[Marxism] Evo Morales' speech to the UN General Assembly
fred.fuentes at gmail.com
Wed Oct 3 08:26:55 MDT 2007
You can now also read the english translation of his speech to the UN
meeting on climate change held on September 24 at Bolivia Rising
"Capitalism is the worst enemy of humanity"
Speech by Bolivian President Evo Morales Ayma during the United
Nations meeting on Climate Change, New York, September 24, 2007
as well as the letter he sent to the UN
"Let's respect our Mother Earth"
Letter from President Evo Morales to the member representatives of the
United Nations on the issue of the environment.
"In order to live better sometimes you have to exploit, steal,
discriminate, and plunder, but to live the good life is to live
Central speech by the President of the Republic of Bolivia, Evo
Morales Ayma, at the 62nd Session of the United Nations (UN),
addressing the environment. United Nations, 26 September, 2007
I would like to take this opportunity to express my extreme
satisfaction over the election of the new General Secretary of the
United Nations who will be leading this international organization for
the good of humanity, and above all for the good of the abandoned and
That is why I wish to briefly comment about my country. For the first
time in Bolivia's history the most abandoned sectors, the most
despised, scorned, and vilified in Bolivian history, the indigenous
people, have assumed leadership of the country in order to transform
our beloved Bolivia.
Political changes, economic changes and a commitment to recreate our
country. We seek unity, respect for our diversity, and respect for our
identity so that together we can solve our economic and social
In this short time I have found that it will be difficult and we will
have to struggle for equality and justice for all those living in the
But at the same time when the popular movement, the indigenous
movement, intellectuals, even businessmen and professionals commit
themselves with a great deal of effort to the earth and to their
people, one is encouraged to continue working and transforming,
democratically and peacefully to guarantee a cultural revolution in my
But recovering our natural resources has been the most important step.
It pains me to say that in my country during the neo-liberal
governments, natural resources and state companies were privatized.
Under the pretext of capitalization they de-capitalized the country.
They claimed that privatization was the solution for unemployment and
corruption, but instead we have seen unemployment and corruption
Just a few years ago Bolivia was considered the world's champion of
corruption, and now I am very pleased that international organizations
have noted that corruption in Bolivia has dropped significantly. We
would like to eradicate it.
I want you all to know that in 2005, before I became president of the
Republic and the hydrocarbons, petroleum, and natural gas were in the
hands of trans-nationals, Bolivia only received $300 million from
After modifying the hydrocarbon law, after recovering and
nationalizing this extremely important natural resource, Bolivia
received more than $2,000 million this year.
Therefore I would like to say from experience, to all presidents or
nations where the natural resources have been privatized, it is
important to recover these natural resources with the support of the
people, for the benefit of the people and the nation.
I understand perfectly that the companies have the right to recover
their investments and they have the right to profit. But not so much
like before which amounted to the outright plunder of our natural
What is most important about this short period is that we have begun
to de-colonize Bolivia internally and externally. I say internally
because in the past masters ruled our country. If we review our
history we find that viceroy masters, religious groups, and the
oligarchy have ruled. The people have never had any power.
Now we are establishing the people's power, so that sovereignty
belongs to the people instead of to a group of families and so that
the people have the right to decide their own destiny. That is the
best democracy we can implement.
It is not just a matter of simply opting for certain policies. When I
say that we have begun to de-colonize externally I am not only talking
about being subjugated to landlords o bosses in my country. I want you
all to know right now that no ambassadors will change our ministers or
name ministers in my country.
Regrettably in the past, the U.S. ambassadors changed and named our
ministers. That is over. That is why we have begun to de-colonize our
In the past the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund imposed
policies. That has also ended. I remember perfectly and I want you all
to know a little bit of my country's history.
In 2003, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund told the
president of that time that either a spike in gas prices or a high tax
had to be imposed in order to avoid a fiscal deficit. The government
chose the tax. They taxed workers wages and in two days there were
more than 15 Bolivians dead from internal clashes.
