1 May 2006
Bolivian President Calls for Creation of Anti-imperialist Community of Nations
By Ernesto Montero and Haraldo Romero, www.trabajadores.co.cu
Cuban president Fidel Castro, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and the Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez presided over a crucial event in the history of Latin American integration.
Before an audience of more than 25,000 gathered at Havana’s Revolution Square, which coincided with the signing of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) agreement one year ago between Cuba and Venezuela, Bolivia officially joined the regional integration agreement through its Peoples Trade Agreement (TCP).
Earlier, during a meeting in the Havana Convention Center, Evo Morales proposed to Hugo Chavez that the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) be recast under the name “Anti-imperialist Community of Nations,” in response to the fact that two member states of CAN, Columbia and Peru, had signed unilateral Free Trade Agreements with the United States.
“We must re-establish CAN, and we have already thought of a new name : the Anti-imperialist Community of Nations,” said Morales as he signed the document joining Bolivia to the ALBA agreement, along with co-signers Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.
The idea for the ALBA agreement -a model of regional political and economical integration based on solidarity- was first endorsed by Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez in December 2004. It was subsequently consolidated with a set of agreements on April 29, 2006, created as an alternative to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) agreement that the US government is continuing to force upon the region.
President Morales was the first to speak at the event, also attended by Sandinista leader and presidential candidate Daniel Ortega. “We never thought we would make it to where we have come,” said Morales, speaking of Bolivia’s inclusion in the struggle of Cuba and Venezuela. He added that his country is now “united with big brother Fidel Castro in the integration of Latin America.”
“We want to do our part in this great unity of Latin America and the Caribbean for our liberation. The indigenous peoples of Bolivia and America were condemned to extermination, historically looked down upon and humiliated, marginalized and excluded. We in Bolivia have decided to liberate our country.
“Thanks to a democratic revolution we were victorious last year and now we want to tell our Commander-in-chiefs that we will be at their side until we have liberated Latin America. To achieve this, we must gain control of our natural resources,” said Morales.
“We are prepared to acquire control over Bolivia’s national oil resources, to continue the struggle of our ancestors, of Che Guevara and of so many political and trade union leaders throughout Latin America. Our people will never abandon this struggle for our natural resources,” he said.
“There are now three of us to defend the peoples of Latin American, and I am convinced that this new peoples’ trade agreement, within the framework of ALBA, will be joined by other countries in the region,” said Morales.
Evo Morales then took the opportunity to invite Peruvian presidential candidate Ollanta Humala who is currently facing Alan Garcia in the second round of elections, to join them.
Morales urged Humala to participate in the inauguration in La Paz of “Operation Miracle” - a humanitarian initiative spearheaded by Cuba and Venezuela aimed at providing corrective eye-surgery to millions of Latin Americans over the next few years.
The Bolivarian president thanked Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and their countries for supporting this program that will provide thousands of low-income Bolivians with free eye surgery.
“Small solutions begin this way, in the government’s first three months of the Movement Toward Socialism, which is attempting to recast Bolivia so as to put an end to the colonial status and free-market “neo-liberal” economics. Our natural resources should be placed in the hands of the Bolivian people,” he asserted.
“The industrialization of the natural gas, he added, will be a solution so that our country ceases being a beggar state, as the preceding governments left it. This is a struggle for independence and socialism, despite the resistance of some oligarchic sectors in my country. But the Bolivian people will defeat that oligarchy.”
Morales added that “I agree with what we have signed today, which will not only integrate our three countries, but many countries.” He then expressed his thanks for a recent credit of $100 million and a donation of another $30 millions to Bolivia from Venezuela.
“Bolivia is not alone, but neither are you,” he assured, referring to Cuba and Venezuela. “Many social and political movements will continue to be joined with this motion that you lead.” He stated that he had not made a mistake when predicting the future of many Cubas and many Fidels in Latin America.
“There are provocations, there are conspiracies in Bolivia, but we are not afraid of them. It is the time to stand up for Latin America and to unite, regardless of regional or other interests. The struggle for our three countries continues.”
In his speech, Morales described Fidel Castro as revolutionary sage and Chavez as the revolutionary father, while he called himself a revolutionary son of these two leaders. “They are three revolutions, including the cultural revolution in Bolivia,” he said.