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WATCH: AT UN, Evo Morales Denounces IMF, CNN, Old Order as UNCA Demands 1st Question
Evo Morales Makes Very Clear What the Non-Profit Industrial Complex Will Not
By Matthew Russell Lee, United Nations, Feb 20, 2013
When Bolivian President Evo Morales held a UN press conference on Wednesday, he was raring to speak about his privatization of airports and natural resources, and “robbery,” as he put it to Inner City Press, by the International Monetary Fund.
It was the trendy grain quinoa that brought Evo Morales to New York, by way of Caracas where he tried to visit bed-ridden Hugo Chavez.
Inner City Press on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access thanked Morales for his press conference, which ended up taking nearly an hour, then asked about corporations and corporate dominance of the UN. Video here from Minute 11:52.
Morales had complained that transnational corporations had tried to block the declaration of the International Year of Quinoa. Inner City Press asked him to name them, and what he thought of corporate involvement in UN programs on water, and on climate change.
Bank of America, for example, has been allowed to put its chairman on Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s high level group on sustainable energy for all, despite BofA being the biggest funder of mountain top removal coal mining.
Morales got into the question, rattling off changes in Bolivia since he became president: increases in the number of Bolivians with bank accounts, the introduction of loans at six percent rather than thirty six percent, increase in reserves.
He called for an investigation of the IMF, how much money it “stole” from Latin America.
He criticized his US counterpart Barack Obama, joking that the only reasons the USA doesn’t have a coup d’etat is that there is no American ambassador inside the US.
But before all this, he was delayed by a demand from a decaying UN partner. Morales called on a Latina reporter for the first question, but got stopped. It was demanded that he call on the UN Correspondents’ Association, which has put its name on the corner front row seat.
Morales shook his head, why? He continued to call on who he’d called on.
[Click here, or see the video above, to watch the more that one minute UNCA fiasco, video here from Minute 4:55 to 6:05. And see sample letter, below.]
“But it’s tradition,” Evo Morales was told, loudly. Some thought, so was Mubarak. So was colonialism. UNCA has to have a better argument than that — but doesn’t.
Despite this “presence at all briefings” being the first point at the recent annual UNCA meeting run by president Pamela Falk of CBS, she was not there. (Click here for audio of Part 1 of that February 15 UNCA meeting.)
Rather the UNCA seat was taken by a mostly retired Reuters reporter, who for what it’s worth ran for an UNCA seat “at large” and lost. (We note this only because the person has been deployed several times to hiss during briefings that UNCA is “the legitimate group,” and once to on-mic call Inner City Press’ question to the president of ECOSOC, also about the IMF, “ranting.”)
Falk’s first vice president Louis Charbonneau of Reuters insisted that the UNCA seat and question can be filled by ANY member of UNCA.
This has created a situation in which only those who pay dues money to UNCA can get the first question — pay to play.
The first question, so hard won, led nowhere: it parroted a concern raised by Ban Ki-moon. Does UNCA work for Ban Ki-moon, as alleged, essentially the UN Censorship Alliance? It seems so.
After Morales’ long answer to Inner City Press’ question on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access, FUNCA, other questions touched on Syria (Morales said interventions are led by capitalism | http://youtu.be/UyxC9VU_Nnk ) and on his standoff with Chile about access to the sea.
Morales chided CNN for calling those arrested by Chile “officials;” he said they are conscripted soldiers. He said some leaders use their countries to make money, or to make money for corporations.
Morales criticized the old order. And in microcosm it was present, in the form of UNCA and its arrogant insistence that it get the first question no matter what.
Its time is over — especially since UNCA spent most of 2012 trying to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN for stories that it wrote, questioning France, Sri Lanka and conflicts of interest. Its time is over. Watch this site.
Update: correspondence is rolling in from around the world in the hours after the UNCA fiasco. Here is a sample email from Germany:
Subject: UNCA and Morales
Date: Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 6:32 PM
To: matthew.lee [at] innercitypress.com, funca [at] funca.info
Hi Matthew, I do not agree with everything you write, but I have to tell you today, that UNCA’s behavior at President Morales’ press conference today is a scandal and an embarrassment for the press corps and the UN! I was shocked to see how that lady in seat 1A refused to let the microphone go, almost like kids fighting for a ball. A disgusting performace watched by the whole world!
I truly hope you will succeed in convincing the UN that times have changed and the childish attitude of some UNCA reporters is a shame! How low to refuse a visiting head of state allow the first question to a reporter of his choice !
UNCA is holding the UN hostage. I trust opposition to this situation will grow stronger and sooner or later the UN will have to recognize that their partner is the PRESS and not UNCA !
I was shocked witnessing how that UNCA lady was fighting for the microphone and disregarding the will of President Morales.
You can pass on this my email to whom it may concern at the UN [and beyond, done.]
Best regards “S.D.” Munich Germany
[Again, click here, or see the video above, to watch the UNCA fiasco, from Minute 4:55]