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Peter Lemkin
12-16-2009, 05:07 PM
Bolivian President Evo Morales: “Shameful” For West to Spend Trillions On War and Only $10 Billion For Climate Change (http://www.democracynow.org/2009/12/16/bolivian_president_evo_morales_shameful_for)

Bolivian President Evo Morales recently arrived in Copenhagen for the UN Climate Summit. In a press conference Wednesday, Morales said, “The budget for the United States is $687 billion for defense and they want for climate change–to save life, to save humanity–they only put up $10 billion. This is shameful.”

Why can't my country have such a moral person at the helm!:elefant:

Jan Klimkowski
12-16-2009, 07:37 PM
Well, at least Morales' Secret Service did their job and prevented a SMOM/Gladio assassination team from achieving their objective.

http://www.deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1304

Ruben Mundaca
12-17-2009, 02:43 AM
Bolivian President Evo Morales: “Shameful” For West to Spend Trillions On War and Only $10 Billion For Climate Change (http://www.democracynow.org/2009/12/16/bolivian_president_evo_morales_shameful_for)


Why can't my country have such a moral person at the helm!:elefant:

Because he don't practice what he preach,and seems that nobody cares.

Weapons expenses in Bolivia is the higest in decades, althoug our new Political Constitution declares we are pacific and specifically renounce to war.

http://www.lostiempos.com/diario/actualidad/nacional/20090805/bolivia-comprara-a-rusia-avion-presidencial-y_28993_46221.html

http://spanish.peopledaily.com.cn/31617/6776146.html

The weapons adquisitions for this year will be about 300 millons dollars, from Russia and China. Morales declares that K-8 chinese war planes will be used for "anti-narcotics", but any military know that a plane for that kind of job have tu be a turboprop, Tucano-type plane. K-8 is too fast and can't track a slow piston plane used by traffikers.

Magda Hassan
12-17-2009, 04:48 AM
You don't think Ruben that the US is just itching to march into Bolivia and install their man? Send some more dogs of war into the country? Over the border say Peru where the tear gas cannisters came from in Honduras? It's one thing to be pacifist (and I do believe that the Morales government is genuine in that desire) and another to blind and stupid. If left to their own devices I am sure that would be the case but the US has never left any nation to develop freely. It is a long list of US invasion and 'intervention'. A list Morales and co. are all too familiar with.

Peter Lemkin
12-17-2009, 05:01 AM
You don't think Ruben that the US is just itching to march into Bolivia and install their man? Send some more dogs of war into the country? Over the border say Peru where the tear gas cannisters came from in Honduras? It's one thing to be pacifist (and I do believe that the Morales government is genuine in that desire) and another to blind and stupid. If left to their own devices I am sure that would be the case but the US has never left any nation to develop freely. It is a long list of US invasion and 'intervention'. A list Morales and co. are all too familiar with.

One could mention just about every South and Central American country (many several times) that has been the target of U.S. aggression and 'influence'. The classic is Chile IMO...but it is only classically typical. That Morales spoke the words 'terrorism' [the truth, IMO] that America is bringing in various parts of the world (and increasingly to its own People internally) - and points out their [USA's] values of riches for the rich and poverty/scorched earth/serfdom for everyone else is reason enough for him to have to watch over his shoulder for an American led coup or invasion - likely a secret one led by our ignoble secret operations cabal. The USA has been itching to 'roll-back' the independent voices in S. and C. America and get 'em all back on our 'Plantation' - like back in the good old days (that were very bad ones, in fact!). We who are latecomers or the offspring of invaders to the Americas are visitors and guests of the indigenous people's who knew much better than we how to live in some harmony with the Earth. We have much to learn from them - and reparations to make - physically and spiritually.

Peter Lemkin
12-17-2009, 05:32 AM
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 recognized, 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 industrialized 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 industrialized 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 defense. 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—"

Ruben Mundaca
12-17-2009, 05:49 AM
You don't think Ruben that the US is just itching to march into Bolivia and install their man? Send some more dogs of war into the country? Over the border say Peru where the tear gas cannisters came from in Honduras? It's one thing to be pacifist (and I do believe that the Morales government is genuine in that desire) and another to blind and stupid. If left to their own devices I am sure that would be the case but the US has never left any nation to develop freely. It is a long list of US invasion and 'intervention'. A list Morales and co. are all too familiar with.

And you think, Magda, that buying some K-8 planes will stop the gringos?...some guns or whatever?......

Maybe you don't notice yet, but good old days when heroic and barely armed gerrilleros can stop a modern army has gone a long time ago.

Gringos now doesen't need to be in the field to kill you, so you don't even have the chance to have a target. They just place a Reaper drone some miles over your head, they can search, track and kill you without notice, day and night, all weather condition. And that job is carried by an officer sitting in a confortable executive chair, with air-conditioned and Mozart music, living in a suburban house of any american city. He can shoot his missiles against you and go to dinner to his house, kiss his wife and daugther and feed his cat.

Those weapons are not for them. They are useless. Not even the powerful Sukhois buyed by Chavez (spending thousands of millions) can have a chance against american weaponry.

Those weapons are used as a disuasive threatening against any possible internal opposition. They are saying: "obey ME, or ELSE".

Maybe during cold war we were important for the gringos, but today they don't even care about us. They are happy maintaining as friends and partners only few countries in the world. They learn they don't need more.

In America: Canada, Mexico and Colombia are top countries for gringos. Venezuela is important as long Chavez keep selling oil to them.

Second line are Brazil, Chile and maybe Argentina. The rest of us can go to hell.

Magda Hassan
12-17-2009, 06:01 AM
Oh, I'm sure all that lovely lithium is in the sights of the gringos. Not to mention that cocaine to fund their black operations. The last thing they want is for Bolivia to go to hell. They want to get it under control. With Morales there they can't control it. Besides, Morales independence sets a bad example and gives other nations the idea that they can do things their own way. Naturally, if the gringos want to come through the front door there is nothing much Bolivia can do regardless of how many planes and tanks they have but the US has democratic pretenses to maintain in the world community. So they come through the back door. They send their dogs of war like Rosza Flores and his unemployable Irish and Hungarian and Croatian fascists to do the wet work to destabilise the country. A few planes from China, on good terms too, will help do that job. Plus they can do some good against the drones.

Ruben Mundaca
12-17-2009, 06:11 AM
Funny speech of Evo Morales about "mother earth" and "poor innocent humble indigenous".

He still rule the confederation of coca farmers of Chapare region, the place where most cocaine is produced in Bolivia. Well.... "mother earth" is not well treated there: the rivers are heavy polluted with chemicals used in the process, the "poor indigenous" use dinamite to fish in the rivers, near national park and virgin woods are levered and burned to plant coca crops, animals are heavy hunted by "humble colla indigenous", leaving local amazonic indigenous without food, etc.

Hu, forgot. Morales has bought a paper factory that is about to install in Chapare region. Shure you know that paper is one of most pollutant factorys, that will use many trees and chemicals. Wild jungle trees, because there is no cultivated trees to harvest there.

But anyway, tender speech. Sorry if I don't believe him.

Ruben Mundaca
12-17-2009, 06:40 AM
Oh, I'm sure all that lovely lithium is in the sights of the gringos. Not to mention that cocaine to fund their black operations. The last thing they want is for Bolivia to go to hell. They want to get it under control. With Morales there they can't control it. Besides, Morales independence sets a bad example and gives other nations the idea that they can do things their own way. Naturally, if the gringos want to come through the front door there is nothing much Bolivia can do regardless of how many planes and tanks they have but the US has democratic pretenses to maintain in the world community. So they come through the back door. They send their dogs of war like Rosza Flores and his unemployable Irish and Hungarian and Croatian fascists to do the wet work to destabilise the country. A few planes from China, on good terms too, will help do that job. Plus they can do some good against the drones.

-Why they would do that?... they have all lithium they want very near of them, for many, many years to come, maybe centuries http://eleconomista.com.mx/notas-online/negocios/2009/10/09/descubren-gran-yacimiento-litio-mexico. The fact is that lithium is one of most abundant elements on earth. If is not more produced and searched, is because demand is confortably filled.

-Cocaine?... they have Colombia, remember?.......

