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Evo Morales’ message of global solidarity PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow
Tuesday, 24 June 2014 19:45

Address at the opening of the Group of 77 Special Summit

Introduction by Richard Fidler (Translator)
The Summit of the Group of 77 plus China, marking the alliance’s 50th anniversary, closed in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on June 15 with the adoption of a Declaration containing 242 articles, entitled “For a New World Order for Living Well.”  see below

The Summit set a record for high-level participation, with the presence of 13 presidents, 4 prime ministers, 5 vice-presidents and 8 foreign ministers among the delegates of the 104 countries in attendance out of the 133 of the global South that now make up the Group of 77 plus China (also known as G77+China). The Plurinational State of Bolivia is chairing the alliance this year, and its president Evo Morales hosted the Summit.

The choice of Santa Cruz as the venue had particular significance in Bolivia. In 2008, this eastern lowland city, with a population of predominantly European origin, was in violent rebellion against the Morales government and Bolivia’s new constitution, which for the first time in the country’s history had recognized the 34 distinct languages and the national rights of Bolivia’s indigenous peoples who make up a majority of the population. Sharing the platform with Morales at the Summit’s opening ceremony this month were leaders of that separatist uprising — a striking manifestation of the degree to which the Bolivian government, led by Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism, has since then established its hegemony throughout the country.

There are two different but complementary dimensions to the adopted Declaration, writes Katu Arkonada, a Bolivian of Basque origin, in Rebelión. The first, focused on reform of institutions, sets out sustainable development objectives to replace the United Nations’ Millenium Goals. It points to the need for an approach integrating economic, social and environmental strategies that promote sovereign control of natural resources in harmony with nature and “Mother Earth.” The document’s proposals for confronting the challenge of climate change are particularly notable — not least because they would, if implemented, mark a significant departure from current international practices, including by many G77 member states.

The second dimension of the Declaration is addressed to the construction of “that other possible world, a world of sovereignty for the global South, free of all forms of colonialism and imperialism.” It calls for a radical reconfiguration of international political and financial institutions to correspond to the geopolitical realities of an emerging multipolar world “based on the principles of respect for sovereignty, independence, equality, unconditionality, non-interference in the internal affairs of states and mutual benefit.”

The Group of 77 plus China is a very heterogeneous group of countries and governments. While many were once colonized and all are to varying degrees subject to domination by imperialism as a system still hegemonized by the United States, they have mixed records (to say the least) when it comes to confronting imperialism. The group even includes now some emerging imperialist states such as China (and soon Russia if it accepts the Summit invitation to join). A few, such as Brazil, have been characterized by some analysts as “sub-imperialist,” although that concept is the subject of varied interpretations.[1] Bolivia itself has not hesitated to participate with other G77 members in the military occupation of Haiti following the 2004 overthrow of the progressive government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide by France, the USA and Canada.[2]

However, the radical anti-imperialist and ecological content of the Declaration, as well as many speeches at the Santa Cruz Summit, reflected the input of Evo Morales and his government, who have played a leadership role in drawing international attention to the mortal danger to the global environment posed by capitalism and the imperialist plunder of renewable and non-renewable natural resources. Morales set the tone in his remarkable opening speech to the Summit, published below — a clarion call to the peoples and governments of the world for a coordinated anti-capitalist response to the combined threats of economic, social and environmental catastrophe now looming as never before.

The Summit was preceded by a mass meeting of Bolivian social movements with the presidents of some Latin American countries, among them Raúl Castro (Cuba), Nicolás Maduro (Venezuela), Rafael Correa (Ecuador) and Salvador Sánchez Cerén (the new president of El Salvador), as well as personalities such as Guatemalan indigenous leader Rigoberta Menchu and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Evo Morales told the huge crowd that if the imperialist aggression against the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela were to continue, Venezuela and Latin America could become a “second Vietnam for the United States.”

