Thursday, November 20, 2008
Some news posts in the US, Bolivia, Cuba and Spain:
Bolivian president Evo Morales speaking at American University in Washington, DC. Photo by Chris Gregory/GWU Hatchet
Indian Country Today interviewed president Evo Morales
An interview with President Evo Morales
By Rob Capriccioso
Story Published: Nov 20, 2008
WASHINGTON – Indian Country Today sat down for an exclusive interview with Bolivian President Evo Morales Nov. 19. Time constraints and language barriers aside, Morales’ strong vision for how indigenous people can prosper shined brightly.
Indian Country Today: As an indigenous leader of your country, what unique leadership contributions do you bring to Bolivia?
Evo Morales: I feel that the indigenous movement around the world is the reservoir of moral authority for the following reasons: First, because we have lived in communities, in collectives — not only in harmony with other human beings, but in harmony with the mother Earth. The indigenous culture does not guide people to live better, but to live well. We are not part of an individualism, or sectarianism or ambition. What we try to do is seek equality amongst human beings.
The Western culture guides people to live differently. Discrimination, slavery, all of this comes from the West. Those kinds of things appeared in Bolivia because they came from capitalism, in which there were economic models that concentrated wealth in few hands. In order to concentrate this wealth of capital in very few hands, you have to destroy the environment. There is exploitation of man by man. People are not interested in their homelands, or in their life, they’re just interested in capitalism and making money.
In indigenous culture, equality is so sacred. It’s a profound difference between our model life in indigenous communities and the model of life put forward by a capitalist society.
“The indigenous culture does not guide people to live better, but to live well.”
In my case, I have said a few times, thanks to honesty, I was able to become president. Since 1988, I have been a union leader. … from ‘88-2008, it’s been 20 years. I went from being a union leader to being a president, and I still get all these offers of money — from deputy ministers, and even priests in the Catholic Church. Before the recall referendum [in August], a minister said, ‘Here, I’ll give you 100,000.’ I said, ‘Go away. …’
The indigenous culture is very important in terms of keeping people honest. That’s what I was telling people during the election, that our ancestors gave us a law: Don’t lie, don’t steal, and don’t be lazy. This worldview that we inherited from our ancestors has now been enshrined in our new constitution.
ICT: How did your meeting at the museum with tribal leaders go? Did you find any similarities between their philosophies and your own?
Morales: Well, we didn’t have that much opportunity to exchange those kinds of viewpoints. But I do congratulate the indigenous brothers and sisters of North America for their fine museum, which preserves and presents our cultural wealth and heritage. In my quick passing, I saw that [the museum] has cultural artifacts here not only from North America, but also from South America.
When we come together within a spiritual framework, and under legitimacy — and, above all, when we have solidarity with each other — this is the basis for agreement among the indigenous movements of the world. These points of view are the values of the indigenous people, and they should be the values of humanity. Ethics is so important in a human life. We do have some profound differences in ethics of morality in humanity. The Western way of thinking wants to concentrate wealth in a few hands and amongst a few clans and families.
ICT: Do you think that North American indigenous leaders should be doing a better job at reaching out to Central and South American indigenous leaders?
Morales: In 1991 and 1992, I saw great integration of indigenous movements not only in North and South America, but of the whole world. During the anniversary of 500 years of [colonization], we decided to move from resistance to taking over power. In Bolivia, we are fulfilling a promise that we made to ourselves back in ’91-92. … During some periods of time, we have not been able to coordinate our struggles, but deep down, we do have continuous contact. …
The decade of the indigenous peoples, proclaimed by the United Nations, was really nothing more than a slogan. It was like the birthday of the indigenous peoples of the world, 10 years long. So, when you have a birthday party, you have to eat well. You have cake. You have a party. But nothing happened during that decade. We didn’t have a cake, or a party or anything. And we were actually living under the neo-liberal politics that were taking more and more of our land away. The civil, political and cultural rights of indigenous peoples were never respected. And the decade ended without accomplishing anything. …
ICT: Are you at all surprised that the United States hasn’t signed on to the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?
Morales: Not only the United States. The first country to not only sanction, but also to enact it into law was Bolivia. But in the United States, all of the rules and treaties and agreements on human rights never get signed.
Thank you very much.
The Real News includes a comment on the speech of Bolivian president Evo Morales at American University. Thanks to Abiding in Bolivia for posting the video:..
Democracy Now! reports: An Hour with Bolivian President Evo Morales: “Neoliberalism Is No Solution for Humankind":
Bolivian President Evo Morales joins us in the firehouse studio to discuss the election of Barack Obama, US-Bolivian relations, the global economic crisis and more. Morales is visiting the United States at a time when relations between the two countries are deteriorating. Last month, the Bush administration suspended long-term trade benefits with Bolivia over its alleged failure to cooperate in the “war on drugs.” Meanwhile, Morales has given the Drug Enforcement Administration three months to leave Bolivia. He accused DEA agents of violating Bolivian sovereignty and encouraging the drug trade. [includes rush transcript]
In the blogs:
Abiding in Bolivia posts: "Racist pickets OAS"
WaPo reporter Pamela Constable didn´t tell you that the quoted "activist" Elena Abolnik is a fascist. She also forgot to tell you that these protesters engaged in racist verbal assualts of indigenous Bolivian dancers attending the OAS meeting.
