The Washington Post has posted this article yesterday/today about the first visit to Washington, DC of Bolivian president Evo Morales Ayma.
The article was written by Pamela Constable, an experienced journalist specialized in foreign affairs and who is member of the very influential Council on Foreign Relations.
Constable points out the fact that Morales did not meet with any US officials, something that in my opinion makes no sense. US President elect Barack Obama should have met with Morales, or at least a member of his transitional team should have had the courtesy of approaching the democratic-elect Andean leader.
But as Morales has said, he is optimistic about improving relations with the next US president –something that Constable fails to mention clearly.
The article tries hard to look balanced and fair, but Constable has a very arrogant view of Morales as she calls his visit as "defiant" and ignores the important facts that motivated Morales to expel the US ambassador and DEA agents from Bolivia.
As Morales has stated, those American officials were involved in serious diplomatic offenses, acting upon internal security and political matters in Bolivia, supporting directly the racist secessionist groups of the Media Luna regions, and even shooting bullets against Bolivian citizens.
Bolivia's Morales Diplomatic, Defiant in Visit to D.C.
By Pamela Constable
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 20, 2008; Page A14
Morales, who did not meet with any administration officials here, recently ordered all U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents to leave Bolivia, a major grower of coca plants that produce cocaine. He also expelled the U.S. ambassador, accusing the envoy of conspiring with his opponents. The Bush administration, in turn, expelled Bolivia's ambassador, suspended trade preferences and withdrew all Peace Corps volunteers from the poor Andean country.
Given that acrimonious official backdrop, and the deep antagonism Morales's presidency has stirred among the large Bolivian immigrant community here, his two-day visit to the capital was an odd combination of symbolic goodwill gestures and harsh rhetoric, cheering students and angry demonstrators.
In speeches at the Organization of American States and American University, as well as in meetings with the news media, Morales stated adamantly that he would not allow U.S. drug agents back into Bolivia, saying they had been used for "political vengeance" against him. On the other hand, he said he had made serious efforts to curb drug trafficking while protecting small coca farmers as the longtime head of the Bolivian coca growers' association.
"We are all obliged to fight against narco-trafficking. We know that cocaine hurts humanity, but coca leaf is not poison," he told a gathering of Latin American diplomats yesterday at OAS headquarters. "Even a superpower," he added, does not have the right to punish or spy on another government "on the pretext of fighting narco-trafficking."
Morales also dismissed critics who portray him as a stooge of leftist Latin American leaders, such as Cuba's Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, and described himself as a strong believer in democracy. He noted that his 2005 election as Bolivia's first indigenous president had been ratified in a referendum in August, and he touted his proposed new constitution as an effort to create an egalitarian state where private property would be respected but public services would be a "human right."
Morales, 48, was cheered by an overflow crowd at American University on Tuesday night when, in a rambling and often emotional talk, he recounted his rise from a childhood of rural poverty to the leadership of an indigenous majority that had long been "hated, humiliated and discriminated against." But yesterday, he was jeered by a crowd of protesters outside the OAS, whose chants and placards called him a communist dictator, drug trafficker and puppet of Chávez. Most participants were middle-class Bolivian immigrants, including some from Santa Cruz, the wealthy lowland city that has been a focal point of opposition to Morales.
The increasingly ugly conflict between the Bolivian government and its domestic adversaries has led to a series of violent confrontations. The split has pitted Morales against some provincial governors, large landowners and most major private newspapers and TV stations.
"We are here to denounce what Evo is doing to our democracy, to our freedom of the press, to our constitution, to our human rights," Elena Abolnik, a Bolivian immigrant and activist from Northern Virginia, shouted into a bullhorn as Morales's limousine, flanked by Secret Service vehicles, arrived at the ornate OAS building.
Administration officials had no comment on Morales's visit. The Bolivian president said he did not meet with any advisers to Obama, but he did visit several U.S. lawmakers, who reportedly quizzed him on his expulsion of U.S. Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg and the U.S. drug agency. However, several prominent lawmakers also sought to publicly mend fences with Morales, who came to Washington after giving a speech Monday at the United Nations.
Morales said he and Obama had much in common as emerging leaders of long-oppressed groups in their respective countries. "Who would have believed 10 or 15 years ago that I could become president of Bolivia? Who would have believed 20 or 30 years ago that a black man could become president of the United States?" he said to the OAS special session, speaking in Spanish.
The protest outside the OAS building
The protesters were people with clear racist tendencies, and obviously they represent the tiny elite that are losing its long-standing privileges after Morales got elected.
For instance, in this photo posted by the WP, the white guy in the left looks to me like the nephew of former Bolivian president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada who has been accused with genocide and eight other crimes.
And here is a video (in Spanish) showing these group of Bolivians who tried to insult president Evo Morales at the OAS building.
Since they didn't succeed with their nasty attempts, they went on to insult a group of Andean dancers. They shout "Assassins, get out, fake Indigenous, sold outs, take that custom off, bastards, piece of shit, get out, Evo faggot son of a bitch, he is a faggot…"
You know, I might be biased because I admire Evo Morales and the work he is doing as President. It’s obvious that he is making history and changing Bolivia for the better. But after watching that video I am more convinced that people who are against Evo are evil and vicious beings.
About the future relations between the US and Bolivia, I hope the Obama administration will change the bully attitude that Bush and his officials had showed towards Bolivia. Both countries must work for a more human, honest and respectful approach towards each other, and for the benefit of their peoples.
As Abiding in Bolivia puts it:
"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.And I just got news that the Indigenous dancers in the video were also assaulted by the racist mob. A report on that is coming up...
Second update - Saturday November 22
The person who posted the video in Youtube -intended to make fun of the victims obviously- has deleted the video. But I was quick to save a copy and here it is:
Another more revealing video is also online and I will include it in my next post. Truth needs to be known.
As you might know by now, this week's protest outside the OAS building against Bolivian president Evo Morales turned into a racist attack against Indigenous Bolivian dancers.
The protesters were people with clear racist tendencies. Most of Bolivian opposition -with its stronghold in the western city of Santa Cruz- has promoted violence and racist attacks in the Andean nation, but now they are bringing that hate to DC. Among the protesters were friends and allies of former president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, who is requested by the Bolivian justice for genocide.
Here is another video showing this group of Bolivians shouting (in Spanish) : "Assassins, get out, fake Indigenous, sold outs, take that custom off, bastards, piece of shit, go away, Evo faggot son of a bitch, he is a faggot"..
Do you know what is the saddest part of this video? that some of the protesters are actually Indigenous peoples themselves, and they use racial slurs to insult their own people! Another example why we should never use terms like Latino or Hispanic - people end up thinking they are white... great - nothing better than self-loathing Indians honoring Native American heritage month.
Shame on you people, whoever you are.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
The Washington [a]Post[ate] on Morales
From Carlos in DC