Huge Demonstration in Bolivia

October 22, 2006

Granma International reports that on October 12, "thousands of indigenous people and campesinos came together today in La Paz, seat of the Bolivian executive, for a huge demonstration that turned into a show of support for President Evo Morales, whose government is facing rumors of a coup d’état."

"With or without Evo Morales this cultural democratic revolution is going ahead, nobody is going to stop the change in Bolivia, sisters and brothers," the leader affirmed.

Close to 30,000 people, holding up flags from Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and other nations, came together in the Plaza de los Héroes in central La Paz.

"They will try to offend, humiliate and stop us," added Morales, and stressed that "nobody is going to stop the Constituent Assembly; nobody is going to stop the recovery and nationalization of our natural resources."

AFP reported that the Bolivian president praised the literacy programs that are reaching 250,000 people in his country, and Operation Miracle, a project consisting of free surgical treatment by Cuban doctors for poor patients with visual disorders.

On October 11, an article on Bolivia by Nidia Diaz in Granma International says in part:

The three horsemen of the Apocalypse are galloping wildly through Bolivia. The national right, the media power that represents it and the empire have joined forces to destroy the project that, under the leadership of Evo Morales the indigenous president, aspires to ensure that the country is no longer the illiterate beggar of Latin America, subject to historical discrimination...

This is an evil that was coming from when the people voted for the coca leader in the elections, but when on May 1 the president decided on the nationalization of hydrocarbons and announced the implementation of a real Agrarian Reform Act, the rich conservatives from the so-called half-moon in the east of the country -- where oil, gas and mineral deposits are concentrated -- were shocked rigid and sleepless...

It is within this scenario of confrontation that the governors of the wealthy departments of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Tarija -- the Bolivian half-moon in the east -- have declared their insubordination to the Constituent Assembly and have threatened it with not recognizing the new Charter that is being prepared if the Assembly maintains its original and founding nature...

What it is about is to prevent the rights of the Bolivian people from being duly expressed in the Constitution, including, of course, the control of natural resources and a just and equitable distribution of wealth, together with the passing of any other article that is not in line with their interests.

Despite the campaigns in the media discrediting the government and President Evo Morales in particular, in just eight months of his mandate he has succeeded in instigating the nationalization of hydrocarbons and their profits are reverting to the benefit of the people for the first time.

Historically, Bolivia received $539 million from the energy sector in terms of taxes and profits. After the new Hydrocarbons Act that figure rose to $1.107 billion and it is expected that by the end of the year the benefits will be in excess of $1.416 billion, to be directed to social programs. In the midst of such pushes it has emerged that some of the media owners, specifically those most virulently against the president and his revolutionary process, are known landowners who perceive their interests affected by a genuine agrarian reform, against which they have begun to arm groups euphemistically called "land self-defense," but which are no more than paramilitary bands with the objective of sowing terror and panic in the Bolivian rural areas.

All of this is compounded by the existing societal impact of solidarity reaching the country from Cuba and Venezuela in spheres as important as those of health and education, and the growing international response of support for the process, including the possibility of egalitarian and respectful negotiations leading to Chile providing the sea exit that would so much benefit the economy of that Andean nation.

With these and other bilateral agreements the Evo Morales government is demonstrating that one does not have to renounce sovereignty to undertake actions in favor of the people because, as Bolívar stated, it is about giving the people the greatest sum of happiness.

Nothing or nobody can prevent that.