I have edited slightly the official and hastily issued English translation of Morales’ Summit address to correspond more closely to the original Spanish transcription. The Spanish phrase Vivir Bien (Living Well), which recurs throughout Morales’ address, refers to the Andean concept of living in harmony with the community and nature, ensuring the sufficient means to live well without always seeking more and thereby depleting the resources of the planet.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
For a Global Brotherhood Among the Peoples
Evo Morales Ayma
President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia and pro-tempore President of the Group of 77 plus China

Fifty years ago, great leaders raised the flags of the anticolonial struggle and decided to join with their peoples in a march along the path of sovereignty and independence.

The world superpowers and transnationals were competing for control of territories and natural resources in order to continue expanding at the cost of impoverishing the peoples of the South.

In that context, on June 15, 1964, at the conclusion of an UNCTAD[3] meeting, 77 countries from the South (we are now 133 plus China) met to enhance their trade bargaining capacities, by acting in a bloc to advance their collective interests while respecting their individual sovereign decisions.
During the past 50 years, these countries went beyond their statements and promoted resolutions at the United Nations and joint action in favor of development underpinned by South-South cooperation, a new world economic order, a responsible approach to climate change, and economic relations based on preferential treatment.
In this journey the struggle for decolonization as well as for the peoples’ self-determination and sovereignty over their natural resources must be highlighted.
Notwithstanding these efforts and struggles for equality and justice for the world’s peoples, the hierarchies and inequalities in the world have increased.

Today, 10 countries in the world control 40% of the world’s total wealth and 15 transnational corporations control 50% of global output.

Today, as 100 years ago, acting in the name of the free market and democracy, a handful of imperial powers invades countries, blocks trade, imposes prices on the rest of the world, chokes national economies, plots against progressive governments and resorts to espionage against the inhabitants of this planet.

A tiny elite of countries and transnational corporations controls, in an authoritarian fashion, the destinies of the world, its economies and its natural resources.
The economic and social inequality between regions, between countries, between social classes and between individuals has grown outrageously.

About 0.1% of the world’s population owns 20% of humanity’s assets. In 1920, a business manager in the United States made 20 times the wage of a worker, but today he is paid 331 times that wage.

This unfair concentration of wealth and predatory destruction of nature are also generating a structural crisis that is becoming unsustainable over time.

It is indeed a structural crisis. It impacts every component of capitalist development. In other words, it is a mutually reinforcing crisis affecting international finance, energy, climate, water, food, institutions and values. It is a crisis inherent to capitalist civilization.

The financial crisis was prompted by the greedy pursuit of profits from financial capital that led to profound international financial speculation, a practice that favored certain groups, transnational corporations or power centers that amassed great wealth.

The financial bubbles that generate speculative gains eventually burst, and in the process they plunged into poverty the workers who had received cheap credit, the middle-class savings-account holders who had trusted their deposits to greedy speculators. The latter overnight went bankrupt or took their capital to other countries, thus leading entire nations into bankruptcy.

We are also faced with an energy crisis that is driven by excessive consumption in developed countries, pollution from energy sources and the energy hoarding practices of the transnational corporations.

Parallel with this, we witness a global reduction in reserves and high costs of oil and gas development, while productive capacity drops due to the gradual depletion of fossil fuels and global climate change.

The climate crisis is caused by the anarchy of capitalist production, with consumption levels and unharnessed industrialization that have resulted in excessive emissions of polluting gases that in turn have led to global warming and natural disasters affecting the entire world.

For more than 15,000 years prior to the era of capitalist industrialization, greenhouse gases did not amount to more than 250 parts per million molecules in the atmosphere.

Since the 19th century, and in particular in the 20th and 21st centuries, thanks to the actions of predatory capitalism, this count has risen to 400 ppm, and global warming has become an irreversible process along with weather disasters the primary impacts of which are felt in the poorest and most vulnerable countries of the South, and in particular the island nations, as a result of the thawing of the glaciers.

In turn, global warming is generating a water supply crisis that is compounded by privatization, depletion of sources and commercialization of fresh water. As a consequence, the number of people without access to potable water is growing apace.

The water shortage in many parts of the planet is leading to armed conflicts and wars that further aggravate the lack of availability of this non-renewable resource.

The world population is growing while food production is dropping, and these trends are leading to a food crisis.

Add to these issues the reduction of food-producing lands, the imbalances between urban and rural areas, the monopoly exercised by transnational corporations over the marketing of seeds and agricultural inputs, and the speculation in food prices.

The imperial model of concentration and speculation has also caused an institutional crisis that is characterized by an unequal and unjust distribution of power in the world in particular within the UN system, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.

As a result of all these developments, peoples’ social rights are endangered. The promise of equality and justice for the whole world becomes more and more remote and nature itself is threatened with extinction.

We have reached a limit, and global action is urgently needed to save society, humanity and Mother Earth.

Bolivia has started to take steps to address these issues. Up to 2005, Bolivia applied a neoliberal policy that resulted in concentration of wealth, social inequality and poverty, increasing marginalization, discrimination and social exclusion.

In Bolivia, the historic struggles waged by social movements, in particular the indigenous peasant movement, have allowed us to initiate a Democratic and Cultural Revolution, through the ballot box and without the use of violence. This revolution is rooting out exclusion, exploitation, hunger and hatred, and it is rebuilding the path of balance, complementarity, and consensus with its own identity, Vivir Bien.

Beginning in 2006, the Bolivian government introduced a new economic and social policy, enshrined in a new community-based socioeconomic and productive model, the pillars of which are nationalization of natural resources, recovery of the economic surplus for the benefit of all Bolivians, redistribution of the wealth, and active participation of the State in the economy.

In 2006, the Bolivian government and people made their most significant political, economic and social decision: nationalization of the country’s hydrocarbons, the central axis of our revolution. The state thereby participates in and controls the ownership of our hydrocarbons and processes our natural gas.

Contrary to the neoliberal prescription that economic growth ought to be based on external market demand (“export or die”), our new model has relied on a combination of exports with a domestic market growth that is primarily driven by income-redistribution policies, successive increases in the national minimum wage, annual salary increases in excess of the inflation rate, cross subsidies and conditional cash transfers to the neediest.

As a consequence, the Bolivian GDP has increased from $9.0 billion to over $30.0 billion over the past eight years.

Our nationalized hydrocarbons, economic growth and cost austerity policy have helped the country generate budget surpluses for eight years in a row, in sharp contrast with the recurrent budget deficits experienced by Bolivia for more than 66 years.

When we took over the country’s administration, the ratio between the wealthiest and poorest Bolivians was 128 fold. This ratio has been cut down to 46 fold. Bolivia now is one of the top six countries in our region with the best income distribution.

It has been shown that the peoples have options and that we can overcome the fate imposed by colonialism and neoliberalism.

These achievements produced in such a short span are attributable to the social and political awareness of the Bolivian people.

We have recovered our nation for all of us. Ours was a nation that had been alienated by the neoliberal model, a nation that lived under the old and evil system of political parties, a nation that was ruled from abroad, as if we were a colony.

We are no longer an unviable country as we were described by the international financial institutions. We are no longer an ungovernable country as the US empire would have us believe.

Today, the Bolivian people have recovered their dignity and pride, and we believe in our strength, our destiny and ourselves.

I want to tell the entire world in the most humble terms that the only wise architects who can change their future are the peoples themselves.

Therefore, we intend to build another world, and several tasks have been designed to establish the society of Vivir Bien.

First: We must move from sustainable development to comprehensive development [desarrollo integral] so that we can live well and in harmony and balance with Mother Earth.

We need to construct a vision that is different from the western capitalist development model. We must move from the sustainable development paradigm to the Bien Vivir comprehensive development approach that seeks not only a balance among human beings, but also a balance and harmony with our Mother Earth.
Read more: lifeonleft.blogspot.com

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 20:10

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