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Evo Morales Speaks For the Indiginous Life On Planet Gaia
#31
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/04/21

Published on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 by Environment News Service (ENS) Bolivian President Blames Capitalism for Global Warming


COCHABAMBA, Bolivia - Bolivian President Evo Morales said capitalism is to blame for global warming and the accelerated deterioration of the planetary ecosystem in a speech today opening an international conference on climate change and the "rights of Mother Earth."

[Image: moralesevo.jpg]Bolivian President Evo Morales addresses indigenous, environmental and civil society delegates. 'We all have the ethics and the moral right to say here that the central enemy of Mother Earth is capitalism,' he said. (Photo courtesy ABI)

More than 20,000 indigenous, environmental and civil society delegates from 129 countries were in attendance as President Morales welcomed them to the conference at a soccer stadium in the village of Tiquipaya on the outskirts of the city of Cochabamba.

"The main cause of the destruction of the planet Earth is capitalism and in the towns where we have lived, where we respected this Mother Earth, we all have the ethics and the moral right to say here that the central enemy of Mother Earth is capitalism," said Morales, who is Bolivia's first fully indigenous head of state in the 470 years since the Spanish invasion.
Morales is the leader of a political party called Movimiento al Socialismo, the Movement for Socialism, which aims to give more power to the country's indigenous and poor communities by means of land reforms and redistribution of wealth from natural resources such as gas.

"The capitalist system looks to obtain the maximum possible gain, promoting unlimited growth on a finite planet," said Morales. "Capitalism is the source of asymmetries and imbalance in the world."

The Bolivian president called this conference in the wake of what he considered to be failed United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December.

Those talks produced a weak political agreement, the Copenhagen Accord, instead of a strong, legally-binding set of limits on greenhouse gas emissions to take effect at the end of 2012, as Bolivia and many other countries had hoped.

Named "World Hero of Mother Earth" by the United Nations General Assembly last October, today, President Morales warned of dire consequences if a strong legally-binding agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions is not reached.

A new agreement is needed to govern greenhouse gas emissions after the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012. This year's round of international negotiations towards an agreement began earlier this month in Bonn, Germany, and the next annual United Nations climate conference is scheduled for Cancun, Mexico from November 29.

"Global food production will be reduced by approximately 40 percent and that will increase the number of hungry people in the world, which already exceeds a billion people," Morales warned. "Between 20 and 30 percent of all animal and plant species could disappear."

Global warming will cause the melting of the polar ice caps and the glaciers of the Andes and the Himalayas, and several islands will disappear under the ocean," he warned.

The convocation this morning included a multi-cultural blessing ceremony by indigenous peoples from across the Americas. Speeches by representatives of social movements from five continents focused on the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for bold action that protects both human rights and the environment.

The delegates are meeting in working group sessions this week to develop strategies and make policy proposals on issues such as forests, water, climate debt, and finance.

President Morales has pledged to bring these strategies and proposals to the UN climate conference in Cancun.

"We have traveled to Bolivia because President Morales has committed to bring our voices to the global stage at the next round of talks in Cancun," said Jihan Gearon of the Navajo Nation in Arizona, who is a native energy organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network.

"Indigenous rights and knowledge are crucial to addressing climate change, but the United States and Canada have not signed on to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and are pushing corporate climate policy agendas that threaten our homelands and livelihoods," Gearon said.

"President Morales has asked our recommendations on issues such as REDDs [Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation]," said Alberto Saldamando, legal counsel for the International Indian Treaty Council.

"REDD is branded as a friendly forest conservation program, yet it is backed by big polluters," Saldamando said. "REDD is a dangerous distraction from the root issue of fossil fuel pollution, and could mean disaster for forest-dependent indigenous peoples the world over."
"We are here from the far north to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the South," said Faith Gemmill, executive director of Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), who spoke from the stage at the invitation of President Morales. "We have a choice as human kind - a path of life, or a path of destruction. The people who can change the world are here!"

© 2010 Environmental News Service
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
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#32
I'm sure that the MSM will ignore this gathering.Therefore,I am recommending people to watch/listen to Amy and "Democracy Now".They are in Bolivia and covering the conference all week.
www.democracynow.org

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/04/21-0
Published on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 by TruthDig.com Cochabamba, the Water Wars and Climate Change

by Amy Goodman

COCHABAMBA, Bolivia—Here in this small Andean nation of 10 million people, the glaciers are melting, threatening the water supply of the largest urban area in the country, El Alto and La Paz, with 3.5 million people living at altitudes over 10,000 feet. I flew from El Alto International, the world’s highest commercial airport, to the city of Cochabamba.

Bolivian President Evo Morales calls Cochabamba the heart of Bolivia. It was here, 10 years ago this month, that, as one observer put it, “the first rebellion of the 21st century” took place. In what was dubbed the Water Wars, people from around Bolivia converged on Cochabamba to overturn the privatization of the public water system. As Jim Shultz, founder of the Cochabamba-based Democracy Center, told me, “People like a good David-and-Goliath story, and the water revolt is David not just beating one Goliath, but three. We call them the three Bs: Bechtel, Banzer and the Bank.” The World Bank, Shultz explained, coerced the Bolivian government, under President Hugo Banzer, who had ruled as a dictator in the 1970s, to privatize Cochabamba’s water system. The multinational corporation Bechtel, the sole bidder, took control of the public water system.