-Rozsa Flores and co. ?....government has forced congress comission to close investigations, because evrytime show more clearly Morale's and Linera's involvment with that terrorist. Is so funny, that Morale's Government General public prosecutor don't want to accept the proofs finded now. That issue has fill his pourpose: to dismantle, chase and acusse opossitor leaders. If they are innocent?...Who cares?...they are allready destroyed by his press, his public prosecutor and his judge.

-Bad examples of "independence"?... they are sooo many in the world now. Venezuela, Iran, Ecuador, Nicaragua, etc., etc., etc...

-Not even Chavez Sukhois can do something against those drones. One simple drone can take all his Sukhoi fleet. They can't be sighted coz they fly and attac from very high altitude. Their radar and heat signature is so low that they are practically invisible. And carry a lot of long range, very accurate Hellfire guided missiles.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MQ-9_Reaper

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unmanned_aerial_vehicle

Peter Lemkin
12-17-2009, 04:52 PM
NNIMMO BASSEY: We believe in the right of people to protest or to dissent. And we just can’t—I can’t personally understand why we are kept out of the conference.

JOSÉ BOVÉ: The debate between the NGO, the poor people, and the governments is no more possible at two days of the end of this meeting.

JOSHUA KAHN RUSSELL: When I say “climate,” you say “justice”! Climate!

PROTESTERS: Justice!

JOSHUA KAHN RUSSELL: Climate!

PROTESTERS: Justice!

PROTESTER: The police pepper-sprayed me. I was shouting, “We are peaceful!” And they pepper-sprayed me.

SUNITA NARAIN: The US has been the major obstructionist force in climate change from the day the crisis began.

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] The budget of the United States is $687 billion for defense. And for climate change, to save life, to save humanity, they only put up $10 billion. This is shameful.


AMY GOODMAN: This is Climate Countdown. It’s Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re broadcasting from inside the Bella Center.

It’s just one day before the COP15 UN climate summit comes to a close. The summit has been described as the biggest gathering on climate change in history. And now, ten days after it started, are the talks on the brink of collapse?

The dispute between rich and poor countries, between the Global North and Global South, on key issues, including greenhouse gas emissions and climate debt, remain unresolved. World leaders from more than 110 countries have begun arriving at the summit and are delivering their addresses to the main plenary as we speak. As for civil society, the only thing worse than the endless lines of thousands of people trying to get into the Bella Center are no lines, because civil society has largely been locked out.

Well, just before we went to air today, I interviewed Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president. He was re-elected in a landslide victory earlier this month.

On Wednesday, Evo Morales called on world leaders to hold temperature increases over the next century to just one degree Celsius, the most ambitious proposal so far by any head of state. Morales also called on the United States and other wealthy nations to pay an ecological debt to Bolivia and other developing nations.

AMY GOODMAN: President Morales, welcome to Democracy Now!

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Thank you very much for the invitation.

AMY GOODMAN: You spoke yesterday here at the Bella Center and said we cannot end global warming without ending capitalism. What did you mean?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Capitalism is the worst enemy of humanity. Capitalism—and I’m speaking about irrational development—policies of unlimited industrialization are what destroys the environment. And that irrational industrialization is capitalism. So as long as we don’t review or revise those policies, it’s impossible to attend to humanity and life.

AMY GOODMAN: How would you do that? How would you end capitalism?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] It’s changing economic policies, ending luxury, consumerism. It’s ending the struggle to—or this searching for living better. Living better is to exploit human beings. It’s plundering natural resources. It’s egoism and individualism. Therefore, in those promises of capitalism, there is no solidarity or complementarity. There’s no reciprocity. So that’s why we’re trying to think about other ways of living lives and living well, not living better. Not living better. Living better is always at someone else’s expense. Living better is at the expense of destroying the environment.

AMY GOODMAN: President Morales, what are you calling here—for here at the UN climate summit?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Defense of the rights of Mother Earth. The earth is our life. Nature is our home, our house. Happily, the United Nations have declared a Mother Earth Day. If the mother is recognized as Mother Earth, it’s something that can’t be sold, it’s something that can’t be—it can’t be violated, something sacred. This is nature. This is planet earth. And that’s why I’ve come here, to defend the rights of Mother Earth, to defend the rights to life, to defend humanity and saving Mother Earth.

AMY GOODMAN: What does climate debt mean, President Morales?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] After the destruction of Mother Earth, it’s important to recognize the rights of Mother Earth. And the best way to recognize this is by paying a climate debt. Second, it’s important to recognize the damages that have been done and attend to the people who have been affected by climate change, people who will lose their island homes, for example, people who will remain without water.

AMY GOODMAN: Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, said today, “We can’t look back; we have to look forward.”

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Looking forward means that we have to review everything that capitalism has done. These are things that cannot just be solved with money. We have to resolve problems of life and humanity. And that’s the problem that planet earth faces today. And this means ending capitalism.

AMY GOODMAN: The Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, also said today that $100 billion would be promised if a deal were arrived at, not just by the United States, per year, but in a public-private partnership with a number of countries around the world, but only if a deal is arrived at. She would not say what the US would contribute to this. What do you say about the US spending on the issue of global warming versus—well, you talked yesterday about war.

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] The best thing would be that all war spending be directed towards climate change, instead of spending it on troops in Iraq, in Afghanistan or the military bases in Latin America. This money would be better directed to attending to the damages that were created by the United States. And, of course, this isn’t just $100 billion; this is probably trillions and trillions of dollars. How are we going to spend money to kill and not save lives? We have to spend money to save lives, not to kill. These are our differences with capitalism.

AMY GOODMAN: You called the war in Afghanistan terrorist. Are you saying President Obama is a terrorist?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] People who send their troops to kill outside their country, that’s terror. There’s not only civil—terrorists dressed as civilians; they can also be dressed in military uniforms. Worse still if they’re financed with the money from the peoples, from taxes. Of course, every country has the right to defend itself, just as every country can defend itself. But invading another country with uniformed people, that’s state terrorism.

Moreover, to establish military bases in Latin America with the objective of political control, and where their military base is an empire, that’s not respect for democracy. There is no peace, social peace. There is no development for those countries nor integration in those regions. This is what we’ve lived in South America and Latin America.

AMY GOODMAN: What is your message to President Obama at these climate talks?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] After listening to his speech at the heads of state Summit of the Americas, we were very hopeful that he would be an ally in addressing poverty. Now I’m not so hopeful. Rather, we’re disappointed. If something has changed in the United States, it’s the color of the president.

So I’ve been called upon, through administrative resolutions, to close unions, or to eliminate unions, when I’m doing exactly the opposite. [translator: “I apologize.”] In the report that was done regarding access to trade preferences under the ATPDEA program, it was charged that the Bolivian government has been involved in suppressing unions, when, in fact, quite the contrary, the government’s been very active in providing infrastructure and support to unions through improving the centers where unions meet, etc.

Even President Bush did not make any observations about the new clauses in the constitution of Bolivia, whereas under the new administration there have been observations and comments made about the new constitution that’s been drafted, in particular in relation to the management of the gas and oil sectors. This is a clear involvement in Bolivian internal affairs by the Obama administration. At the end of the day, it seems that they’re asking us to change the constitution. This is something that not even Bush did. If we just look at this, this makes Obama seem—look worse than Bush. And the documents are there.

AMY GOODMAN: I know you have to leave. My last question is: you’ve called for a climate tribunal; what do you mean?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Those who do damage to planet earth and those who do damage need to be judged. Those who do not fulfill the terms of the Kyoto Protocol should also be judged. And for those ends, we have to organize a tribunal for climate justice in the United Nations.

AMY GOODMAN: And one degree Celsius?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] That’s our proposal.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think it could be achieved?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Yes. Yes, otherwise it would be a lack of commitment to humanity.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think there will be a deal that comes out of Copenhagen?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] I doubt it. We’re developing other proposals for my intervention.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think it’s catastrophic that there’s no deal?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] No, it’s a waste of time. And if the leaders of countries cannot arrive in an agreement, why don’t the peoples then decide together?

AMY GOODMAN: We will leave it there. I thank you very much, President Morales.

Peter Lemkin
12-22-2009, 07:35 AM
AMY GOODMAN: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spared no criticism of the climate conference in Copenhagen. At a joint news conference he held with the Bolivian president Evo Morales on Friday afternoon—this was before President Obama announced the accord—Chavez called the proceedings undemocratic and accused world leaders of only seeking a face-saving agreement. He described President Obama as having won the “Nobel war prize” and said the world still smelled of sulfur, referring to his comments about President Bush at the United Nations last year.

