Address to the United Nations
We Need Partners, Not Bosses
By EVO MORALES
It is an enormous satisfaction to be here present, representing my people, from my homeland, Bolivia and especially the indigenous movement.
I want to tell you, that after 500 years of be looked down upon, at times considered to be savages, animals, in some regions condemned to extermination, thanks to this consciousness and this uprising and to the struggle for the rights of the peoples, we got here to repair the historic damage, to repair 500 years of damage.
During the republic, we were equally discriminated against, marginalised, they never took into account this struggle of the peoples for life, for humanity during the last 20 years, with their application of an economic model–neoliberalism–that continued the looting of our natural resources, the privatisation of our basic services.
Convinced, and we are convinced, that the way of privatisation of basic services is the best way of violating human rights.
And these small considerations oblige me to say the truth here about the livelihoods of these families, I come to express this sentiment for the humanity of the peoples, from my people. I come here to express the suffering, the product of marginalisation, of exclusion, I come to express above all else, this anti-colonial sentiment of the peoples that struggle for equality and justice.
I want to say to all of the delegates that in my country we have begun to search for deep democratic and peaceful transformations, we are thinking of how to refound Bolivia, refound Bolivia to unite Bolivians, refound Bolivia–not to take revenge against anyone, despite the fact that we have been kept down through discrimination–refound Bolivia, above all, to finish with the disdain, hatred, against the Indian peoples.
I say this because my mother was commenting to me, saying, that when she went to the city, she did not have to the right to walk in the principal plazas of the cities of my country. Indian people didn’t have the right to walk on the sidewalks.
But happily we have decided to pass over from the social, union, communal struggle to an electoral struggle so that we ourselves can be the actors to resolve social problems, economic problems, structural problems, and we are waging for this Constituent Assembly of refoundation, and I would like the United Nations to participate in this process of peaceful and democratic change, which is the best we can do for these abandoned, marginalised families.
Certainly, many countries have the same problems as my country, a country, a nation with so much wealth but also with so much poverty, where the natural resources have historically been stolen, looted, auctioned off by the neoliberal government, handed over to the transnationals.
The time has come, now at the head of this struggle of the peoples for power and land, to recuperate, recuperate those natural resources for the Bolivian state under the control of the peoples.
And when we speak of recuperating our natural resources, via the dirty campaign of accusations, they say that the government of Evo Morales will not respect private property, I want to say to you, in my government private property will be respected.
It is true that we need investment, we need partners, not bosses, not owners of our natural resources, we understand perfectly that an underdeveloped country needs investment, and I want to say, to clarify in front of all of you some worries, some false accusations; if the state exercises the property rights of a natural resource such as natural gas, hydrocarbons, oil, then we don’t expel anyone, we don’t confiscate off anyone.
It will be respected, but we guarantee that they recover their investments and have make an earning, but they will not earn like before, from the (fat) so we are left not being able to resolve the social problems in my country later.
I want to say to you within this framework, I don’t come here to tell you how to govern or to threaten a country, or to begin to put conditions on a country, I only want you as international organisations, as a state with solidarity, as nations with principals of reciprocity, of brotherhood, to participate in this process of democratic change.
We have a great desire, a great interest in their being a conscious of this class in international forums, international reunions such as the United Nations to support, to wager on peaceful changes.
All of you know, especially here in North America as well as in Europe, that there are many Bolivians who go in search of work, before it use to be the Europeans that invaded Latin American, especially Bolivia, now it seems that the situation has changed, it is the Latin American, or the Bolivians, that are invading Europe like they did to the US before. Why? Because in this conjuncture, at this moment there is no job creation.
I want to say to all of you that we want to wager for a just trade, a peoples trade for the people, a trade which resolves the problem of jobs, that trade for companies is important is clear, but trade for micro and small producers, for cooperatives, for associations, collective companies, is more important.
I would like, and this is the one wish I have, that instead of my sisters and brothers going to Europe, how much better would it be that products go there and not human beings, and I believe that this has to do with consciousness in the international community, if we want to resolve the issue of immigration.
I have information that our sisters and brothers are not going there to monopolise thousands of hectares as those that came to Latin America did when they monopolise thousands of hectares, they came to take over ownership of our wealth, of our resources.
I believe that it is important that within this framework of trade, trade that is referred to as free trade, even in my country, affected and eliminated the large producers, the agro-industrialists, imagine the agreement signed by Colombia with the United States over the Free Trade Agreement, is already taking away markets from the soya farmers in Bolivia, from the agro-industrialists in Colombia.
I am convinced that it is important to import what we do not produce and export what we produce and that this would be a solution to the economic problem, the problem of employment.
I would like to take advantage of this opportunity, Ms president, to say that there are also other historical injustices, such as the criminalisation of the coca leaf. I want to say, this is a green coca leaf, it is not the white of cocaine, this coca leaf represents Andean culture, it is a coca leaf that represents the environment and the hope of our peoples.
It is not possible that the coca leaf is legal for Coca Cola and that the coca leaf is illegal for other medicinal purposes in our country, and in the whole world.
We want to say, that it is important that the United Nations recognise that with the help of North American universities, with European universities, we have scientifically demonstrated that the coca leaf does not damage human health.
