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Bolivia

Bolivia: Why did Evo Morales win?

By Atilio A. Boron, translated by Richard Fidler

December 8, 2009 -- Rebelión -- A week ago we were celebrating the triumph of Pepe Mujica in Uruguay. Today we have renewed, and more profound reasons, to celebrate the extraordinary electoral victory of Bolivia’s President Evo Morales [on December 6]. [See also Bolivian movement of social transformation continues to inspire the world.]

Cuba and ALBA let down Sri Lanka’s Tamils

By Ron Ridenour

"Those who are exploited are our compatriots all over the world; and the exploiters all over the world are our enemies… Our country is really the whole world, and all the revolutionaries of the world are our brothers." -- Fidel Castro.[1]

“The revolutionary [is] the ideological motor force of the revolution…if he forgets his proletarian internationalism, the revolution which he leads will cease to be an inspiring force and he will sink into a comfortable lethargy, which imperialism, our irreconcilable enemy, will utilize well. Proletarian internationalism is a duty, but it is also a revolutionary necessity. So we educate our people.” -- Che Guevara.[2]

November 14, 2009 -- I think that the governments of Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua let down the entire Tamil population in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, as well as “proletarian internationalism” and the “exploited”, by extending unconditional support to Sri Lanka’s racist government.

Hugo Blanco: Indigenous people are the vanguard of the fight to save the Earth

October 13, 2009 -- Socialist Voice -- Peruvian peasant leader Hugo Blanco, who edits the newspaper La Lucha Indigena, was interviewed on August 28, 2009, in Arequipa, in southern Peru. The previous day he gave a presentation at a conference entitled “40 Años de la Reforma Agraria” at the city’s Universidad Nacional de San Agustín.

You said last night that today the Indigenous peoples of the Amazon are in the vanguard of the struggle in Peru. Can you say more about this?

Claudio Katz on Latin America, the right and imperialism: `The solution to the crisis of capitalism has to be political'

Claudio Katz.

Claudio Katz interviewed by Fernando Arellano Ortiz. Translated by John Mage for IIRE.

July 10, 2009 -- The exit from the systemic crisis of capitalism needs to be political and "a socialist project can mature in this turbulence". So says the Argentine economist, philosopher and sociologist Claudio Katz, who also warns that the "global economic situation is very serious and is going to have to hit bottom, and now we are but in the first moment of crisis".

Bolivia's vice-president defends MAS government’s record

Interview with with Álvaro García Linera, vice-president of Bolivia, by Maristella Svampa, Pablo Stefanoni and Ricardo Bajo, from August 2009 Bolivian edition of Le Monde Diplomatique. English translation and notes by Richard Fidler for the Bolivia Rising blog. Available in Spanish at http://tinyurl.com/kle4vt.

September 11, 2009 --  What is the explanation for the weakening of the opposition after more than two years of confrontations?

For President Evo Morale’s government the Constituent Assembly offered the possibility of arming a broad collective ensemble of all the country’s social forces. We placed ourselves at the head of this effort to build a new constitutional consensus. Internally, within the people, we had to pull together the popular bloc — not an easy task, because there was a lot of corporate diversity — and then we had to follow this up with the opening to the other social sectors, who are an important opposition albeit a minority.

The Economist forced to back down over lies on Venezuela and Bolivia

The Economist echoed the lies of the Santa Cruz `autonomy' thugs (captured on video above).

By Francisco Dominguez

August 3, 2009 -- The July 18, 2009, edition of The Economist contained an article on Bolivia ("Bolivia's divisive president. The Permanent Campaign") which asserted that, “Venezuelan troops helped quell a rebellion centred on the airport at Santa Cruz in the east in 2007”. The article did not bother to substantiate such a serious charge against Venezuela and was one of several unjustified and unsubstantiated allegations against the president and government of Bolivia.

Raúl Prada Alcoreza: Analysis of Bolivia's New Political Constitution of the State

Bolivians celebrate their new constitution. President Evo Morales in centre.

The following article by Raúl Prada Alcoreza was originally published in the first issue (June 2008) of Crítica y Emancipación, a biannual Latin American journal of the social sciences. This translation from the Spanish, by Shana Yael Shubs and Ruth Felder, was published this year in a complete English-language version of the journal’s first issue. It was distributed at the recent congress of the Latin American Studies Association, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June. A review of the first issue of Crítica y Emancipación was published at http://tinyurl.com/nuk4jp. This article also appeared at Bolivia Rising.

Nationalisations and workers' control in Venezuela: ‘When the working class roars, capitalists tremble’

By Federico Fuentes

June 1, 2009 -- Addressing the 400-strong May 21 workshop with workers from the industrial heartland of Guayana, dedicated to the “socialist transformation of basic industry”, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez noted with satisfaction the outcomes of discussions: “I can see, sense and feel the roar of the working class.”