I want to inform you all that Bolivia enjoyed a fiscal surplus this
year without taxes and without gasoline price spikes thanks to the
recovery of our hydrocarbons, which are so important to my country. I
want you all to know that we have already begun the external
Because we are interested in how to better gather the proposals and
initiatives of our people, of organized people. These social forces,
be they civic or labor, especially those with serious economic
problems, they have the wisdom to propose initiatives and solutions
from their communities, from their trade unions. That is my
So I think it is important to develop the power of the people, thus
giving social forces the power to make the decisions. I, as president,
only rule in compliance with the people. In this way we will be able
to solve our problems.
Yesterday, over the past few days and hours I have heard some very
encouraging speeches, but also others that really disappointed me. For
example global warming and climate change were addressed. I feel that
many of our countries are victims of these phenomenon.
I still cannot understand why there are so many lives lost in floods,
invasions, or wars. So many lives lost to hunger. I feel that there
are economic models that cannot solve the problems of humanity. After
having heard many of the statements made here and the experiences
expressed by other presidents, I am even more convinced that the
concentration of capital in a few hands is not the solution for
humanity. Models that accumulate wealth in a few hands are not the
solution for humankind, for life, and even less for the poor that
inhabit this planet earth.
Global warming and melting icecaps were addressed but without mention
of their cause. I am convinced that the cause is what is wrongly
termed globalization, or selective globalization, a globalization that
does not respect plurality or differences.
When talking about globalization we must first globalize the human
being. Well, I don't know how you all managed to make it to New York,
United States, but my delegation had difficulties getting visas. Our
parliamentarians, our congresspersons could not obtain visas to come
to the U.S.
When I arrived here, my ministers, indigenous brothers, were held up
in the airport and subjected to hours and hours of processing. Some
from other countries arrived here only to be threatened by the head of
the house, President Bush. If it is like that, if it is going to
continue to be like that, I think we presidents, we nations, should
think about changing the headquarters of the United Nations. I
personally do not agree with being subjected to such investigations
when coming here.
I feel that it is also time to de-colonize the United Nations. We
should all be respected whether we are small or large, with problems
The speeches I heard about polar melting did not reflect on the cause
of this melting, this global warming. It is capitalism and the
exaggerated and unlimited industrialization of some countries that
generates these problems on the continent and around the globe.
But when we align ourselves with social movements in order to protest,
to condemn these unsustainable policies, these economic models that do
not solve our economic problems, then comes the interventions,
military bases, and wars, the demonizing and accusations of terrorism,
as if the people have no right to appeal for their needs, to claim
their rights and to demand new approaches to rescuing life and
Therefore I believe it is important that we as presidents, as nations,
as delegates sincerely speak the truth about these economic problems
that are being faced not only by Bolivia, America, or South America.
But when democratic changes take place in South America, liberating
democracies not democracies subjugated to the empire, we hear more
accusations and distortions, charges of cruelty and of dictators like
those I heard President Bush directing towards the president and
commander Cuba yesterday.
A salute to all revolutionaries. Especially to President Fidel for
whom I have much respect, because Fidel has also sent troops to many
countries. But these troops save lives, unlike those deployed by the
U.S. president to take lives.
Therefore here, as presidents we should think of life, of humanity,
about how to save the planet earth. The issue of global climate change
is an ongoing debate.
Esteemed members, I am convinced that is not possible for basic
services to continue being in the hands of private business.
Fortunately, thanks to the foreign ministers of the Americas, water
has been recognized as a human right. If water is a human right then
it's now important that it become a public service and not a private
Is vital now, right here, to recognize energy as a human right also.
Hopefully we can all agree that energy is a human right; and if it is
a human right it should never be controlled by private business.
Instead it must be a public service in order to meet the needs of the
I cannot understand their pretext of hegemony or the accumulation of
capital in a few hands, which will only continue harming humanity,
affecting the poor, marginalizing the needy.
I believe that that we are talking in order to change these economic
policies that have caused and go on causing so much damage. These
economic policies have caused genocide; and the genocide continues. I
cannot understand why there are still countries involved in an arms
race, I don't agree with war. We are exploring how a large social,
political movement, via a new constitution, can reject war.
I'm convinced that war is the industry of death, thus the arms race is
just another industry that complements the industry and death. In this
new millennium, how can countries and presidents still go on dealing
with the interventions, arrogance, and authoritarianism of some
countries towards other countries, without even considering humanity.
