[Marxism] Evo Morales: "For the first time in history, we can win"

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 2 07:44:51 MDT 2005

(The rise of non-white and indiginous leaders across Latin
America is part of the general process of both continental 
integration and political realignment which is transforming 
the political landscapt of Latin America. And, in contrast 
to the minimal but viciously hostile coverage Evo Morales 
has received in the rightist US-dominated media, we can be 
certain Telesur, another aspect of continental integration, 
will provide a far more fact-based and sympathetic reporting 
on Morales's campaign for the Bolivian presidency. Morales is 
today being vilified by the media subservient to Washington. 

(For a single example:
WALL STREET JOURNAL on "The Cubanization of Latin America"
http://www.walterlippmann.com/docs137.html among others)

Havana. August 1, 2005

"For the first time in history, we can win"

EVO Morales, leader of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS),
made an appeal for unity to all trade union and indigenous
leaders in his country to demonstrate in the upcoming
December elections that "for the first time in history, we
can win."

In an interview with the local weekly Pulso about his
party’s strategy for reaching the presidential palace,
Morales commented that "within the campesino movement,
there is a very advanced awareness that we Indians should
be governing ourselves; however, as was seen in 2002, it is
important to have alliances with other social forces in the
countryside and the city."

Within those forces, he included small businesses,
cooperatives, campesino producers’ associations, and
artisans, which together generate about 80% of jobs in
Bolivia and use about 15% of state resources. "Those
sectors are our allies," he said.

Morales seemed optimistic about an agreement with the
Movement Without Fear (MSM) as a step toward a broad front.
"The talks are very advanced, although the front is not
totally confirmed. In Santa Cruz there will be a lot of
surprises. I get calls from businessmen who tell me, ‘we’re
democratic businessmen, not fascist businessmen.’ Before,
when I boarded a plane, some people would comment, ‘look,
first-class Indians traveling by plane’; some people would
whistle at me, while others would say, ‘it’s the corrupt
who are whistling,’ and the plane would be divided. Now the
airplane feels like my office, with meetings, people who
come up to me, give me advice. There are nationalist
businessmen, patriots, who want to be on the side of their
country, earn, invest and do social work."

With respect to whether a MAS vice presidential candidate
could emerge from among businessmen, he responded that
certain opinions in the MAS hold that the formula should be
an East-West one. "We have not talked about whether it
should be a businessman, farmer, intellectual, woman...I
think that it is a fact is that Santa Cruz does not just
have people who strike out at (campesinos and MAS
militants). Santa Cruz is a province where cultures and
peoples come together. There are Quechuas there, Aymaras,
Guaranís, Chiquitanos; and there are immigrants like
Dabdoub, Matkovic – that is Santa Cruz."

He commented that MAS is gaining ground, including in the
city of Santa Cruz. "It is impressive. There is a sort of
oil-landowner power, an alliance of transnationals with the
landlords, to get in the way of advances in building a
political tool that seeks equality and justice in Santa
Cruz, which is growing. That is why I say that there will
be surprises in Santa Cruz," he added.


Asked about what the MAS position would be if it had to
form alliances in Congress, Morales responded that "that
would be speculating too far ahead. We are hoping to win
with a majority plus one. Our proposal is for a second
round, but that can only happen through a Constitutional
reform or a constituent assembly. If the people really want
to change the economic model, they have to back a majority
in Congress, and in that way not be dependent on quotas,
privileges, carving things up and tricks."

"That is why we need unity, to approve election
legislation. With the mass mobilizations of May and June,
it was not possible to get that law underway. Later, we
insisted in Congress that before the general elections, we
should go to a constituent assembly. And the press itself
said, ‘Evo is getting bogged down in the general
elections,’ and people understood that the responsibility
of this transition government is to call elections. So, 
if the people mobilize, then there will be a constituent
(assembly) next year, and even better if we win."

Morales added that the constituent assembly should be the
maximum authority for changing economic policy and dealing
with nationalization, not just of hydrocarbon resources,
but all of the country’s natural resources.

The MAS leader noted that there are civic sectors in Santa
Cruz that fear that the constituent assembly will be
transformed into a popular assembly, in which the
indigenous people will take revenge, but he made it clear
that, "what this is about is not revenge, nor submitting to
anyone, but fundamentally about how we must recognize unity
in diversity. If there are immigrant Croats in Santa Cruz
who were born in Bolivia, they are Bolivians, with the same
duties and the same rights as any Quechua, Aymara, Guaraní
or Chiquitano. The big problem, especially in Santa Cruz,
is a political mafia that does not want to give up its
cushy jobs, or living off the state. But they are not the

Nevertheless, he acknowledged that they will propose a law
to guarantee a 60-70% presence of Quechua, Aymara and
Guaraní people.

He affirmed that, according to a recent survey, 86% of
Santa Cruz residents are in favor of a constituent


Morales accused the U.S. embassy of putting pressure on the
coca issue, hoping to "coca-ize" the MAS in order to
isolate it.

It should be clear that there must be a struggle against
drug trafficking, he said, but that it should not be
confused with the eradication of coca.

"The industrialization of the coca leaf must be implemented
– not as cocaine, of course – along with gas and oil, and I
am convinced that markets exist for it."

June 9, 2005
Bolivian Peasants Want
Big Say in Next Leader

June 9, 2005; Page A12

LA PAZ, Bolivia – Protesters who forced President Carlos
Mesa to resign returned to the streets to denounce a
congressional leader poised to replace him and to demand
early elections that could boost the presidential
aspirations of an anti-U.S. Indian leader.

Evo Morales, the leftist Indian leader who has been a key
figure in protests, said early national elections are
crucial to defusing the political and social crisis. He
also demanded a constitutional assembly to address demands
for more power for Indians and to begin a debate on
nationalizing Bolivia's oil industry.

Weeks of protests have crippled Bolivia's economy and
strangled La Paz, the capital. Mr. Mesa offered his
resignation Monday night after only 19 months in power.

Yesterday, Chile's LAN Airlines and U.S. carrier American
Airlines, two top regional carriers, said they had
suspended flights to La Paz. LAN said it suspended flights
for yesterday and today. American said it had suspended
flights to La Paz but continued service to Santa Cruz, the
country's wealthiest city and home of the business elite.

Lawmakers scrambled yesterday to arrange a special
congressional session to choose Mr. Mesa's successor this
morning in the historic capital of Sucre. Local news media
reported peasant protesters were headed there in a bid to
prevent Congress from convening.

Mr. Morales vowed the protests would escalate if Senate
leader Hormando Vaca Diez -- who under Bolivia's
constitution would become president upon Mr. Mesa's exit --
accepts the post. Mr. Vaca Diez hails from the eastern
region of Santa Cruz and is widely seen as a conservative
and free-market supporter. His party has been mired in past
corruption scandals and is widely discredited among Indian
and labor groups in the western highlands.

"Vaca Diez, we are ready for war!" marchers chanted.

Bolivia is split between the Indian and labor groups, and
the ruling class from Santa Cruz and the oil-rich gas
fields to the south. Bolivia has the second-largest gas and
oil reserves in South America after Venezuela, and
disruption or nationalization of the energy industry has
executives fearful about billions of dollars in investment
and supplies to neighboring nations. 	

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