“When the working class roars, the capitalists tremble”, he said.

Chavez announced plans to implement a series of radical measures, largely drawn from proposals coming from the workers’ discussion that day. The workers greeted each of Chavez’s announcements with roars of approval, chanting “This is how you govern!”

Chavez said: “The proposals made have emerged from the depths of the working class. I did not come here to tell you what to do! It is you who are proposing this.”

Nationalisation and workers’ control

World farmers’ alliance Vía Campesina challenges food profiteers (excerpt from new pamphlet)

The following review is an excerpt from a new pamphlet, La Vía Campesina: Farmers North and South Confront Agribusiness, by John Riddell and Adriana Paz, published by Socialist Voice in Canada. To download the pamphlet, please click HERE.

More on Via Campasina.

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Review by John Riddell

La Vía Campesina: Globalization and the Power of Peasants by Annette Aurélie Desmarais. Fernwood Publishing, 2007.

May 31, 2009 -- The neoliberal assault that has driven labour into retreat over the last two decades has also sparked the emergence of a peasants’ international, La Vía Campesina. Based in 56 countries across five continents, this alliance has mounted a sustained and spirited defence of peasant cultivation, community and control of food production.

Annette Desmarais’s book on La Vía Campesina has given us a probing and perceptive account of the world peasant movement’s origins, outlook and activities. (”La Vía Campesina” means “Peasant Path” or “Peasant Way”. See “Peasants or Farmers?” at the end of this article.)

Interview with Bolivia's foreign minister: `Communitarian socialism will refound Bolivia’

Interview with Bolivia’s foreign minister David Choquehuanca by Patricia Bravo and Cris González, translated from the original article in the March 20, 2009, edition of Punto Final (Chile) by David Montoute.

David Choquehuanca.

Bolivia’s new ``Political Constitution of the State’’, approved by referendum on January 25, 2009, by 61.4% of the vote and announced on February 7, is clearly of transcendental importance for the refoundation of Bolivia. The recognition of individual and collective rights, popular participation, the principle of equality and the end of all types of exclusion and discrimination are all present in the new constitutional text.

It establishes the creation of “a Unified Social State of Law whose character would be Plurinational Communitarian, free, independent, sovereign, democratic, intercultural, with decentralised autonomous departments, regions, municipalities and indigenous circumscriptions”.

Bolivia: Rich countries must pay their `ecological debt'

Retreat of the Chacaltaya Glacier, Bolivia 1940-2005.

Submission by Republic of Bolivia to the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the [UN Framework Convention on Climate Change] (AWG-LCA)

April 25, 2009 -- We call on developed countries to commit to deep emission reductions in order to advance the objective of avoiding dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system and its consequences, to reflect their historical responsibility for the causes of climate change, and to respect the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities in accordance with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

(Updated April 23) `Capitalism is putting an end to humanity and the planet' -- ALBA on the 5th Summit of the Americas

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez greets Cuba's President Raul Castro.

Translated by Federico Fuentes

Cumaná, April 17, 2009

The heads of state and governments of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela -- member countries of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) -- consider that the proposed Declaration of the 5th Summit of the Americas is insufficient and unacceptable for the following reasons:

Evo Morales: `I declare myself Marxist ... now let the OAS expel Bolivia'

April 16, 2009 – During his intervention at the seventh ALBA Summit, Bolivia's president Evo Morales recalled the 1962 documents of the Organisation of American States (OAS) that resulted in Cuba being expelled from the organisation, and outlined the importance of reflecting on the motives of that expulsion.

The resolution indicates that the adherence of any member country to Marxism-Leninism, and the association of any member government of the organisation with the communist bloc, broke the unity and solidarity of the hemisphere. Therefore, given that the government of Cuba identified itself as Marxist-Leninist, it was incompatible with the purpose of the OAS and was therefore excluded from participating.

Bolivia's ‘communitarian socialism’

Banner supporting a `yes' vote in the January 25, 2009, constitutional referendum.

By Federico Fuentes

April 1, 2009 -- The historic enactment of Bolivia’s new constitution that grants unprecedented rights to the country’s indigenous majority, approved by over 61% of the vote on January 25, represented the beginning of “communitarian socialism”, according to President Evo Morales.

This was not the first time Bolivia’s first indigenous president had raised the concept of “communitarian socialism”. In his April 2008 speech to the United Nations, Morales spoke of the need for “a communitarian socialism in harmony with Mother Earth”.

While Morales’s political party is officially known as Movement Towards Socialism–Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (MAS-IPSP), it was originally simply IPSP. Blocked from registering itself as an electoral party, the IPSP took up the offer of the then-existing MAS party to use its registered name to run in elections.