The LatinAmericanist posted: "Morales rounds out two-day Washington tour"
Bolivian president Evo Morales wrapped up his two-day Washington visit, the first of his presidency, with a speaking engagement at the OAS on Wednesday, where he sought international support for Bolivia's soon-to-be new constitution[...] where he met privately with Senator Richard Lugar.
Ten Percent goes: "Washington Sides With Fascists Against Evo Morales" and sums several blogs, including Carlos in DC:
[...] well look when anyone who is involved with supporting a fascist group the US also supports in Latin America that’s one thing, then when that person gets generously quoted in the Washington Post that’s another, then…well look she is listed as working for Access National Corporation as a mortgage banker (d’oh!) in Reston Virginia and has an address in Fairfax Virginia, where she is vice president of Comite Por Santa Cruz (cue those swastika lite crosses on the logo). Reg details show Created on: 06-Dec-06 Expires on: 06-Dec-08 Last Updated on: 06-Nov-07 - One year after Evo was elected with 53.7% on December 18, 2005 (84.5% turnout!). Since of course re-approved with a whopping 67.4%, y’know elected, overwhelmingly.
Down South says: "Evo Visits and the Nutters Come Out" and reports on Elena Abolnik, the "activist" mentioned by The Washington Post:
An activist? Really? Well, sure, just like the KKK was (still is?) an activist organization. Ms. Abolnik is vice president of the Virginia chapter of Pro–Santa Cruz Committee, the cryptofascist organization run by wealthy landowner and arch-enemy of Evo and Bolivian law and order Branko Marinkovic. The UJC--the brownshirts of the opposition--goes hand in fist with Ms. Abolnik's committee, a violent organization that is only happy to attack the majority indigenous population of Bolivia.
National Geographic's All Roads blog says: "Evo Morales Addresses Packed House at American University"
Last night before an overflow crowd at American University in Washington D.C., Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of Bolivia addressed a packed house of academics, students, policy makers and diplomats. Morales, subject of the film Cocalero that was featured in the 2007 All Roads Film Festival, was both pensive and visionary in his 75 minute speech where he reflected upon his amazing journey to Bolivia's highest office and outlined his ideas for the future. Amidst strained diplomatic relations with the U.S., it must have been encouraging for him to see the scores of students that lined across campus in anticipation to hear his address. Due to security reasons, more were turned away than were let in to see the speech, whether in the 300 seat auditorium or the overflow room that transmitted a live video feed.
American University's The Eagle and Politico report: Morales urges better U.S. relations / Bolivian president visits AU
Members of the AU community packed into Ward Circle Building Room 1 Tuesday evening to hear Bolivian President Evo Morales speak about the changes his government made in Bolivia and the need for better relations between Bolivia and the United States.
George Washington University's Hatchet reports: " Bolivian president looks to form bond with Obama"
In the midst of rapidly crumbling relations between Bolivia and the United States, left-wing Bolivian President Evo Morales told an audience at American Tuesday night that he looks forward to forging ties with President-elect Barack Obama - in his first speech ever in the District.
Bolivian [Evo Morales] says US bugged his phone
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Bolivia's left-wing president, Evo Morales, accused the US Drug Enforcement Administration of trying to tap his telephone conversations instead of going after cocaine traffickers.
Media in Spanish
Bolivia's La Razon says "Evo waits for Obama to improve relations with the US - Rally: the Morales administration says that allies of Sanchez de Lozada protested against Morales"
El gobierno de Evo Morales trabajará en mejorar sus relaciones con Estados Unidos, una vez que asuma la presidencia del país Barack Obama el 20 de enero, informó ayer el vocero del Palacio de Gobierno, Iván Canelas.
Bolivia's Los Tiempos reports: "Evo asks the OAS for support to apply the new Constitution"
El presidente Evo Morales pidió ayer, en su primera intervención ante la OEA, que el organismo regional "acompañe" a Bolivia en la aplicación de la nueva Constitución Política del Estado (CPE), ante la "preocupación" que le causa este proceso.
Spain's El Pais titles: "Morales assures in Washington that he has "much hope" placed on Obama"
En plena efervescencia del llamado efecto Obama en Estados Unidos y también en Latinoamérica, el presidente de Bolivia, el indigenista Evo Morales, ha visitado este miércoles Washington para rendir tributo a Martin Luther King, un "gran luchador" contra la esclavitud y la discriminación.
El Pais also says "Morales accuses the US to bug his phone"
El presidente de Bolivia, Evo Morales, ha acusado este martes a la Agencia Antidrogas de Estados Unidos (DEA, sus siglas en ingles) de haberse dedicado a pinchar sus llamadas telefónicas al igual que hizo con el vicepresidente Alvaro García Linera, "como muestra clara de las labores de injerencia política que [la DEA] cometió en Bolivia" durante los últimos seis años.
Cuba's Prensa Latina says: "Visit of Evo Morales to the US is considered as positive"
La Paz, 20 nov (PL) El presidente de Bolivia, Evo Morales, desarrolló una exitosa visita a Estados Unidos, donde sus propuestas fueron acogidas con interés, aseguraron hoy autoridades de este país.
More to come...
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Evo Morales Media Reports
From Carlos in DC: