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The Left’s Unsung Success Story: Evo Morales’s Big Win

Counterpunch

Nov 5, 2014

by Serge Halimi

http://i2.wp.com/images.latinpost.com/data/images/full/23336/bolivia-votes-for-a-new-president.jpg

AP Photo/Juan Karita

In times of crisis, a head of state who gets re-elected in the first round, having already served two terms, is a rarity indeed. One such is Evo Morales, whose win, with 61% of the vote, should have received more attention than it did. All the more so since he pulled off this electoral feat in Bolivia — which had five different presidents between 2001 and 2005. His victory follows a 25% reduction in poverty, an 87% real-terms increase in the minimum wage, a lowering of the retirement age (1) and an annual growth rate of over 5% — all since 2006. Given how often we’re told we need to overcome our disenchantment with politics, why hasn’t this good news been more widely reported? Could it be because it stems from progressive reforms implemented by leftwing regimes?

The mainstream media are as reluctant to talk about leftwing Latin American governments’ success stories, they also, to be fair, omit the failures of conservative regimes, including in the security arena. This year, for example, five journalists have been assassinated in Mexico, including Atilano Román Tirado, who was killed while recording a radio programme last month. Tirado had often demanded compensation, on air, on behalf of 800 families who lost their homes through the construction of a new dam. His willingness to get involved carried a deadly risk in a country where abductions, torture and assassinations have become everyday occurrences, especially for those who question the rotten, mafia-infested social order.

On 26 and 27 September, 43 students from the town of Iguala in the state of Guerrero, 130km from Mexico City, held protests against the neoliberal education reforms introduced by President Enrique Peña Nieto. Local police intercepted their bus and took them to an unknown destination. There they were probably handed over to a drug cartel, who were to execute them and conceal their remains in clandestine graves. There have been many discoveries of such graves in Mexico in the past few weeks, some full of burnt, dismembered bodies. Iguala’s mayor and security director have fled and the authorities are now looking for them.

Peña Nieto has won adulation in the business press (2) for opening up the energy sector to the multinationals. France has awarded him the Légion d’Honneur. Will his admirers question him one day over the almost complete impunity that corrupt policemen and elected officials in Mexico enjoy? Perhaps the major western print media, intellectuals, the US, Spain and France are hesitant about what questions to ask the Mexican president. In which case they only have to imagine what would have leapt to mind had the student massacre had taken place in Ecuador, Cuba or Venezuela. Or indeed in Bolivia, where President Morales has just been re-elected.

Serge Halimi is president of Le Monde diplomatique.

Notes.

(1) From 60 to 58 for men and from 60 to 55 for women with three or more children.

(2) See “Aztec tiger begins to sharpen its claws”, Financial Times supplement, London, 28 June 2013. The sharpening was apparently complete by 16 December, when the Wall Street Journal hailed “the Mexican model” in an editorial.

 

President Morales: Bolivia Won’t Tolerate Conspiracy by NGOs

Prensa Latina, La Paz,

Dec 2, 2013

evo_morales_copia1

Evo Morales ends 2013 with an approval rating of 60 percent

President Evo Morales said today that as a matter of dignity, his government will not allow any conspiracies by nongovernmental organizations accredited here. “As a matter of dignity of the Bolivian people, we will not allow any NGO to use its funds to plot against democracy and the national government,” said Morales.

Morales told journalists that the Bolivian people have the constitutional right to do politics, but not to plot with foreign capital.

“But some ONGs come here to conspire, funding opponents who come and treat us as if we were uneducated, looking down on us as any master or empire would do, and this is will not be permitted,” he said.

Morales also described as positive the work carried out by some NGOs that contribute and coordinate their efforts with municipal governments and mayors to promote social development. That kind of cooperation is guaranteed by his government, he said.

On Friday, Minister of the Presidency Juan Ramon Quintana announced the expulsion of the Danish NGO Ibis for promoting division within Bolivian social organizations.

“Ibis must leave Bolivia because we were able to prove its political interference and intolerable behaviour aimed at influencing social organizations to divide them and trigger clashes among the people,” Quintana said at a press conference.

[TIPNIS] Alvaro Garcia Linera: Geopolitics of the Amazon – Part V (Final)

[TIPNIS] Alvaro Garcia Linera: Geopolitics of the Amazon – Part V (Final)

[To see the Table of Contents, click here. A glossary of terms and acronyms appearing in the text will be found here. Translation by Richard Fidler, Life on the Left]

On so-called “extractivism”

Since Marx, we know that what characterizes and differentiates societies is the way in which they organize the production, distribution and use of the material and symbolic resources they possess. In other words, the mode of production[1] is what defines the material content of the social life of the distinct human territorial collectivities (nations, peoples, communities), within which there can be differentiated the historically specific form in which each of their components develop, and the manner in which various existing modes of production interrelate within the same society.

[TIPNIS] Alvaro Garcia Linera: Geopolitics of the Amazon – Part IV

[TIPNIS] Alvaro Garcia Linera: Geopolitics of the Amazon – Part IV

[To see the Table of Contents, click here. A glossary of terms and acronyms appearing in the text will be found here. Translated by Richard Fidler, Life on the Left]

Three colonialist fallacies of opponents of the proposed TIPNIS roadway

The first fallacy is the argument that with the highway the coca leaf producers will invade the TIPNIS. There is at this point no type of coercive measure that prevents them entering the Park using the roads that already exist within it; however, they are not doing so. Moreover, the unions of coca producers were the very ones that in 1990 defined with the government a “red line” within the TIPNIS that they voluntarily agreed not to cross. Since then, any compañero who crosses that line, instead of counting on the support of his union and federation, is liable to be removed from where he is living by the law enforcement agencies, as has happened in recent months. Compliance with this demarcation is now the responsibility of the coca leaf producers themselves, and not the result of any public force or law that prevents them from approaching.

[TIPNIS] Alvaro Garcia Linera: Geopolitics of the Amazon – Part III

[To see the Table of Contents, click here. A glossary of terms and acronyms appearing in the text will be found here.Translation by Richard Fidler, Life on the Left]

The historic demand for construction of a road to unite the Amazon valleys and plains

But first let us analyze the history of the demand for construction of this highway that would have to pass through the TIPNIS. Is it true that it is part of a sinister plan for “inter-oceanic corridors that would pillage the forests and suck us into the vortex of the Brazilian empire,” as the recipe of some NGOs would have it?[1]

The historical need for a road connecting the Andean zone with the Amazon region, through what used to be called the “Mountains of the Yuracarees,” now the Isiboro-Sécure park, dates back more than 300 years.

Convincing Proof Against USAID

Juan Carlos Zambrana Marchetti

Newspaper Cambio

July 28,2012

As hard as we try to expose all of the mechanisms of interventionism, these are so diverse that some of them slip through our fingers after we have had the evidence in hand. This is the curious story of how, after more than a year, I was able to tie down the loose end that had escaped me when I denounced the event called Danger in the Andes: The Threats to Democracy, Human Rights, and Inter-American security.

A few days ago I was interviewed by the renowned journalist Jorge Gestoso for his program, De Frente. With a sharpness of thought perfected through his years of experience, he had made a connection that escaped me. Attempting to give me the opportunity to correct the oversight, he read the following fragment from my article: “During the second panel, on terrorism, the panelists demonized Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador as anti-American, and they described the end of the world caused by those three countries with nuclear arms built with the support of Iran. Obviously, they did not allow me to ask any more questions because Jose Cardenas, the moderator of the first panel, had already passed on the information about me to Otto Reich, the moderator of the second.” After explaining that Otto Reich was the former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs during the government of George W. Bush, Gestoso raised his head and asked me, point-blank: “Who is Jose Cardenas?”

I was dumfounded, not knowing what to answer, because it had not even crossed my mind that the name could be as relevant as that of the other big shots on whom I had concentrated more that afternoon at the Capitol, when I found myself surrounded by the most radical of the Republican hounds who were preparing the invasion of Latin America. I did not remember the name, because in my article I had mentioned him only as the moderator of the first panel, and had bypassed the details of who Jose Cardenas might have been in his professional life. In order to finesse the predicament, I answered with what I had thought when I was writing the article: he is just another politician, of Latin American origin and rightist. I saw the disappointment in Jorge’s face, but, with the professionalism that characterizes him, he let the awkward moment pass. From then on, the interview was somewhat uncomfortable for me, because I could not stop thinking about why the name of Jose Cardenas had not led me to recall anything of relevance.

When I got home, I retrieved the recording of the event and paid attention to the introduction made on behalf of the sponsors –the Hudson Institute, a committee of experts (think tank) in Washington dedicated to “global security, prosperity, and freedom.” It was explained that the event was divided into two panels. The first of these would focus on the internal dangers for three Latin American countries: Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. The second would focus on the external threats to democracy for those same countries, dangers that, according to them, derived from links with the radical Islamism of Iran, drug trafficking, and terrorism.

Jose Cárdenas was the moderator of the first panel, for whom the internal threats to democracy in the mentioned countries were, supposedly, violations of the freedom of the press, violations of human rights, and the concentration of power in the hands of the president. Cardenas explained it this way:  “let me start by saying that we really want to recognize the courage of many of the speakers here today, who actually live in the countries they will be talking about… because many of this speakers that we reached out to have expressed to us a concern, a fear of  speaking out in public for fear of retribution when  they return to their countries. And, just keep that in mind as a backdrop as to why we are here to discuss the internal situation in those countries. Think of it as ostensibly (ph) a democracy where citizens have an overt fear of speaking out in public, for fear of retribution.”

I was surprised at the immense capacity for manipulation shown by the gentleman, and the shamelessness of using such a grotesque lie to influence from the start the receptivity of the audience. In retrospect, his falsity can be demonstrated by the fact that none of the panelists, despite their open campaigns of slander against the mentioned leftist governments, has been persecuted, and far less have there been any attempts against their lives.

The panelists whom Mr. Cardenas presented to prove the internal threat of the democracies in “the Andes” were the following. Guillermo Zuluaga spoke in the name of freedom of the press, and denied his political campaign of media manipulation against President Chávez. The supposed violations of human rights were denounced by Javier El-Hage, speaking for the Human Rights Foundation, an NGO that was involved with the separatism of Santa Cruz through his support for Cruzan rightists in their campaign for autonomy. The accusation of concentration of power was handled by Luis Nunez, President of the Civic Committee for Santa Cruz, an institution opposed to President Morales and linked not only to the dictatorships of the past but also to the right-wing governments and to the secret societies that controlled power in Santa Cruz. The said Civic Committee was also linked to the same movement for autonomy that resulted in the attempted coup d’etat, the planned assassination of President Morales, to the case of terrorism, and the separatism of the eastern departments.

All of these “dignitaries,” who created a Dantesque vision of reality, were being praised, defended, justified, and even portrayed as victims by the moderator of the panel, Mr. Jose Cardenas. It was time, then, to turn to the official document of the event and look for the professional past that I had failed to notice. Jose Cardenas was USAID’s sub-regional director for Latin America during the administration of George W. Bush, but also a member of the National Security Council at the White House during that same administration that made history by adopting the policy of “preemptive strike,” which can be interpreted as the right to attack, without warning or provocation, any country that develops weapons or mechanisms perceived by Washington as dangerous for its “national security.”

How to explain such diversity in the talents of José Cardenas? On one hand, at USAID he carried out the “humanitarian” functions of helping our countries to conquer poverty, but, at the same time, he was part of the National Security Council that granted itself the power of attacking the whole world? We know, according to the same event at the Capitol, that national security is simply another of the excuses with which the United States intends to invade Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. But that’s no surprise, because that has been the Trojan horse of the wars of the United States. What is new in this case is for those plans to be connected openly with USAID, which supposedly carries out only humanitarian functions.

Perhaps the organizers of the event intended to keep hidden USAID’s political-military goal of facilitating in Latin America the dark projects of the “national security” of the United States. But resorting to dividing the panel into two parts and to leave Cardenas in charge of only the first part, was not enough to hide forever the evidence that USAID, unquestionably, functions as one more of the mechanisms for intervention of the United States. Further, it coordinates everything that it does with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the governmental agency that promotes a democracy complacent with U.S. interests, and with the NGOs through which it channels ample resources for the same purposes. Those three mechanisms for intervention acted in unison in the incessant campaign of destabilization against the process of change in Bolivia, and they continue to do it in the sister nations that advance similar processes.

The regional decision to expel USAID definitively must materialize as soon as possible, because this agency of the U.S. government serves as a Trojan horse designed to destroy from the inside the governments of its former area of influence, which now resist its policies. Its mask of humanitarianism allows it to draw close to its victims, and to gain the trust of the most humble sectors, in order to make way for the invasion of those same peoples. The case of Jose Cardenas, providing services in two organizations with goals officially so opposed, is also proof of the notorious system of the revolving door, by means of which are rotated in their different organizations the representatives of the different power groups that defend the status quo, which defends by any and all means the interests of capital against the interests of the peoples. USAID must be expelled as soon as possible from Latin America.

 

BOLIVIA | ¿Por qué se defiende el tipnis?

Uploaded June 28, 2012

Jorge Capelán, Lizzie Phelan and Toni Solo Discuss USAID and Western NGOs in Latin America

 tortilla con sal blog

26/06/2012

Jorge Capelán, Lizzie Phelan and toni solo discuss the recent announcement by President Daniel Ortega on the future of USAID development cooperation in Nicaragua and the US government’s politically motivated denial of the “transparency” waiver..

Click link below to listen to podcast (English):

http://tortillaconsal.com/tortilla/es/node/11418

 

Anti-democratic Offensive

By May 11, 2012

As the United States Departments of State and Defense gear up for a new round of destabilization campaigns in South America in 2013 and 2014, the second generation of democratic renewal under leaders like Evo Morales faces a grave threat. Unlike the crude coups and dictatorships of the Cold War and earlier banana republics, this anti-democratic offensive makes exaggerated use of ephemeral pseudo activism in the form of color revolutions used so extensively by the CIA in North Africa and Eastern Europe. Recent snubbing of the US and Canada by South American governments at the Organization of American States may signal a resistance to returning to the days of old, but until they reject neoliberalism and its corrupting influence, they are still susceptible to international markets opening the door to US military control.

[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, an author, a correspondent to Fourth World Eye, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as the administrative director of Public Good Project.]

SUPPORT BOLIVIAN PRESIDENT EVO MORALES AGAINST ESCALATING DESTABILIZATION CAMPAIGNS

Image: 2010. Note that Morales greets his Indigenous sisters and brothers freely, without need of intense security /body guards.

“As the United States Departments of State and Defense gear up for a new round of destabilization campaigns in South America in 2013 and 2014, the second generation of democratic renewal under leaders like Evo Morales faces a grave threat. Unlike the crude coups and dictatorships of the Cold War and earlier banana republics, this anti-democratic offensive makes exaggerated use of ephemeral pseudo activism in the form of color revolutions used so extensively by the CIA in North Africa and Eastern Europe. Recent snubbing of the US and Canada by South American governments at the Organization of American States may signal a resistance to returning to the days of old, but until they reject neoliberalism and its corrupting influence, they are still susceptible to international markets opening the door to US military control.” – Jay Taber, Center for World Indigenous Studies Website

 

National Meeting (Quito, April 29, 2012) of former Indigenous Leaders of Ecuador -Encuentro Nacional de ex Dirigentes Indígenas del Ecuador- (with the participation of a hundred historical leaders of the peoples and nationalities of Ecuador)

 

Our friend and comrade Evo Morales Ayma, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is currently facing growing destabilization attempts, seeking to weaken his government, which was democratically reelected, and thus to truncate the Cultural and Democratic Revolutionary process that he has been heading since 2006.

 

Evo Morales Ayma, as a Latin American leader formed in the heat of the struggles of the indigenous peoples to change neocolonialist and capitalist relations, has been able to guiding a process of historical transformations that has been a contribution not only to his country, but to the region and the world.

 

He has set up the basis for the new Plurinational State of Bolivia, with a long-term perspective orientated by the philosophy of Vivir Bien (Living Well), for the construction of which a whole series of State policies are being put in place, focusing on decolonization, depatriarchalization, strengthening sovereignty and in depth socio-economic change.

 

He has been able to introduce fundamental aspects of the worldviews of our peoples in the most recent global debates, putting forward concrete initiatives to defend the rights of Mother Earth, and with an active participation in integration initiatives from and for the peoples, such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

 

These enormous steps of progress have been possible due to the leading role played by the Bolivian people, following the principle of ‘ruling by obeying’ in the exercise of government.  This popular support has been crucial for facing the tenacious opposition engaging national and international interests and forces, which has resorted to all sorts of means of disrupting this process of change: from direct violence to symbolic racist violence, from coup conspiracies to the manipulation of popular causes.

 

From the indigenous peoples of Abya Yala, and from all those of us who feel part of the historic changes that the region is going through, we express our unconditional support for President Evo Morales Ayma, as well as our commitment to the defense and advancement of the Cultural and Democratic Revolution in Bolivia.

 

Masi, Mashi, Ir?, Comrade, we support you!

 

Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Peace Nobel Prize, Guatemala

Ricardo Ulcuango Farinango, Ambassador of Ecuador to Bolivia

Irene León, Sociologist, Ecuador

Magdalena León T., Economist, Ecuador

Manuel Imbaquingo, Indigenous Leader, Ecuador

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WATCH: President Morales Speaks to Imperialism

Also read:

U.S. Orchestrated Color Revolutions to Sweep Across Latin America in 2013-2014