and congresses. From 1998 to 2005, he worked as National Coordinator of the Programa Nina (meaning fire in Aymara), an NGO consortium that provides training to rural movement leaders. He has worked with international agencies and has been an advisor to President Evo Morales, a fellow Aymara, since before Morales's election to the Presidency.
He is considered one of the most important ministers of Morales. He and Luis Arce Catacora, Minister of Economy and Finance, were the only people to serve in their cabinet posts for over a decade during Evo Morales' presidency. Observers have described Choquehuanca as the leader of a pachamamista or indigenista faction within the cabinet, counterposed to the pragmatic developmentalism of Arce and Vice President Álvaro García Linera.
Interaction with 2011 indigenous march
Choquehuanca visited the Eighth Grand National Indigenous March twice on behalf of the government. On September 14 and 15, he conveyed the message that "We cannot change what the president has already decided" at the beginning of a long but fruitless dialogue with leaders of CIDOB and the Subcentral TIPNIS. From September 15, the march was blockaded from advancing by a crowd of some 200 campesino and colonizers' union members at the San Lorenzo bridge of Yucumo. Between the two protests, police set up a their own blockade, preventing the march from advancing.
On the morning of September 24, Choquehuanca returned to the indigenous march. Again negotiations with the march leadership were inconclusive. A group of female marchers grabbed Choquehuanca and led him marching down the highway in an effort to circumvent the police blockade. At the police blockade, a tense standoff escalated into a brief confrontation, but the marchers succeeded in passing the police line. Several government officials, including Minister of Interior Sacha Llorenti and Minister of Transparency Nardi Suxo, said that this was a "kidnapping" (secuestro), but Choquehuanca steadfastly refused to label it as such saying that "the sisters and [female] comrades grabbed me, surely they had thought that they would pass that police encirclement with the Chancellor; I was not insulted, nor mistreated, but yes, they obliged me to walk." La Paz Prosecutor Patrica Santos, who was charged with investigating the events, received Choquehuanca's testimony to this effect on 21 November. In February 2012, the Prosecutor's Office subpoenaed twenty-six leaders of the indigenous movement and its allies to testify in an investigation of the incident as an alleged homicide. Former human rights ombudsman Waldo Albarracín has described the charges of kidnapping and attempted homicide as without merit.