H.E. Mr. Evo Morales, President
23 September 2008
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EVO MORALES, President of Bolivia, said the General Assembly was meeting at a time of rebellion -– against misery, poverty and against the effects of climate change and privatization policies -- throughout the world. It was those privatization policies that had caused the current financial crisis. In Bolivia, there had been uprisings of indigenous peoples and farmers questioning economic systems, such as those of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which had privatized basic resources. Nationalizing oil and gas had profoundly changed Bolivia’s economy for the better and drastically increased profits from the industry. Those profits had allowed the national economy to improve and natural resources to be recovered, which had also led to democratic changes.
Although the changes in Bolivia had made him popular, with 60 per cent of Bolivians pledging their support to his presidency in an August referendum, he said some conservative parties in favour of imperialism intended to weaken the country and bring down his presidency. In fact, after 15 August, small conservative groups had begun to organize civil and municipal coups against the Government. However, thanks to the Conference of the Bolivian People, that civil coup was being defeated. Because the United States had not condemned those right wing groups, who were setting fire to oil and gas pipelines, he had expelled the United States Ambassador to his country, who he called “a lynchpin” in those activities, from Bolivia.
Noting that, in 2005, Bolivia had begun to dismantle its military forces, he said the United States still consistently tried to control certain members of the Bolivian military. Although the United States had created, in some countries, a special force to fight terrorism, in many cases, those forces were created to put an end to leaders opposed to capitalism. “When you work for equality and social justice, you are persecuted and conspired against by certain groups, not concerned about equality,” he said. That was nothing new for Bolivians.
That was the historical fight of Bolivians –- the fight between rich and poor, and socialism and capitalism. There were uprisings against a capitalist economic model around the world and if no one understood that capitalism was destroying the planet, then major problems would go unresolved. “So much is being said about climate change and if we continue the way we were, we will all be responsible for destroying the planet, and therefore, humanity,” he said, adding that it was not enough to raise problems with addressing solutions.
Although historic fights between people had been for territory, which was being repeated in Bolivia, he said indigenous peoples realized how they could live in harmony with Mother Earth. He declared water and energy as human rights, which should be treated as public services. Foreign investors should be business partners, not owners of local resources. Social movements were mobilizing themselves to search for peace, and were asking for new standards to be adopted to bring about equality for all Bolivians. Only the conscience of his peoples would defeat imperialism and create peace.