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Evo Morales at Copenhagen: `Shameful' for West to spend trillions on war and just $10 billion for climate change

December 16, 2009 -- Democracy Now! -- In a press conference on December 16, Bolivia's President Evo Morales said, “The budget of the United States is US$687 billion for defence. And for climate change, to save life, to save humanity, they only put up $10 billion. This is shameful.”

AMY GOODMAN: As we wrap up today's broadcast with a leader from another side of the world, from Latin America, we’re going to turn right now to Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, who, just a few minutes ago, finished a speech in the next room. He just recently arrived here in Copenhagen. The Bolivian President Morales.

    PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] And if we don’t—and I repeat this—we’re going to end our lives, all of us. So, as with the last country and with our black and indigenous brothers who were treated as slaves, and their rights were not recognised, now, today, too, our Mother Earth, she is treated as if she were a thing without life, as if she didn’t have rights.

    The second climate debt is the use of atmospheric space by the developed countries. It’s not possible that atmospheric space be the exclusive property of just a few countries for their development, that the countries that are irrationally industrialised have taken over, with their greenhouse gases, the atmospheric space. To pay this debt, they should reduce their emissions and absorb their greenhouse gases in a way that there exists a fair distribution of atmospheric space between all of the countries, taking into consideration their population, because the countries that are on the path of development need atmospheric space for their development.

    The third component of climate debt is the paying of reparations, reparations for damages that have been created by the irrationally industrialised countries. For humanity together, it’s shameful that the Western countries have only offered $10 billion for climate change. I was looking at some figures. The United States—how much does the United States spend to export terrorism to Afghanistan, to export terrorism to Iraq, and to export military bases to South America? They don’t only spend millions, but billions and trillions. I hope our figures are not wrong. For example, Obama, he asked his Congress for $40 billion more than what has already been spent. The budget of the United States is $687 billion for defence. And for climate change, to save life, to save humanity, they only put up $10 billion. This is shameful. The budget for the Iraq war, according to the figures we have, is $2.6 trillion for the Iraq war, to go kill in Iraq. Trillions of dollars. But directed towards paying the climate debt, $10 billion. This is completely unfair. These are our deep observations of what’s going on. That’s why—for the war, while trillions are going to the wars, on the other hand, to save humanity and the planet, they only want to direct $10 billion.

    The rich countries should take in all of the migrants who will be generated by climate change or affected by climate change. I think our brothers from Africa, our indigenous brothers from [inaudible], have a lot of moral authority. We have been invaded, supposedly discovered in Africa or Latin America, when in reality it was an invasion and plundering of indigenous peoples. Therefore, now, in the face of the asymmetries between continents, our brothers come looking for work, and they’re kicked out of Europe, they’re kicked out of the United States. But our grandparents never kicked anyone out, and our brothers and sisters don’t come here to take hectares of land or mines. They only come to improve their economic situation. Moreover, when they’re affected by this climate change, how is it possible they would be expulsed from Europe when they are climate refugees? How is it possible that our brothers and sisters are not taken under and protected? That’s why—therefore, our protest in the face of this discrimination to expulse immigrants, when we have never kicked immigrants out, we’ve never sent them home—

AMY GOODMAN: Bolivia's President Evo Morales, just finishing up a speech here at the Bella Center, at the climate talks.

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Also click here to see the joint press conference of the ALBA (Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela) representatives at COP15, December 10, 2009.


Evo Morales Suggests World Referendum on Climate Change

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 17 (acn) Bolivian President Evo Morales on Thursday proposed a world referendum on climate change during his speech at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that is underway in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Speaking to the plenary of the summit, Morales said that discussing the effects of global warming and not the causes is hypocritical.

Prensa Latina news agency reports that the new initiative of the Bolivian leader includes five questions that all citizens of the world should answer to determine the steps that governments should take.