On Sunday, I walked around the Plaza Principal, in central Cochabamba, with Marcela Olivera, who was out on the streets 10 years ago. I asked her about the movement’s original banner, hanging for the anniversary, that reads, in Spanish, “El agua es nuestra, carajo!”—“The water is ours, damn it!” Bechtel was jacking up water rates. The first to notice were the farmers, dependent on irrigation. They appealed for support from the urban factory workers. Oscar Olivera, Marcela’s brother, was their leader. He proclaimed, at one of their rallies, “If the government doesn’t want the water company to leave the country, the people will throw them out.”

Marcela recounted: “On the 4th of February, we called the people to a mobilization here. We call it ‘la toma de la plaza,’ the takeover of the plaza. It was going to be the meeting of the people from the fields, meeting the people from the city, all getting together here at one time…. The government said that that wasn’t going to be allowed to happen.

Several days before this was going to happen, they sent policemen in cars and on motorcycles that were surrounding the city, trying to scare the people. And the actual day of the mobilization, they didn’t let the people walk even 10 meters, and they started to shoot them with gases.”

The city was shut down by the coalition of farmers, factory workers and coca growers, known as cocaleros. Unrest and strikes spread to other cities. During a military crackdown and state of emergency declared by then-President Banzer, 17-year-old Victor Hugo Daza was shot in the face and killed. Amid public furor, Bechtel fled the city, and its contract with the Bolivian government was canceled.

The cocaleros played a crucial role in the victory. Their leader was Evo Morales. The Cochabamba Water Wars would eventually launch him into the presidency of Bolivia. At the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen, he called for the most rigorous action on climate change.

After the summit, Bolivia refused to support the U.S.-brokered, nonbinding Copenhagen Accord. Bolivia’s ambassador to the U.N., Pablo Solon, told me that, as a result, “we were notified, by the media, that the United States was cutting around $3 million to $3.5 million for projects that have to do with climate change.” Instead of taking U.S. aid money for climate change, Bolivia is taking a leadership role in helping organize civil society and governments, globally, with one goal—to alter the course of the next major U.N. climate summit, set for Cancun, Mexico, in December.

Which is why more than 15,000 people from more than 120 countries have gathered here this week of Earth Day, at the People’s World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. Morales called for the gathering to give the poor and the Global South an opportunity to respond to the failed climate talks in Copenhagen.

Ambassador Solon explained the reasoning behind this people’s summit:
“People are asking me how this is coming from a small country like Bolivia. I am the ambassador to the U.N. I know this institution. If there is no pressure from civilian society, change will not come from the U.N. The other pressure on governments comes from transnational corporations. In order to counteract that, we need to develop a voice from the grass roots.”

Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.
© 2010 Amy Goodman
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
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#33
http://www.counterpunch.org/norrell04232010.html
April 23 - 25, 2010
Number 10 in Colomi

Playing Soccer With Evo Morales

By BRENDA NORRELL
Cochabamba, Bolivia.
When the crowds cheered and the band played on, the flags were waving. Fireworks sounded and surely around the world there must be have been a sense that it was a good day to be Indigenous.

Earlier, when the international press jumped on the chartered bus in Cochabamba, we weren’t quite sure where we were going. “Are we going to play soccer with Evo Morales?” We all read those e-mails very quickly. Most of us just remembered something in the e-mail about playing soccer with Bolivian President Evo Morales.

As we drove up the mountains, the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth and the city of Cochabamba gave way to the strikingly beautiful mountains. Time slowed and serenity joined us. When the bus stopped in Colomi, a few dozen international journalists and filmmakers heard the sounds of a band coming from the new gymnasium. We crawled under a barbed wire fence and ran up the hill.

There, Evo Morales was suited out in the number 10 jersey, vendors were selling ice cream and there was a sense that a member of their community had come home. When the game was over, tables were lined with fresh fish, fava beans, boiled corn, various potatoes and other delicious traditional foods of Bolivia. With the cheering, firecrackers and celebration, the press corps laughed, celebrated and carried home Bolivian flags.

Today, while others were examining the science of climate change, we watched another remedy for the overconsumption and waste of so-called developed countries. We ate delicious local food on clay plates that was served with love and honor. We joined in the celebration of a people, a people happy to cheer on their first Indian president.

Traveling down the mountain, I thought, that Martin Luther King must have been thinking of the mountains of Bolivia when he said, “I have been to the mountaintop and I’m not afraid to die.”

I also thought of all those journalists who have been writing me for encouragement. In recent years, I could offer none. There were no jobs, and perhaps no hope of any. But today there is a new reason to keep writing, even if you pay for it yourself. There is a new reason to keep telling the stories, keep telling the truth, even if no one hires you, even if no one publishes you.

