[Marxism] Morales: Rich nations must pay for environmental destruction

Stuart Munckton stuartmunckton at gmail.com
Sat Nov 3 18:31:53 MDT 2007

 Morales Says Rich Nations Must Pay

Frank Bajak

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — The world's richest nations must be made to pay
for the damage their profligate use of natural resources has caused in
Bolivia and other developing countries, President Evo Morales said

"It's not possible that some in the industrialized world live very
well economically while affecting, even destroying others," he told
The Associated Press in an interview.

The first indigenous president of this country — whose rapidly melting
glaciers scientists count among the most profound signs of global
warming — said he and other Latin American leaders were exploring
possible legal means for demanding compensation for the developed
world's "ecological debt."

"If there is understanding, that would be great. But if not, there
will have to be international legal responsibility," said the scrappy
coca union leader, who turned 48 a week ago.

In a wide-ranging 70-minute interview in the living room of the
presidential residence, Morales said his version of socialism requires
state control of all basic services, including telecommunications.

He also reiterated his call for the United States, which he accuses of
trying to undermine his government, to pull all of its soldiers out of
this Andean nation.

Morales told the AP he was willing to help Colombia reach peace with
its main rebel movement, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia,
or FARC, which he said was no longer justified in spilling blood after
more than four decades of conflict.

On Bolivia's divisive domestic front, Morales said he ordered troops
to withdraw from the main airport in the country's eastern lowlands
last month to avoid bloodshed during a standoff over landing revenues.
He said he received intelligence that the crowd that took over the
airport included armed separatists looking to provoke a fatal

Morales, an Aymara Indian whose father was a community leader, also
said proudly that this majority indigenous nation will next week
become the first to ratify the Sept. 13 declaration by the United
Nations endorsing the rights of the world's native peoples.

The United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were the only
countries to vote against the declaration.

After winning the presidency in December 2005 with 54 percent of the
vote, Morales has increased Bolivia's annual natural gas revenues from
$300 million to $2 billion a year by exerting greater state control of
the industry.

He has nationalized a tin smelter, most of Bolivia's largest tin mine
and the country's railroads, and government officials have suggested
they intend to move to nationalize electric utilities.

His government this year completed the re-nationalization of water
companies, a demand sparked by widespread popular protests. It is
currently negotiating the re-nationalization of the country's main
telecommunications company, Entel, which is owned by Telecom Italia

"It's communication. You want to communicate, right?" Morales said.
"It's a basic service. It's a human right."

"Just because you talk on the phone doesn't mean a few people are
getting rich," said Morales, seated on a couch wearing fur-lined
slippers he said were given to him by fans in a former Soviet republic
whose name escaped him.

Morales has allied himself closely with Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's
leftist president, and Fidel Castro, Cuba's aging leader.

Asked if his vision of socialism follows the Chavez mold, Morales said
the communal structure of Bolivia's indigenous societies and their
"way of living in harmony with Mother Earth" set South America's
poorest country on a different road.

"This is not the socialism of a leftist. It's the socialism of humanity."

His politics have not endeared him to the United States, which was his
nemesis in the late 1980s and 1990s when he led coca-leaf growers in
protests against Washington-directed forced eradication campaigns.

Expanding on public remarks last month in which he expressed his
desire that all U.S. military personnel leave Bolivia, Morales said he
wants all armed foreign troops out.
He said the only Venezuelan soldiers in the country are unarmed pilots
who fly him around in loaned helicopters.

"As far as I know, the only armed soldiers I've seen are those from
the United States," he said.

The U.S. Embassy would not say how many troops or military contractors
it has in the country, but they are believed to not exceed a few

Blinking from a nap and blowing his nose when the afternoon interview
began, Morales was asked how much sleep he gets nightly given his
penchant for brutally long work days.

"Less than four hours," he said, though he said he always catnaps
during helicopter flights.

"I'd like to get more rest, but you just can't."

Reprinted from AP

"The free market is perfectly natural... do you think I am some kind
of dummy?" - Jarvis Cocker

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