Well, shortly after the news conference, I caught up with President Chavez for a few minutes.

AMY GOODMAN: You sell more oil to the United States than any country but Canada. Your economy depends on oil, yet you are here at a climate change summit. What’s your proposal?

PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ: [translated] The problem is not the oil, but what they do with the oil. The United States is the biggest spender of oil and of all the planet resources. Oil is a very valuable resource for life—electric heaters. We must have to transition ourselves to a post-oil era. And that’s what we must discuss, searching and developing new sources of energy. And that requires scientific research. That requires investment. And the developed countries must be the ones to assume this responsibility first.

AMY GOODMAN: What level of emissions are you willing to support reductions of emissions?

PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ: [translated] One hundred percent. One hundred percent. We must reduce the emissions 100 percent. In Venezuela, the emissions are currently insignificant compared to the emissions of the developed countries. We are in agreement. We must reduce all the emissions that are destroying the planet. However, that requires a change in lifestyle, a change in the economic model: we must go from capitalism to socialism. That’s the real solution.

AMY GOODMAN: How do you throw away capitalism?

PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ: [translated] The way they did it in Cuba. That’s the way. The same way we are doing in Venezuela: giving the power to the people and taking it away from the economic elites. You can only do that through a revolution.

AMY GOODMAN: President Obama—what is your reaction to his speech today?

PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ: [translated] Obama is a big frustration. In my opinion, Obama can become one of the biggest frustrations in the history for many people, not for me, but the people of the United States that voted for him and saw him as a symbol of hope for change. But he has given continually to the most aggressive Bush policies, the imperialist policies.

AMY GOODMAN: What example of that?

PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ: [translated] The war. I told Obama, when he took the initiative to come visit us in the Summit of the Americas—we talked for a few minutes. I told him, “Obama, let’s work for peace in Colombia. That’s what I am proposing. Let’s get a team together to analyze the problem.” But absolutely nothing. He is now installing seven military bases in Colombia. That’s just one example.

And in Iraq and Afghanistan, policies of war. Guantanamo, it is a great frustration. And I feel sorry, not for me. You are from the United States. I feel sorry for you, because you deserve a government that takes care of the problems of the people of the United States and stops thinking about dominating the rest of the world and just governs over the United States, eradicates the problems of the United States, the poverty, the inequality, which gets bigger every day, the unemployment, families on the street, homeless, without Social Security, diseases. I wish for you to get a government that truly takes care of you first and then works towards peace for the rest of the world.

AMY GOODMAN: The US government calls you a dictator. What is your response?

PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ: [translated] I laugh. I laugh. It is the empire calling me a dictator. I’m happy. And I remember Don Quixote, Quixote who was with Sancho, you know, and the dogs start to bark, and Sancho says, “They are going to bite us.” And Quixote wisely answers, “Take it easy, Sancho, because if the dogs are barking, it is because we are galloping.” I will be very sad and worried if the imperialist government was calling me a great democratic man. No, it is them, the empire, who attack those who are truly contributing to the real democracy.


AMY GOODMAN: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaking to us in Copenhagen on Friday.

Phillip Maddison
03-06-2010, 02:41 PM
PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] "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. "

What is the carrying capacity for Africans and Amerindians of the culture that Europeans have brought to 'their' lands vs. the carrying capacity of their native culture? That is the most obvious and essential of objective measures relating to the issue of the Africans' and Amerindians' lives then, now and in the future.

It is not honest of Morales and other non-Europeans to bitch and moan about their being displaced by European colonists. It's what everybody did pre-Wilson's 'Fourteen Points' if they could get away with it. Native American groups displaced and slaughtered one another, as did African and Asian groups. Europeans were on the receiving end of transcontinental colonisation, slavery, and plunder whenever the Jews, Turks, Moors, and Mongolians could manage it.

In fact the only peoples able to make a moral claim that they were unjustly dispossesed are today's Europeans. This because the essential moral component, reciprocity, was promised but not given: Immediately after our governments recognised the claim of African and Asian peoples to run their homelands in their own interests, including booting us out, the same governments, and the same African and Asian peoples, decided that European peoples didn't have the same rights to our own countries.

Ruben Mundaca
03-14-2010, 11:00 PM
It is not honest of Morales and other non-Europeans to bitch and moan about their being displaced by European colonists. It's what everybody did pre-Wilson's 'Fourteen Points' if they could get away with it. Native American groups displaced and slaughtered one another, as did African and Asian groups. Europeans were on the receiving end of transcontinental colonisation, slavery, and plunder whenever the Jews, Turks, Moors, and Mongolians could manage it.

That is true. Actually, the Aymara people, the ethnic grup that Morale's belong, where conquered by the Inca and, when they rebeal against, where slaughtered in a legendary killing. The Inca also slavish them (using them to build Macchu Picchu, roads and other infraestructure) and keep the control of the conquered people, by seizing the surplus of food and woolen fabrics (without enough food, there is no way for rebelion).

And if we speak about the Aztecas, then we have to speak of massive killings too. That's the main reason why in Mexico they accept and embrace catholic religion so fast.

The hollywood legend of the "good savage" is still filling the minds of many ignorants. But of course, europeans are hated not because they where cruel and slavish them (The former indigenous government where thousand times more cruel) but because racist considerations, because somebody lie them that the old indigenous empires where savvys and allmost perfect. So, they tent to return to an idealized world, a neolithic society in almost all fields (with the only exception of Mayas, whose calendar still amaze people now. But they not longer existed when spanish conquered Central America).

In fact, spanish conquest (with all their limitations and diseases) bring a much better life for indigenous people in almost evry place in America. Aymaras where able to have their own land and keep most of their production (formerly, evrything belongs to the Inca). When spanish left America and specially, Bolivia, they leave behind a rich country (rich by those standards), richer than Argentina and Chile for shure, despite de destruction and poverty that bring 15 years of independence war. Now is the 2d.poorest country in American continent.

But Morales want money, and one way to gain it is to keep blaming spanish and europeans. He recive gifts, collaboration, grace remission of debts, and the sympathy and tears of ignorants.

David Guyatt
03-15-2010, 12:23 PM
That an interesting slant on history Ruben. By which I mean the idea that the Spanish Conquistadors and the Europe-nization of Latin America was ultimately beneficial.

It is a truism that people who set out to do good often do bad in its place, and those who intend to do bad, achieve good. The trickster figure is with us always.

However, in regard to your proposition, the problem I see with it is that we don't know how the indigenous peoples might have turned out sans the European intervention (and their noxious baggage). They may have become highly civilized in their own right. We just don't know - and we certainly can't turn the clock backwards to find out.

But what is now evident is that European civilization and its Anglo-American arm are doing more harm than ever before. In the age of the Enlightenment, Europe had many laudable things going for it. But this surely is not the case today where the dominant factor is, well, to dominate and plunder.

It seems that things have not changed very much at all since the Spanish donned their conquering armour.

Peter Lemkin
03-15-2010, 03:49 PM
PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] "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. "

What is the carrying capacity for Africans and Amerindians of the culture that Europeans have brought to 'their' lands vs. the carrying capacity of their native culture? That is the most obvious and essential of objective measures relating to the issue of the Africans' and Amerindians' lives then, now and in the future.

It is not honest of Morales and other non-Europeans to bitch and moan about their being displaced by European colonists. It's what everybody did pre-Wilson's 'Fourteen Points' if they could get away with it. Native American groups displaced and slaughtered one another, as did African and Asian groups. Europeans were on the receiving end of transcontinental colonisation, slavery, and plunder whenever the Jews, Turks, Moors, and Mongolians could manage it.

In fact the only peoples able to make a moral claim that they were unjustly dispossesed are today's Europeans. This because the essential moral component, reciprocity, was promised but not given: Immediately after our governments recognised the claim of African and Asian peoples to run their homelands in their own interests, including booting us out, the same governments, and the same African and Asian peoples, decided that European peoples didn't have the same rights to our own countries.