Bolivia: `More of the same’? Or a break with `traditions’? The MAS: a paradoxical case of democratisation

By Hervé Do Alto, translated for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Gonzalo Villanueva with Do Alto’s permission. It was first published in Le Monde diplomatique (Bolivian edition) Febrero 2009, nº 11, pp. 6-8.

The Santos Ramirez affaire marked, undoubtedly, a shift in the social perception of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS). [In February, Santos Ramirez, a former head of the state energy company YPFB, and former head of the Senate from 2006-2007, was charged with corruption and faces a lengthy prison sentence of up to eight years.]

As several researchers of the “political instrument” have highlighted, including Moira Zuazo, the credibility of the party created by Evo Morales in 1999 was largely constructed on bases of ethical politics.[1]
This "ethical principle", symbolised by the implementation of the Austerity Law at the beginning of the Morales administration in 2006, played a fundamental role in establishing the dichotomy between, on the one hand, the so-called traditional parties (members of the "agreed democracy") and, on the other, movements  that raised the slogan of the moral reform of the discredited Bolivian politics.

World Social Forum returns to Brazil, marks Latin America's `swing to the left'

Latin America's leftwing presidents meet with WSF participants. Photo by Marc Becker.

By Marc Becker

February 5, 2009 -- After an absence of four years, the World Social Forum (WSF) returned to Brazil during the last week of January 2009. More than 100,000 people descended on the city of Belem at the mouth of the mighty Amazon River to debate proposals and plan strategies for making a new and better world.

The forum first met in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre in 2001 as a gathering of social movements dedicated to fighting neoliberalism and militarism. Nine years later, Latin America has shifted significantly to the left, and the forum has played an important role in that process.

The forum began on January 27, 2009, as all of the forums have, with a massive march through the streets of Belem. The theme of the march was from Africa, where the last unified forum was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in

2007, to the Amazon. A drenching tropical rain momentarily stalled the planned events. The march concluded with a massive rally featuring speeches and music.

Luis Bilbao: Venezuela and `the rebirth of the idea of revolution'

Photo by Coral Wynter.

Interview with Luis Bilbao, conducted by Agustina Desalvo for the Argentinian journal Razón y Revolución, issue #18 (second semester 2008). Translated by Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly’s Federico Fuentes and published with the permission of Bilbao.

Luis Bilbao is a central participant in the construction of the mass United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and in the formation of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR); founding editor of the Latin America-wide monthly magazine América XXI. Luis Bilbao will be a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads conference, to be held in Sydney, Australia, on April 10-12, 2009, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective and Green Left Weekly. Visit http://www.worldATACrossroads.org for full agenda and to book your tickets.

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Bolivia's vice-president:‘We are consolidating our process of change’

Alvaro Garcia Linera with Bolivia's President Evo Morales

Interview with Bolivia's vice-president Alvaro Garcia Linera conducted by Pablo Stefanoni from Argentina's Clarin newspaper. Introduction and translation by Green Left Weekly's Federico Fuentes.

January 31, 2009 -- The people of Bolivia on January 25 voted overwhelming to approve a new constitution, a demand first raised by the indigenous movements in the early 1990s. It was also a key promise of the successful 2005 election campaign of the country’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales.

The new constitutional text will dramatically increase the rights of the indigenous majority within a “plurinational” state. This includes official recognition of the languages of Bolivia’s 36 indigenous peoples and the right to “self government and the exercising of self-determination”, allowing for greater indigenous control over local development and natural resources.

Along with indigenous autonomy, the new constitution also establishes autonomy at the departmental, provincial and municipal level, but within the framework of defending national integrity.

Bolivia breaks ties over Gaza, will take Israel to ICC/Bolivia rompe relaciones diplomáticas con Israel en solidaridad con Gaza

Bolivia severs ties with Israel

January 14, 2009 -- Al Jazeera -- Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, says he is breaking off ties with Israel in protest against its war in Gaza, which has left more than 1000 Palestinians dead.

Morales said on Wednesday that he would seek to get top Israeli officials, including Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, charged with "genocide" in the International Criminal Court.

The Bolivian president also dismissed the United Nations and its "Insecurity Council" for its "lukewarm" response to the crisis and said the general assembly should hold an emergency session to condemn the invasion.

"Considering these grave attacks against ... humanity, Bolivia will stop having diplomatic relations with Israel," Morales told diplomats in the Bolivian capital, La Paz.

Two paths in the face of the capitalism’s global fracture

Some of the presidents of the ALBA bloc.

By Luis Bilbao, translated from the December 2008-January 2009 issue of America XXI by Federico Fuentes, for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. Luis Bilbao will be a featured international speaker at the World at a Crossroads conference, in Sydney, April 10-13, 2009.

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