The questions suggested by Evo Morales are the following: Should the civil society be in harmony with nature? Should the excessive consumerist habits of today’s world be changed? Should the emission of polluting gases be reduced to 1%? Should today’s huge military budgets be earmarked for the fight against climate change? And, should there be an International Court of Justice to defend Mother Earth?

The Bolivian head of state, who said that rich countries should pay climate change reparations, added: “Our objective is to save humanity and not just half of humanity. We are here to save Mother Earth.” “The real cause of climate change is the capitalist system. If we want to save the earth then we must end that economic model. Capitalism wants to address climate change with carbon markets. We denounce those markets and the countries which [promote them]. It’s time to stop making money from the disgrace that they have perpetrated,” he continued.

“Let’s eradicate poverty and bring in climate justice. If capitalism resists we have to do battle with it. If we do not, then mankind, the greatest creation in the universe, will disappear,” he concluded.

re: Evo Morales Suggests World Referendum on Climate Change

"The questions suggested by Evo Morales are the following: Should the civil society be in harmony with nature? Should the excessive consumerist habits of today’s world be changed? Should the emission of polluting gases be reduced to 1%? Should today’s huge military budgets be earmarked for the fight against climate change? And, should there be an International Court of Justice to defend Mother Earth?"

These questions are exactly what all of us US citizens in particular need to be asking. Americans (unless they've traveled to other parts of the world) have no idea how good they have it. We are a country full of consumers who want more, unable to appreciate the basics in life. For example, my neighbor insists on having to have his satellite tv because god forbid he and his family go without television where most parts of the world people go without food and shelter.

US Senate approves US$636 billion military spending bill

Senate approves $636 billion military spending bill
Andy Sullivan

Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:45am EST

A Lockheed Martin Corp. F-22A fighter jet is pictured in this undated
photograph. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Handout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate approved a $636 billion military
spending bill on Saturday that funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
and also includes money to extend jobless aid and Medicare payment rates
for two months.


By a vote of 88-10, the Senate approved the bill and sent it to
President Barack Obama to sign into law. The House of Representatives
passed the bill on Wednesday.

The bill covers Pentagon operations through September 30, 2010. But the
$128 billion approved for ongoing wars probably will not be enough to
cover Obama's plans to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

The spending bill represents a partial victory for Obama and Defense
Secretary Robert Gates, who had sought to eliminate unwanted weapons
programs over the objections of lawmakers who see them as a source of
skilled manufacturing jobs.

Congress eliminated funding for Lockheed Martin Corp's F-22 fighter jet,
as Obama had requested.

But lawmakers funded 10 more Boeing Co C-17 transport planes than the
Pentagon had asked for, at a cost of $2.5 billion.

Congress also kept alive over the Pentagon's objections the troubled
VH-71 presidential helicopter, made by Lockheed, and an alternate engine
for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter made by General Electric Co and Rolls
Royce Group Plc.

Congress has now finished work on its spending bills for the fiscal year
that started October 1. Those bills, which do not include expensive
benefit programs or the $787 billion economic stimulus package passed in
February, total 4.1 percent more than last year.

That is lower than the 7.5 percent annual increase over the past decade,
thanks to the declining costs of the Iraq war. But Obama's Afghanistan
troop increase is likely to erase those cost savings.

The bill includes 1,720 earmarks costing $4.2 billion for lawmakers' pet
projects, according to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Obama has said he would like to eliminate earmarks, which have figured
in several corruption scandals.

The bill also would extend a handful of unrelated programs that
otherwise would expire at the end of the year, or have expired already.

Programs extended through February 28, 2010, include:

* Jobless benefits and health-insurance subsidies for the unemployed

* The antiterrorism USA Patriot Act, which gives law enforcement
enhanced investigative powers

* Current reimbursement rates for doctors under the national Medicare
health insurance program for the elderly, averting a 21 percent pay cut

* Current highway and transit programs

* Loosened regulations designed to encourage small business lending. The
Small Business Administration will continue to waive or reduce its loan
fees and back 90 percent of the loans it oversees

* A law that allows satellite television providers to retransmit
broadcast-TV signals

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