Whoa! Do you have the whole of history and morality - even the concept of carrying capacity upside down. Let me guess, to justify those you identify with who continue this colonization, imperialism, rape of the land and resources; enslavement by whip and economic slavery; top-down hierarchical bull****. You need to read a few books and learn a thing or two. May I suggest American Holocaust by Churchill on the America's Genocide by the Europeans; Zinn's People's History of the United States; Confessions of an Economic Hitman by Perkins for what is going on still; Blum's Killing Hope; and then I'll give you a few hundred others. White man's burden is your line. I don't buy it at all - and I'm 'white' European invader. If your not indigenous, your an illegal
alien....Get it?! Your a guest and should act as such, with humility. The Indiginous People's in the Americas lived for tens of thousands of years without destroying it, as we invaders have [and them too] in just a few hundred. We need to learn from them - not the other way around, gringo.

Ruben Mundaca
03-15-2010, 06:27 PM
[QUOTE=David Guyatt;18347]That an interesting slant on history Ruben. By which I mean the idea that the Spanish Conquistadors and the Europe-nization of Latin America was ultimately beneficial.

-But of course it was...!!!. Specially the Spanish conquest..!!.. I can't say the same about English, French or Portugese colonization. English and French (with their superiority complex) face colonization as an extermination of inigenous people, and his sustitution with negro slaves, more rough and resistant to diseases. Portugese face colonization as slavery of indigenous people.

But spanish conquest was different, thanks to the Catholic Church. Since the early times of Bishop Las Casas and the priest called Motolinia, Spanish emperor took american indigenous under his protection, improving and enforcing tough laws against his slavery and abuse. The "Encomienda" institution allow spanish to take some advantage of the work of indians, but with the responsability to take care of them too, and make them "good Cristians".
The most usual way was to take taxes from their production (never more than 50%) This may sound very high, but former Inca government took from them as high as 80%. Anyway, the impact was not so negative, because with the introduction of new ways of production allow indigenous to boost the amount of their production (the use of Plows and ox in agriculture, manual devices for spun flax and fabrics, metal tools, the use of horses, mules and cart for transportation, the improvement of roads, etc.) and the introduction of medicines, new animals and crops, as sheeps, cows, horses, pigs, chikens, sugar cane, etc.
So, instead giving 60% to 80% of 10 tonnes production to the Inca, they where giving 50% of a 100 tonnes. to the spanish "encomendero"

Read the history better. Las Casas denounce cruealty and killings to the Spanish Emperor, but not even that is completly true (Motolinia, a very respected priest who live between indians, say Las Casas is lying. There was killings performed by one crazy conqueror who end his life in jail by order of the emperor. But Cortez take care in not to treat them with abuse, because he was about to loose evrything because the denounce of abuses done by his enemys to the emperor. So, any conqueror take care not to be denounced of cruealty or abuses, because they where in danger to lose his conquest.

But spanish fall in the same stupidity than all white people of his time: they begin to use black africans as slaves instead (They thougt negros doesen't have a soul to save). The real slaves where the negros, not the indians.

In comparison, the anglos exterminate indians, the french commit atrocitys against the negros (Napoleon ordered the killing of 100.000 negro rebels in Haiti), the portugese where the most enthusiastic in slavery (last american colony to forbid slavery).

Is better to read more history and watch less hollywood pictures.

However, in regard to your proposition, the problem I see with it is that we don't know how the indigenous peoples might have turned out sans the European intervention (and their noxious baggage). They may have become highly civilized in their own right. We just don't know - and we certainly can't turn the clock backwards to find out.

Ho, whe dont know how the dinosaurs have developed if a stone from the sky didn't extinct them, but I am not going to cry for them. Not for the conquest of such killer, brutal and abusive people, either.
By that time, many countries has the technology to be the conquerors, including arabs and chinese. In any case, the indigenous american people where doomed.

David Guyatt
03-15-2010, 06:52 PM
Ruben, forgive me but I am always very cautious when the words "Spanish" and "Catholic Church" are used in the same sentence. I immediately begin to think of a certain priest named Escriva.

Are you familiar with him?

Ruben Mundaca
03-15-2010, 06:57 PM
alien....Get it?! Your a guest and should act as such, with humility. The Indiginous People's in the Americas lived for tens of thousands of years without destroying it, as we invaders have [and them too] in just a few hundred. We need to learn from them - not the other way around, gringo.[/QUOTE]

Actually, that is not true, either.

The entrance of Asian people to America is concordant with a massive extinction of the Megafauna, a group of large mamals as the Mamut, the Bulldog Bear, the giant sloth, etc, etc. Still not clear if the migrating asians have something to do with, but they dissapear the same time than asians migrated.

- Not the only case: Big and important ancient indigenous civilizations have fall and dissapeared before, because they destroyed his environment, creating a massive hunger by killing the productive soil, and leaving only empty cities and ruins of their civilization (Mayas, Toltecas, etc.)


Actually and just to think a little and not to be dogmathic with history: scientist are begining to discover that asians where not the first in America, but maybe EUROPEAN descendants (the CLOVIS culture, the oldest in America). Not proved still, but with remarcable clues to support the theory: the remains of stone tools, identical to those finded in europe, and the genetical trace (european phenotipe "X") present in 1/3 of "pure indigenous" american people. They where the first americans. Then came the asians and probably conquered them.

Ruben Mundaca
03-15-2010, 07:19 PM
Ruben, forgive me but I am always very cautious when the words "Spanish" and "Catholic Church" are used in the same sentence. I immediately begin to think of a certain priest named Escriva.

Are you familiar with him?

I know who he was. That doesen't means that catholic church have done evrythin wrong.

Many good and great people have worked for the catholic church (artists, scientists and specially, missioners who give their lives to deffend indigenous people). If you like movies, then I recommend you "The Mission". You can multiply that for hundred places.

Actually, in Bolivia exists a place called "Chiquitos", where the colonnial catholic priests tryed to create a "Civitas Dei", a city of God, a place without evil. They leaved awesome churchs and the "Chiquitanos", the indigenous people, still remember them whit great love.

Is the only place in Bolivia and maybe in the world (a live culture) where you can hear old european music still in latin language in the churchs, singed by a chorus of indigenous people who doesen't want to lose that link.

There is a large festival once at year (celebrated togheter with the orchid festival), where singers and orchestras of all over the world (europe, USA, latin america) come to sing that kind of music together with the indigenous, amazed to see a live indigenous culture who still sustain that kind of music and tradition, by their own means and iniciative. Beautiful and amazing.

You should come and see it for yourself, someday. Is one of the events that worth to see in my country.

Jan Klimkowski
03-15-2010, 09:07 PM
Senor Mundaca - your history is as biased as your politics.

Howzabout we start with Potosi - the legendary "rich mountain" of silver ore. A physical El Dorado to the rapacious Spanish.

Tens of thousands of indigenous Bolivians were worked to death by the conquistadores in the service of nothing more than European imperialist greed.

When healthy adult Bolivians became scarce (they were mostly dead), the Spanish shipped in African slaves as acémilas humanas. "Human mules."

The, ahem, "enlightened" Europeans worked at least 30,000 African slaves to death as well.

All this was approved as God's Work by the Catholic Church.

Btw I've been to Bolivia three times. It's a uniquely beautiful country.

Ruben Mundaca
03-15-2010, 11:14 PM
Senor Mundaca - your history is as biased as your politics.

Howzabout we start with Potosi - the legendary "rich mountain" of silver ore. A physical El Dorado to the rapacious Spanish.

Tens of thousands of indigenous Bolivians were worked to death by the conquistadores in the service of nothing more than European imperialist greed.

When healthy adult Bolivians became scarce (they were mostly dead), the Spanish shipped in African slaves as acémilas humanas. "Human mules."

The, ahem, "enlightened" Europeans worked at least 30,000 African slaves to death as well.

All this was approved as God's Work by the Catholic Church.

Btw I've been to Bolivia three times. It's a uniquely beautiful country.

My history is easly evident and observable, señor Jan.

All you have to do is to go to a library, or search for kewords as "aztecas", "Mayas", "Incas", "Bishop Las Casas", "Motolinia", "Encomienda", "Chiquitos", "Misiones de Chiquitos", etc., or better: a good book about the American History. It will not bite you, I guarantee....

About Potosí: the silver mines where discovered after the conquest, in lands that where part of Spain by that time, so is not a "robbery" as some official history claim (including our own Bolivian official history).

