Cabrera was one of the leaders of the riots that in December 2011 brought together tens of thousands of indians, "mestizos" and some "criollos" in protest against Evo Morales' government plans to build a road, without consulting to communities affected, that in its original design was going to go through the Indian and Peasant Territory Isiboro-Secure (TIPNIS). The road would connect the Bolivian road system with Brazil, and thus become a key part of the bi-oceanic corridor that would link the Brazilian economy and territory wiuth the Pacific Ocean and the Asian economy. It is, therefore, a fundamental tool for the Bolivian-Brazilian integration.
The protests led by indigenous peoples, Justa Cabrera among them, were a response to government failure to fulfil new Constitution's article 30 (no. 15) which establishes that indigenous and peasants have the right to be consulted when implementing a policy that affects them directly or indirectly. And as the road should go through the TIPNIS affects, in theory, several indigenous communities, the government was forced to ask the TIPNIS communities before the route of the road was designed.
Protests was conceptualized by official press and authorities as a new attempt by the oligarchy opposition and foreign powers to destabilize the government and create another crisis of governance. And by opposition press and authorities as a break in the block that holds the current Indian government, and thus, as an important sign of weakening.
Justa Cabrera's appointment as subalcaldesa, so far President of the National Confederation of Indigenous Women, in a jurisdiction controlled by the mayor and staunch opposition critic of the government, Percy Fernández, confirms the official interpretation of the pro-TIPNIS mobilizations: the forces of the oligarchy were involved and / or complicity in the riots in late 2011.
For now, other leaders of the riots have rejected the appointment. According Erbol, President of the Coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples of Santa Cruz (CPESC), Rosendo Alpiri, described the event as "a betrayal":
"... She always preached that she wouldn't sell, much less would join with the right, but now she betrayed the indian people ..."