It is very lamentable that due to customs, to bad customs, that the coca leaf is derailed into an illegal problem, we are conscious of that, that is why we say as producers of the coca leaf that there will not be free coca cultivation, but nor will there be zero coca.
The previously implemented policies, that had conditions imposed, talked of zero coca, zero coca is like talking of zero Quechuas, Aymaras, Mojenos, Chiquitanos in my country, this finished with our government, no matter how underdeveloped our country is, a country with economic problems which are a product of the looting of our natural resource wealth.
And we are now here to dignify ourselves, and we have begun to dignify our country, and within this process of dignifying I want to say, that the best proposal for the struggle against narco-trafficking has been voluntary reduction, agreed upon without deaths or injuries.
Happily I have heard the report from the United Nation, which recognises that this honest, responsible effort, in the struggle against narco-trafficking, has increased efficiency by 300% as opposed to confiscations which seize drugs,.
Nevertheless, yesterday I heard a report from the government of the United States, it says, that they do not accept the cultivation of coca, and that they are putting conditions on it that modify our norms.
I want to say with great respect to the government of the United States , we are not going to change anything, we don’t need blackmail and threats, the so-called certification or decertification in the fight against narco-trafficking is simply an instrument of recolonialisation or colonialisation of the Andean countries, that is unacceptable, that can not be permitted.
I want to say to you that we have, and we need, an alliance to fight against narco-trafficking, but one that is real and effective, so that the war on drugs can not be used as an instrument, a pretext, for them to subjugate the countries of the Andean region, just like they invented preventative wars to intervene into some countries of the Middle East.
We need a real fight against narco-trafficking, and I call on the United Nations, I invite the government of the United States to make an agreement, an effective alliance to fight against narco-trafficking, so that the war on drugs is not used as a pretext to dominate us, or to humiliate us, or to try to establish military bases. In our country they use the pretext of the fight against narco-trafficking.
I take use of this opportunity to say that, within this process of change, we want justice, that justice be carried out is important for our peoples, but I feel that via the Constituent Assembly we are going to decolonise the law in order to nationalise justice, real justice.
That the people implicated in the violations of human rights, peoples threaten with military interventions, there will never be justice there, we are obliged as presidents, as head of states to dignify humanity by ending impunity.
In the previous governments in my country, they massacred people that struggle for their economic demands, for their natural resources, and it is not possible that perpetuators of genocide, corrupt criminals, escape in order to live in the United States, in a developed country such as United States .
I ask with a great deal of respect, expel these perpetuators of genocide, criminals, corrupt ones that come to live here, if they have nothing to do with it, why don’t they defend themselves in the Bolivian justice system.
I am obliged, as president, to demand that these authorities be tried in the Bolivian justice system, and I believe that no country, no head of state can protect, hid, delinquents, the perpetuators of genocide.
Hopefully with the help of the North American people, hopefully via international organisations, the people that have done so much economic damage, damage to human rights, will be tried, given that they have never respected human rights.
I have a recommendation for the permanent forum of the indigenous peoples, in front of the debates about the rights of indigenous peoples, in front of the debates about the rights of indigenous peoples that are in the subcommission of the rights of indigenous peoples in the United Nations in Geneva, in the Organisation of American States, I have information that this debate has reached this maximum instance of the United Nations.
I want to ask you in the name of the indigenous peoples of the world, especially of Abyalala, now called America, to urgently approve this declaration of the rights of indigenous peoples of the world, the right to self-determination, the right to live in community, collectively, the right to live in solidarity, in reciprocity, and fundamentally the right to live in brotherhood.
There are regions were communities live without private property, there is collective property, the indigenous peoples only want to live well, not better, to live better is to exploit, is to loot, to rob, but to live well is to live in brotherhood and that is why it is very important, president, that the United Nations urgently after the decade of the indigenous peoples, that this declaration of the rights of the indigenous peoples, the right to natural resources, the right to look after the environment, be approved.
Finally president, the indigenous peoples, the poor come especially from a culture of life and not a culture of war, and this millennium will really have to be to defend live, to save humanity and if we want to save humanity we have the obligation to save the planet. The indigenous peoples live in harmony with mother earth, and not only in reciprocity, in solidarity, with human beings.
We feel greatly that the politics of hegemonist competitions are destroying the planet. I feel that all countries, social forces, international organisms are important, let us begin to debate truthfully, in order to save the planet, to save humanity.
This new millennium, the millennium that we find ourselves in needs to be a millennium of life, not of war, a millennium of people and not of empire, a millennium of justice and equality and that any economic policy needs to be orientated towards ending, of at least lessening these so-called asymmetric differences between one country and another country, those social inequalities.
We are not trying to implement policies that allow the economic humiliation or economic looting; when they cannot loot according to the norms, they use troops.
I want to ask with great respect, that it is important to withdraw troops from Iraq if we want to respect human rights, it is important to withdraw economic policies that allow the concentration of capital in only a few hands.
And for this, I feel president, that these events should be historical in order to change the world and to change economic models, interventionalist policies. Above all else we want them to be times that allow us to defend and save humanity