What you don't know and nobody tell you, is that indigenous miners in Potosí where PAYED by his work, and there was only a temporary work: after some months, they where free to go.
Problem was the PRICE they payed to the workers: the price was mostly stablished by the vicerroy administration in Lima (Perú) according the minimun salary in the city of LIMA. But Potosí was the most expensive city in the world by that time, so the minimun salary was only enough for about two weeks of the month.
That's why no many indians want to come to work and the one it does, was obligated by debts to pay the taxes to the crown (Indigenous was the only obligated to pay taxes: creoles and spanish where free from that obligation).

The main problem (and the reason for the scarse workers) was the obligation to release them when his time was accomplished. In order to have more workers, mine administration give some extra benefits to the workers, as to give a free amount of coca and some free food, also. That lead to enrichment of many indigenous coca traders (cocanis), many of them richer than any spanish (The rebelion of Tupac Katari, was payed by his wife Bartolina Sisa, one of the richest cocani of Bolivia in those times)

About the 10000 indigenous died in Potosí: evry ancient mine take a death toll, but 10000 is only part of the folkore. Who count them...??.. in what period of time..???...
Negro people where not good workers for Potosí, due that the hig altitude of the city. So indigenous where better. Negros where mostly used in agricultural tasks, and Bolivia recived not many of them. The negro community is very little in Bolivia.

The so called "human acemiles" where people dedicated to transport in their back things as food and coca, in those roads too much narrow for a cart. It was a very hard work due to the hills and mountains, but as I sayed, not forever.

If you have visited Bolivia, next time pay attention to a good history book, not folkore. Folkore is fun, but not accurate or true. Even official Bolivian history has incorporated many of them, according the Independence War view.
- I hope you have visited the Chiquitos Missions also: a completly different view of spanish conquest.

Many of the legends about spanish cruelty (some of them are true, also. Specially when they punish rebels, to set an example) where tailored to create hate during the Independence War, hate against "the enemy", to justify to slaughter them. Latter, 15 years of war automatically create many reasons to hate them.

But is very interesting that the first rebelions where not performed against the spanish, but against THE FRENCH ....!!!! (Napoleon was ruling Spain by that time, and we don't want to obey him). After the first battles and deaths suffered against spanish army (under french obedience), the wrath created by the loses and some smart university creoles lead to change the objetive: the Independence.

And without the help recived from England ( mortal enemy of Spain and France by that time), the Independence cannot be posible (they send weapons, money and even military generals and crew to help the libertadores, using the link of the masonery). I bet you don't knew that, either. You will not find it in our countrie's official history books.:D

Jan Klimkowski
03-16-2010, 06:06 PM
About Potosí: the silver mines where discovered after the conquest, in lands that where part of Spain by that time, so is not a "robbery" as some official history claim (including our own Bolivian official history).

Sorry, I can't be assed even to debate this nonsense so instead I'll paraphrase Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: all imperialist property is theft.



But is very interesting that the first rebelions where not performed against the spanish, but against THE FRENCH ....!!!! (Napoleon was ruling Spain by that time, and we don't want to obey him). After the first battles and deaths suffered against spanish army (under french obedience), the wrath created by the loses and some smart university creoles lead to change the objetive: the Independence.

And without the help recived from England ( mortal enemy of Spain and France by that time), the Independence cannot be posible (they send weapons, money and even military generals and crew to help the libertadores, using the link of the masonery). I bet you don't knew that, either. You will not find it in our countrie's official history books.:D

I can only assume your point is that one imperialist power was slightly less rapacious and ruthless than the others.

Not much of a point when you're being worked to death...

Ruben Mundaca
03-16-2010, 10:33 PM
Sorry, I can't be assed even to debate this nonsense so instead I'll paraphrase Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: all imperialist property is theft.

.... Including Inca's Imperialist property, of course. Maybe you don't know either but Inca was an emperor, and gain his emire not giving candy to his enemies, but slaughtering them all.

Of course, in those times your's and Proudhon's morality doesen't care to anybody. Not to the Inca or Aztecas, for shure.


I can only assume your point is that one imperialist power was slightly less rapacious and ruthless than the others.

Not much of a point when you're being worked to death...[/QUOTE]


- That is one of your problems, señor Jan. You make too much "assumptions" and read less history.

- Indigenous people doesen't "work to death". At least, not much more than any european peasant in those times (normal journey was about 10 hours a day.) Sorry. Those times OIT doesen't exist.

But you are in contradiction with your own "assumptions". If they where slaves (as you "assume") then their lifes where well keeped by their masters.

... Because you know señor Jan, a slave is an expensive investment that any master don't want to lose ( specially when "healthy and adult Bolivians become scarce"). Offer and demmand, señor Jan.

Phillip Maddison
03-22-2010, 10:03 AM
In fact, spanish conquest (with all their limitations and diseases) bring a much better life for indigenous people in almost evry place in America. Aymaras where able to have their own land and keep most of their production (formerly, evrything belongs to the Inca). When spanish left America and specially, Bolivia, they leave behind a rich country (rich by those standards), richer than Argentina and Chile for shure, despite de destruction and poverty that bring 15 years of independence war. Now is the 2d.poorest country in American continent.

But Morales want money, and one way to gain it is to keep blaming spanish and europeans. He recive gifts, collaboration, grace remission of debts, and the sympathy and tears of ignorants.

It's very easy to exploit a history of ethnic dispossession - nationalism is so obviously good for one's people that it is adopted much more readily by people than more abstract political ideas (making all the more criminal what has been imposed on today's Europeans in an age when we all thought acknowledgement of indigenous peoples' rights was universal and going to be universally applied). But when African, South American and Asian leaders exploit manufactured 'White guilt' for good ends like debt cancellation they only get away with it because tptb are first and foremost the rulers and exploiters of Europeans and European-derived peoples. Anti-White leaders like Morales in South America, and nationalist politicians in Europe who exploit tptb's tolerance of anti-Islamic rhetoric should consider that they play a risky game. Tptb have been manipulating those kinds of politics for a long time. Carl Schmitt:


Indigenous defenders of homeland soil, who died pro aris et focis, national, patriotic heroes who went into the woods, everything which was the reaction of a telluric force in the face of foreign invasion, has now fallen to an international and supranational steering committee, which helps and supports in the interest of its own specific cosmic-aggressive ends - and which protects and abandons accordingly. The partisan ceases to be merely defensive. He becomes a manipulated tool of worldwide revolutionary aggressiveness. He thereafter becomes incensed that he had been deceived about that for which he took up his struggle, which defined his telluric character and bestowed legitimacy on his partisan irregularity.

Every Briton persuaded that Nick Griffin is right about the threat 'Islamisation' poses to Britain is a Briton primed to accept the next campaign of war propaganda against Iran, Syria or Pakistan mounted by an establishment that is just as hostile to Britain's traditional people and culture as it is to the Muslim world. And if Morales is prepared to scapegoat Europeans might he not one day face the wrath of a global elite which finds it convenient to decide that scapegoating and victimisation of Europeans is just as evil as racism against peoples who don't happen to be White?

Phillip Maddison
03-22-2010, 10:10 AM
That an interesting slant on history Ruben. By which I mean the idea that the Spanish Conquistadors and the Europe-nization of Latin America was ultimately beneficial.

Ruben only addresses certain objective economic and cultural aspects. And whatever the benefits of those European contributions, even if they are found to increase the carrying capacity of land still under the control of the indigenes to the extent more of 'em may live today than otherwise could, it's very unlikely that in the long run the indigenes will benefit from events that included their losing control of their homeland. The peoples of multi-ethnic empires tend to be blended out of existence. To the degree (precisely) that South America's Amerindian leaders also allow European, Asian, and African-derived peoples in South America to form sovereign territorities of their own I would support secessionist movements. This is objectively fair while Morales's scapegoating of Europeans is clearly not principled.


But what is now evident is that European civilization and its Anglo-American arm are doing more harm than ever before. In the age of the Enlightenment, Europe had many laudable things going for it. But this surely is not the case today where the dominant factor is, well, to dominate and plunder.