The reason is this: Once in a lifetime we get to go watch Evo Morales play soccer in the mountains of Bolivia.

It is a good day to be a journalist, it is a good day to be alive.

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter covering Indian country and Mexico for 27 years. She can be reached at brendanorrell@gmail.com
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
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#34
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/04/23

Published on Friday, April 23, 2010 by The Nation A New Climate Movement in Bolivia

by Naomi Klein

Cochabamba, Bolivia
It was 11 am and Evo Morales had turned a football stadium into a giant classroom, marshaling an array of props: paper plates, plastic cups, disposable raincoats, handcrafted gourds, wooden plates and multicolored ponchos. All came into play to make his main point: to fight climate change, "we need to recover the values of the indigenous people."

Yet wealthy countries have little interest in learning these lessons and are instead pushing through a plan that at its best would raise average global temperatures 2 degrees Celsius. "That would mean the melting of the Andean and Himalayan glaciers," Morales told the thousands gathered in the stadium, part of the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. What he didn't have to say is that the Bolivian people, no matter how sustainably they choose to live, have no power to save their glaciers.

Bolivia's climate summit has had moments of joy, levity and absurdity. Yet underneath it all, you can feel the emotion that provoked this gathering: rage against helplessness.

It's little wonder. Bolivia is in the midst of a dramatic political transformation, one that has nationalized key industries and elevated the voices of indigenous peoples as never before. But when it comes to Bolivia's most pressing, existential crisis--the fact that its glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, threatening the water supply in two major cities--Bolivians are powerless to do anything to change their fate on their own.

That's because the actions causing the melting are taking place not in Bolivia but on the highways and in the industrial zones of heavily industrialized countries. In Copenhagen, leaders of endangered nations like Bolivia and Tuvalu argued passionately for the kind of deep emissions cuts that could avert catastrophe. They were politely told that the political will in the North just wasn't there. More than that, the United States made clear that it didn't need small countries like Bolivia to be part of a climate solution. It would negotiate a deal with other heavy emitters behind closed doors, and the rest of the world would be informed of the results and invited to sign on, which is precisely what happened with the Copenhagen Accord. When Bolivia and Ecuador refused to rubber-stamp the accord, the US government cut their climate aid by $3 million and $2.5 million, respectively. "It's not a free-rider process," explained US climate negotiator Jonathan Pershing. (Anyone wondering why activists from the global South reject the idea of "climate aid" and are instead demanding repayment of "climate debts" has their answer here.) Pershing's message was chilling: if you are poor, you don't have the right to prioritize your own survival.

When Morales invited "social movements and Mother Earth's defenders...scientists, academics, lawyers and governments" to come to Cochabamba for a new kind of climate summit, it was a revolt against this experience of helplessness, an attempt to build a base of power behind the right to survive.

The Bolivian government got the ball rolling by proposing four big ideas: that nature should be granted rights that protect ecosystems from annihilation (a "Universal Declaration of Mother Earth Rights"); that those who violate those rights and other international environmental agreements should face legal consequences (a "Climate Justice Tribunal"); that poor countries should receive various forms of compensation for a crisis they are facing but had little role in creating ("Climate Debt"); and that there should be a mechanism for people around the world to express their views on these topics ("World People's Referendum on Climate Change").

The next stage was to invite global civil society to hash out the details. Seventeen working groups were struck, and after weeks of online discussion, they met for a week in Cochabamba with the goal of presenting their final recommendations at the summit's end. The process is fascinating but far from perfect (for instance, as Jim Shultz of the Democracy Center pointed out, the working group on the referendum apparently spent more time arguing about adding a question on abolishing capitalism than on discussing how in the world you run a global referendum). Yet Bolivia's enthusiastic commitment to participatory democracy may well prove the summit's most important contribution.
That's because, after the Copenhagen debacle, an exceedingly dangerous talking point went viral: the real culprit of the breakdown was democracy itself. The UN process, giving equal votes to 192 countries, was simply too unwieldy--better to find the solutions in small groups. Even trusted environmental voices like James Lovelock fell prey: "I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war," he told the Guardian recently. "It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while." But in reality, it is such small groupings--like the invitation-only club that rammed through the Copenhagen Accord--that have caused us to lose ground, weakening already inadequate existing agreements. By contrast, the climate change policy brought to Copenhagen by Bolivia was drafted by social movements through a participatory process, and the end result was the most transformative and radical vision so far.

With the Cochabamba summit, Bolivia is trying to take what it has accomplished at the national level and globalize it, inviting the world to participate in drafting a joint climate agenda ahead of the next UN climate gathering, in Cancún. In the words of Bolivia's ambassador to the UN, Pablo Solón, "The only thing that can save mankind from a tragedy is the exercise of global democracy."

If he is right, the Bolivian process might save not just our warming planet but our failing democracies as well. Not a bad deal at all.

This column was first published in The Nation (www.thenation.com)
Copyright © 2009 The Nation
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
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