Esteemed presidents, I believe, that together we can work toward
rescuing planet earth, which is the most important issue at the moment
if we want to save life and humanity.
But yesterday I heard some speeches about Biofuel. I tried to
understand what biofuel, or agrofuel is. I don't understand how we can
give up our food to automobiles; I can't understand how the land can
be given over to heaps of metal.
I think that food should be for human beings, the land for life.
Because we lack gasoline, because we lack diesel we're going to divert
land and food to automobiles?
For this reason I said two days ago that if we are really interested
in life we would abandon luxury. It's imperative to abandon luxury. We
cannot continue accumulating garbage, we cannot continue thinking only
about a few families instead of thinking about humanity. I think that
we have profound differences if we talk about these issues of life,
especially the lives of our national majorities.
I wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank you all for
your support, with the exception of four governments, their presidents
and their delegates, in approving the Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples of the world. I'm very satisfied. The people of
America have waited more than 500 years for their rights to be
recognized. We are the culture of patience.
And I want to make clear that just because we have a declaration now
doesn't mean that the indigenous movement is going to become vengeful
towards other sectors. The indigenous people do not have a vengeful
character. The indigenous people are a culture of dialogue and we are
fundamentally a culture of life.
I ask the United Nations to convene a world indigenous forum soon so
that we can share our experiences. In Bolivia we are gathering and
drawing from our experiences with a program called the good life. In
order to live better sometimes you have to exploit, to live better
sometimes you have to steal, to live better sometimes you have to
discriminate, to live better sometimes you have to plunder, but to
live the good life is to live communally, to live collectively.
And not only among human beings, but also to live the good life in
harmony with mother earth. The earth for the indigenous movement is
sacred; mother earth is our life. The Pachamama, as we say in our
language, cannot be converted into merchandise. If we're talking about
and protesting against global warming, well, first we must understand
what mother earth is. If the earth gives us life we are obligated to
change our policies and to also recognize the indigenous movement.
We have lived collectively, communally; those with experience are here
debating. We argue for collectivity, communitarianism and against
capitalism. Let us draw from those experiences in order to defend life
and rescue humankind.
I also want to quickly take this moment to say that this new
millennium must be the millennium of life, the millennium of equality,
of justice that respects our identity and is committed to human
Therefore we're talking about changing the economic models that harm
humanity. But if we want to change things from here, we must first
change ourselves. We mustn't be egoistic, individualistic, greedy,
ambitious, or sectarian. We mustn't place the interests of a few
families above those of the great family of planet earth.
So, we're talking here about first changing ourselves as presidents,
as representatives of our respective nations in order to change
economic models and seek equality and justice.
And I tell you that in these past 20 months as president working with
the people, listening to their needs, I have found that there are
still some groups that don't want to lose their privileges, ill-gotten
privileges. Above all they are accustom to the State doing business
for the benefit of just a few families instead of for the [Bolivian]
I learned in these 20 months as president how beautiful it is to work
for the homeland and not for money, how wonderful it is to work for
these abandoned people, and how much better it has been to work
together with some people who are economically well off but who also
love their homeland and are committed to solidarity.
I would like to mention, you all know that we have a historical
problem with the sister Republic of Chile: the issue of the ocean. I
want to say that so far we have felt a real sense of amity, people to
people amity, government to government amity, president to president
amity, under the diplomacy of the people.
And we want to pledge to resolve the historic issue but within the
framework of complementarity. Because neighboring countries, Latin
American countries, countries of the world need to complement one
another if we want to solve the problems of our people and the
problems of our nations.
The concept of complimentarity is so important and we continue working
towards this for humankind. In closing I'd like to say (...sometimes
the red light makes one nervous, but never mind...) I would like to
say that these kinds of participatory event where we all learn and
continue learning, are the best universities available. But we must
speak with clarity, with sincerity and not falsify the truth by only
speaking of the effects and not the causes or of humanity's problems.
In this case I wish to tell you all that I believe it is vital to
change those economic models and eradicate capitalism.
Thank you very much.
Translated from ABI by Dawn Gable
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