[and addressing Lemkin's screed]

It's not European civilisation doing this, much less Lemkin's 'gringoes' -- we are the first victims of the regime, its most dominated and plundered. The attempts of the global financiers to bring Asia, Africa and South America under their heel follows their having gained control of Europe and Europeans. Our lands and resources were raped first; our people were the first modern wage slaves; our corrupt governments have been running up unpayable debts to these gangsters for centuries; our cultures were the first to come under systematic attack because they tended to bolster local and traditional tendencies; and finally and most importantly -- and it could only come after the cultural attack and not meet with violent resistance -- no race-civilisation-continent has ever faced the race-replacing migration today's Europeans endure.

For all that the colonisation of Venezuala by Europeans was wrong by our standards Venezuala today has a president who speaks explicitly for the rights of its native and majority people and whom Amy Goodman, Peter Lemkin, myself, and even European leaders do not see fit to attack on that account -- it's considered good. Europeans, who face a much more clear and present demographic challenge, can only dream that nationalist politicians who speak for us would draw the support of Goodman, Lemkin and the establishment politicians. Any one of the leading European nationalist politicians might have made all those responses to Amy Goodman, but because he defends a people that happens to be White he wouldn't be invited onto 'Democracy Now' -- Goodman's brand of anti-racism, like Lemkin's, being quite unashamedly biased against White peoples' interests, which is to say objectively racist.

Keith Millea
03-22-2010, 07:48 PM
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/22-7

Published on Monday, March 22, 2010 by YES! Magazine (http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/as-glaciers-melt-bolivia-fights-for-the-good-life/?b_start:int=1&-C=) As Glaciers Melt, Bolivia Fights for the Good Life

Bolivia is watching its glaciers melt, early casualties of a changing climate. As communities struggle to adapt and the government tries to pioneer an alternative way forward, rural Bolivians believe the answer lies not in consumerist striving to live better, but in learning to live well.

by Jessica Camille Aguirre

Don Alivio Aruquipa is smiling as he gestures around his community. Behind him, groups of yelping children kick a soccer ball around a sloping green plaza. Every so often, the ball goes flying off the mesa into a plot of cultivated land below, and the children send someone to go retrieve it.
Looming over the verdant square that stretches among squat square buildings is Illimani, a blue, breathtaking colossus of craggy rock and snow. On the other side of the mountain sits La Paz, the burgeoning capital city of Bolivia. But here, in the village of Khapi, the hush of remote tranquility is interrupted only by children's cries.

Alivio, stocky and affable, is one of Khapi's community leaders. He turns somber as he explains how yellow water is beginning to come down from Illimani. The animals don't like it, he says; they get sick or they refuse to drink. The water flowing down from the mountain has also become unpredictable, he adds. It has become impossible to know when to plant the crops.
Khapi is a village of 40 families in the western part of the Bolivian altiplano; its residents rely on agriculture to survive. It is the closest community to Illimani (the name for both the mountain and the glacier atop it, which provides water not only to Khapi but also to La Paz). For as long as anyone who lives here can remember, the community has relied on water from the glacier to drink, wash, cook, and cultivate food. But now Illimani is disappearing.
Disappearing Glaciers

The melting of glaciers worldwide is one of the starkest effects of global warming (http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/climate-solutions/climate-change-feedback-loops-background-reading). In the Cordillera Real mountain range, part of the Andes, glaciers have lost 40 percent of their volume between 1975 and 2006. The glacier Chacaltaya, which sits approximately 20 miles from Illimani, has disappeared completely (http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/its-too-late-to-compromise-on-climate). Five years ago Chacaltaya was proudly heralded by Bolivian tour agencies as the highest ski slope in the world. Now the Bolivian Ski Club's welcome sign angles forlornly on a barren incline.
Bolivia, which is home to 20 percent of the world's tropical glaciers (glaciers that are located at high altitudes around the equator), is clearly panicked by the rapidity of glacial melt. Bolivia's tropical glaciers are especially susceptible to climactic changes: they depend on the increasingly erratic rainy season to regenerate, and their altitude compounds the effects of rising temperatures. Edson Ramirez, one of Bolivia's most respected glacier experts, predicted that Chacaltaya, at least, would last until 2015. Now, some scientists express doubt that any Andean tropical glaciers will exist in 30 years.

The trouble is that the tropical glaciers depend on seasonal regularity. In tropical zones south of the equator, seasons are generally divided into rainy and dry: dry is May through November (southern winter) and rainy is November through April (southern summer). During the rainy season, glaciers accumulate moisture and ice mass. This thaws during dry season, filling streams and rivers with fresh water precisely when it is most needed.
"Water Is Life."

When speaking about climate change, people in Bolivia use this refrain with reliable predictability. It is an uncomfortable, unavoidable aphorism. The glaciers are an indispensable part of the national water supply system; as much as 30 percent of the water supply for the 2 million residents of La Paz and its sister city of El Alto come from glacial melt. On a global scale, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center estimates that 75 percent of the world's freshwater is stored in glaciers.
But warming temperatures mean that the glaciers are melting at a rate that outpaces their ability to accumulate mass during the rainy months. The consequence is that an important source of water is dwindling dangerously.

And Khapi isn't just struggling with a deteriorating water supply. As a community that relies on intimate knowledge of weather patterns in order to survive, erratic weather has introduced unforeseen challenges to food production. Sagrario Urgel, with Oxfam Bolivia, is particularly worried about the effect of unpredictable weather on rural communities like Khapi: "They don't have ways to anticipate things like they had before, for the times of planting and harvesting," she explains, "and all of this change in climate is causing considerable crop losses."

Javier Cortez, a farmer in Khapi, bemoans that he is forced to use chemicals that he considers poison to protect his crops from new plagues. Some community members are bewildered but pleased that a few crops-avocadoes, for example-that could once be cultivated only lower in the valley now grow in the village.
But most are concerned about the new pests and the unreliability of water.
"The weather is already changing," Don Alivio laments. "In the old days the rain would come down for a whole week, it would rain slowly ... Now, how does it rain here? Only for two or three hours. It rains tremendously with storms, with hail-sheesh, it plows our crops too."

Khapi is the first community in a chain of villages that descends down a lush valley on the northern side of Illimani. Don Alivio estimates that more than 40 communities rely on the water that comes down from the glacier. On hot sunny days, they say, the water rushes down in torrents. It has forced many towns to build heretofore-unnecessary bridges. But most days, it trickles down at an exasperatingly meager rate.
Living Better, or Living Well?

For many of the people that live at the glacier's foot, the disappearance of Illimani means more than a threat to the water supply. The glacier plays an important role in the cultural and spiritual lives of Khapi residents, and many describe its retreat as equivalent to the loss of a family member...
Maria Teresa Hosse is the director of the Center for Andean Communication and Development (CENDA). Audacious and outspoken, Hosse explains climate change as the result of a fundamental loss of relationship to the Earth. Speaking at a climate change meeting in La Paz last December, Hosse spoke about capitalism as the root of the rupture (http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/the-new-economy/why-this-crisis-may-be-our-best-chance-to-build-a-new-economy) between humans and the environment. She has been working with climate change adaptation in Bolivia for more than 20 years, and she moved easily around the conference, chatting casually to community organizers and UN representatives alike. "The most important thing about the Andean culture is that it doesn't demand individualism; in fact it's more important to be part of a community (http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/10-courageous-things-you-can-do-to-build-community)," she says. "It doesn't pursue profit, it's much more important to vivir bien."

The concept of vivir bien (live well) defines the current climate change movement in Bolivia. The concept is usually contrasted with the capitalist entreaty to vivir mejor (live better). Proponents argue that living well means having all basic needs met while existing in harmony with the natural world; living better seeks to constantly amass materials goods at the expense of the environment.

The concept of vivir bien is gaining momentum as communities and social activists across Bolivia are meeting to talk about climate change. The underlying conviction is that climate change is caused by an absence of communication between society and nature. Many groups emphasize what they see as ancient Andean sensibilities-they propose a resurgence of communitarian-based consciousness with regard to resource consumption.
"From the Andean perspective of the cosmos, Illimani is a representation," Javier Villegas, a member of the national indigenous organization CONOMAQ (National Council of Ayllus and Markas of the Qullasusyu) says. He explains the significance of glaciers: "It's an Apu, a deity; a big being that is there that we respect. It is like a god to us."

Javier is sitting with Felix Iarme Poma, an indigenous community leader from the Cochabamba valley, and they fidget as they try to articulate what pachamama, usually translated as "Mother Earth," actually means. Their discomfort seems akin to how a Catholic might feel if pressed to define the soul. Felix, wearing a bright hand-woven poncho and a hat adorned with a burst of colorful flowers, explains that paying respect to the Earth is fundamentally important to ensuring a sustainable future: "For example, to do the planting, we give respect to the pachamama, to our wakas [places in nature that are considered sacred]. It's so that forever-for the people that produce-the rains will come through our mountains."
CONAMAQ and other national indigenous groups have drafted statements that demand recognition of the rights (http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/drafting-natures-constitution) of pachamama. They are trying to incorporate traditional lifestyle models into national sustainability strategies. They believe that protecting the ability to vivir bien is a more compelling call to action than scientific data.

In Khapi, many of the younger community members are moving to the cities of La Paz or El Alto in search of work. They are anxious about the prospects for their village as the water supply dwindles and uncertainty abounds. Don Max is one of the elders of Khapi, and his voice breaks as talks about the future: "Now what water will we use to take care of our crops? With what will we live? And our children, with what? That's why they've gone to the cities-our children have gone."
A Different Model

Evo Morales is positioning to become a climate hero on behalf of the global South. The first indigenous president of Bolivia-who is usually clad in an embroidered blazer and who is committed to honoring ancient customs with state pomp-received the title "World Hero of Mother Earth" from the United Nations General Assembly last October.
In a time of global climate defeatism, the Morales administration is now setting its sights on establishing Bolivia as a forum for alternative approaches to developing climate change solutions. To that end, Morales recently announced a people's climate conference (http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/america-the-remix/bolivia-to-host-climate-summit-for-the-people) to take place in Bolivia in April.

"For us, it's the vivir mejor model that has failed: the model of unlimited development, of industrialization without borders, of modernity that devalues history," Morales declared in November of 2008. At last year's climate change summit in Copenhagen (http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/copenhagen/copenhagen), Bolivia remained one of five countries that declined to sign the concluding statement. The government's objection, announced by Bolivia's UN ambassador Pablo Solon, was that rich, industrialized nations had put together an agreement without consulting leaders from the rest of the world. In an interview with Democracy Now! in Copenhagen, Morales asked, "If the leaders of countries cannot come to an agreement, why don't the peoples then decide together?"
Shortly afterward, he announced an alternative summit, officially titled the First World Conference of the People on Climate Change and the Rights of the Mother Earth.

Among Bolivia's demands are the establishment of an international climate justice tribunal, a global referendum on mitigation strategies, and the ratification of legal rights for the pachamama. Bolivia also demands that the international community recognize a historic climate debt (http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/climate-action/how-to-break-the-climate-stalemate-between-the-global-south-and-the-north) owed by industrialized countries to developing countries. (In 2000, a recent Oxfam report notes, Bolivia was responsible for 0.35 percent of global GHG emissions, compared to the United State's 16 percent and the European Union's 12 percent.)

But Morales faces a confounding paradox in one of the poorest countries of the Western hemisphere, where 65 percent of the population lives in poverty: should the government exploit the country's abundant natural resources for the sake of economic development or maintain those resources in the name of sustainability? Marcos Nordgren, a climate change policy expert at the Center for Research and Promotion of the Peasantry (CIPCA) is wary of many national development schemes: resource exploitation, he explains, is equally damaging whether managed by a multinational corporation or a government.

Many around the world laud Morales for his anti-capitalist rhetoric and apparent commitment to protecting the environment; for many, his inauguration as a UN climate hero cemented him as a beacon of hope. Meanwhile, many Bolivian environmentalists remain skeptical of government plans for development, and it is unclear whether Bolivia will escape its history of unsustainable resource exploitation.
But the deeper question is whether a government can catalyze a movement that is fundamentally grassroots; or, indeed, whether it ought to try.
Khapi's Future

In Khapi, Don Alvio and other community leaders had been asked to discuss their trips to international climate conferences with members of visiting organizations. Khapi has recently received attention in media and climate circles as a bleak augur of the effects of glacial melt. Khapi residents say that Illimani will be extinct in 15 to 40 years. They believe that they can continue to survive here, but only with the assistance of international organizations or the government. Otherwise, they say, their way of life is gone.

As the sun slowly set over the snow-capped ridge, Don Alivio began to recount his experience at a conference in Sweden. Gesturing profusely, he resorted to Spanish when Aymara, the indigenous language spoken in Khapi, failed to adequately illustrate his thoughts. Arms waving, he described a Swedish supermarket in detail. He mimed a cash register for his listeners, his presentation dotted with Spanish words: "robot," "highly developed," and "automatic."

As we left, my Danish colleague turned to me in astonishment. "That's my world he's talking about," he said. It's mine too.
We left Khapi early in the evening. It was understood from the beginning that the visit had to be short; later that night an important ritual was taking place. Four men were to partially scale the craggy face of Illimani to make an offering to the glacier. They would play music and ask for a good season. Then the men would file down, as the sun rose, to be greeted by their community.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License
Jessica Camille Aguirre wrote this article for YES! Magazine (http://www.yesmagazine.org/), a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Jessica is a researcher and project coordinator with the Democracy Center, based in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Magda Hassan
04-19-2010, 10:14 AM
Message to Bolivia: Nature’s Rights Are Also Human Rights

April 18, 2010 By Eduardo Galeano
Eduardo Galeano's ZSpace Page (http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/eduardogaleano) / ZSpace (http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/)
[Message of the author of the Open Veins of Latin America to participants of the First World Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba from April 19 to 22, as an alternative to the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit]

Sadly, I will not be able to be with you. Hopefully, all that is possible, and also the impossible, will be done so that the Summit of the Mother Earth becomes the first phase towards the collective expression of people who do not direct world polices, but suffer from them.

Hopefully, we will be able to carry forward the two initiatives of companion Evo (Morales, President of Bolivia)— the Climate Justice Tribunal and the World Referendum against a system of power founded on war and on waste, which scorns human life and auctions our worldly goods.

Hopefully, we will be able to speak less and do much. The wordy inflation, which in Latin America is more damaging than monetary inflation, has done us, and keeps inflicting, grave damages. And also, and above all, we are fed up with the hypocrisy of the rich countries, which is leaving us without a planet while it delivers pompous discourses to conceal the hijacking.

There are those who say that hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue. Others say that hypocrisy is the only proof of the existence of the infinite. And the babble of the so-called “international community”, that club of bankers and war-makers, proves that both the definitions are correct.

I want to celebrate, for a change, the force of the truth that words radiate and the silences born of human communion with Nature. And it is not by chance that the Summit of the Mother Earth is being realised in Bolivia, this nation of nations that is rediscovering itself after two centuries of a life of falsehood.

Bolivia has just celebrated ten years of a popular victory in the water war, when the people of Cochabamba were able to defeat an all-powerful Californian company, owner of the water by the grace of a government which said it was Bolivian and was very generous to those from afar.

That water war was one of the battles that this land saves for the defence of its natural resources: that is in defence of its commonness with Nature. Bolivia is one of the American countries where indigenous cultures have been known to survive, and those voices now resound with more force than ever, despite the long period of rejection and persecution.

The world, bewildered as it is and stumbling like a blind person in a shoot-out, will have to hear those voices.

These tell us, mere humans, that we are part of Nature, related to all that have legs, feet, wings or roots.

The European conquest condemned the indigenous people who lived in that communion for idolatry and, for believing in it, were whipped, beheaded or burnt alive.

From the time of the European Renaissance, Nature was converted into a merchandise or into an obstacle to human progress. And till now, that divorce between Her and ourselves has persisted, to the point that there still are people of good faith who are moved by poor Nature, so badly treated, so hurt, but they see Her from the outside. The indigenous cultures see Her from the inside.

Seeing Her, I find myself. Whatever I do against Her, is done against myself. In Her, I find myself; my legs are also the road that it walks.

Well, we celebrate this Summit of the Mother Earth. And if only the deaf do listen: human rights and the rights of Nature are two names of the same dignity.

Translated by Supriyo Chatterjee
Source: Rebelíon (http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=104276)

Keith Millea
04-19-2010, 06:02 PM
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/04/19-0
Published on Monday, April 19, 2010 by The Guardian/UK (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/apr/18/bolivia-climate-change-talks-cochabamba) Bolivia Climate Change Talks to Give Poor a Voice

by Andres Schipani in La Paz and John Vidal


Rafael Quispe is gearing up for his trip. He packs a small leather bag, puts on his black poncho, an alpaca scarf sporting the rainbow-coloured, chequered Andean indigenous flag and his black hat. "This will be an important gathering, a very important gathering. It is about saving our Mother Earth, about saving nature," he says.

http://www.commondreams.org/files/article_images/Women-in-traditional-dres-001_0.jpgMelting Andes glaciers pose a threat to Bolivians. At least 15,000 people from worldwide indigenous movements and civil-society groups, as well as presidents, scientists, activists and observers from 90 governments, are expected to attend what is being called the "Woodstock" of climate change summits.

Quispe, an Aymara indigenous leader, is heading for Bolivia (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/bolivia)'s central city of Cochabamba for the World People's Conference on Climate Change (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/climate-change) and the Rights of Mother Earth, the grassroots alternative to last year's ill-fated UN talks in Copenhagen.

At least 15,000 people from worldwide indigenous movements and civil-society groups, as well as presidents, scientists, activists and observers from 90 governments, are expected to attend what is being called the "Woodstock" of climate change summits.

"According to some analyses, about 80% of the world's pollution comes from developed nations and harms, mostly, developing nations. So we feel we have to do something, we must be heard, we must be compensated," says Quispe, who last December lobbied the case of his community at Copenhagen.

"The COP15 was a total failure, so brother President Evo Morales has decided to call for this climate change conference to do something about it. We the people are the ones that should take the lead on how to tackle the climate crisis," says Quispe.

Even if the Cochabamba meeting will have no bearing on the UN climate talks, the idea is to give a voice to the world's poorest people – those most affected by climate change – and to make governments more aware of their plight.

The main goal is to present draft proposals to the UN climate meeting due to be held in Mexico later this year.

Morales will also use the meeting to announce what could be the world's largest referendum, with up to 2 billion people being asked to vote on ways out of the climate crisis. Bolivia wants to create a UN charter of rights and to draft an action plan to set up an international climate justice tribunal.

"The only way to get climate negotiations back on track, not just for Bolivia or other countries, but for all of life, biodiversity, our Mother Earth, is to put civil society back into the process. The only thing that can save mankind from a [climate] tragedy is the exercise of global democracy," said Bolivia's UN ambassador, Pablo Solon.

"There will be no secret discussions behind closed doors. The debate and the proposals will be led by communities on the frontlines of climate change and by organisations and individuals from civil society dedicated to tackling the climate crisis," he added.

Bolivia is playing an increasingly important role in the climate negotiations by leading attempts to force developed countries to slash their emissions further than they have so far pledged.

It was one of seven countries that refused to sign up to the deal that emerged from Copenhagen, incurring the wrath of Britain and the US, which this month withdrew $3.5m (£2.3m) of climate aid from Bolivia.
Last April, the UN general assembly approved Morales' initiative of launching the International Mother Earth Day every 22 April to protect the rights of the Andean divinity, Pachamama (Mother Earth), and of "all living beings".

"What is behind all this discussion is that we have broken the harmony with Mother Earth, with nature, and because we have broken that harmony we are now suffering the consequences of climate change," said Solon.

In an office plastered with images of Che Guevara, Quispe says Bolivia is taking the initiative because of its indigenous constituency. "Things are moving in a bad direction. Governments know it, scientists know it, but things are not changing. I would say this is the only scenario to make a balance between the pressure that at this moment the corporations are putting on governments, versus the pressure that can emerge from civil society."

© 2010 Guardian News and Media Limited

Keith Millea
04-21-2010, 05:05 PM
http://www.counterpunch.org/peltier04212010.html
April 21, 2010
Remarks to the People's Conference on Climate Change

Indigenous People and the Environment

By LEONARD PELTIER
My warmest regards to our host, Bolivian President Evo Morales.
To Presidents Rafael Correa, Daniel Ortega, Hugo Chavez, and other esteemed Heads of State; national representatives; and all concerned citizens in attendance at the People’s Conference on Climate Change: I send warm greetings and thank you for your participation.

Today, environmentalists are often portrayed as marginal intellects and labeled “lunatic fringe,” rather than progressive thinkers with the ability to foresee the true cost of destructive corporate practices. I applaud your intent to ignore your detractors and admire your efforts to refine the proposals from the Copenhagen meetings—in particular, towards the creation of a world tribunal for climate issues and a global referendum on environmental choices. I know the calculus of this work is difficult to solve. Listening to the voices of so many to create a common solution is a unique and difficult challenge, but also a special opportunity. I offer prayers for your success.

My name is Leonard Peltier. I am a citizen of the Dakota/Lakota and Anishinabe Nations of North America. Like many of you, I am a tribal person. As Aboriginal peoples, we have always struggled to live in harmony with the Earth. We have maintained our vigilance and bear witness to a blatant disregard for our planet and sustainable life ways. We’ve seen that the pursuit of maximized profits through globalization, privatization, and corporate personhood has become a plague that destroys life. We know that it is not only the land that suffers as a result of these practices. The people most closely associated with the Earth suffer first and most.

The enormous pressures of corporate profits have intruded on our tribal lands, but also on our ancient cultures—even to the extent that many Indigenous cultures have virtually disappeared. Just as our relatives in the animal kingdom are threatened, many more cultures are on the brink of extinction.

In America, we are at ground zero of this war for survival and most often have been left with no mechanism to fight this globalization monster. On those occasions when we are forced into a defensive posture, we are disappeared, tortured, killed, and imprisoned. I myself have served over 34 years in prison for resisting an invasion intent on violating our treaties and stealing our land for the precious resource of uranium. The same desire for uranium has decimated and poisoned the Diné Nation of Arizona and New Mexico. The quest for land for dumping and hiding the toxic waste from various nuclear processes has caused a war to be waged on the Shoshone people of Nevada, as well. These are just a few examples of what “progress” has meant for our peoples. As many can attest, the same struggle is occurring throughout Central and South America. While my defense of my tribal lands made me a political prisoner, I know I’m not at all unique. This struggle has created countless other prisoners of conscience—not to mention prisoners of poor health and loss of life way, as well as victims of guilt and rage.

To live as we were meant to live is our first right. To live free of the fear of forced removal, destroyed homelands, poisoned water, and loss of habitat, food sources, and our overall life way is our righteous demand. We, therefore, continue our struggle to survive in the face of those who deny climate change and refuse to curb corporate powers.

It is time for all our voices to be heard.

It is time we all listen, too—or else our collective Mother will dramatically and forcefully unstop our ears.

The Indigenous Peoples have been the keepers of knowledge and wisdom—long ago bringing forth foods, medicines, and other products from which the world population still benefits. The loss of our lands and cultures, therefore, is a loss for the entire human family. We are all citizens of Earth and this planet is our only home. What affects one, affects us all. We are all interconnected and our fates are intertwined.
We can indefinitely survive here, but only if we work together to adopt sustainable models for living responsibly. We cannot continue to destroy Creator’s work, or allow others to do so, in the belief that there will be no consequences.

I pray for a new age—a new understanding, consciousness, and way of being—a new path for all the peoples of the world.
Aho! Mitakuye Oyasin!
(Thank you to all my relations. We are all related.)

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Leonard Peltier 89637-132
USP-Lewisburg
US Penitentiary
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837
USA

For more information on Leonard Peltier visit the Leonard Peltier Defense-Offense Committee website (http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/).

Keith Millea
04-21-2010, 06:09 PM
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/04/21

Published on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 by Environment News Service (ENS) (http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/apr2010/2010-04-20-02.html) 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."

http://www.commondreams.org/files/article_images/moralesevo.jpgBolivian 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

Keith Millea
04-21-2010, 06:37 PM
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.democracynow.org)

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/04/21-0
Published on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 by TruthDig.com (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/cochabamba_the_water_wars_and_climate_change_20100 420/) 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

Keith Millea
04-23-2010, 05:38 PM
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 (brendanorrell@gmail.com)

Keith Millea
04-23-2010, 06:05 PM
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/04/23

Published on Friday, April 23, 2010 by The Nation (http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100510/klein) 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 (http://www.thenation.com/))
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