‘The World is Not Trump’s Estate’: Bolivia’s Evo Morales Condemns US Sanctions on Venezuela

Source:  TeleSUR
May 22 2018

evo morales may 2018 2.pngBolivia’s President Evo Morales speaks during a news conference at the
presidential palace in La Paz, Bolivia. | Photo: Reuters

“It is a reprisal for having democratically defeated the coup, boycott against President Nicolás Maduro,” Bolivia’s president reiterated. 

Bolivian President Evo Morales has rejected a new round of sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the United States’ after Nicolas Maduro was re-elected as the country’s president Sunday.

RELATED:   Bolivia’s Evo Morales: Maduro’s Victory a Triumph Over Coup Plotters, Intervention

“We condemn the unilateral decision that imposes a new economic blockade to suffocate the Venezuelan people, in retaliation for having defeated the coup, boycott against President Nicolas Maduro democratically. Trump must understand that the world is not his estate,” Morales said in a tweet posted late Monday.

The U.S. along with its right-wing European and Latin American allies have repeatedly called Venezuela’s elections a ‘sham’ before and after Maduro won at the polls.

Morales’ remarks come after he congratulated Maduro on his re-election, and praised it as a victory against foreign interventionism.

Condenamos decisión unilateral de EEUU que impone un nuevo bloqueo económico para asfixiar al hermano pueblo venezolano, como represalia por haber derrotado democráticamente el boicot golpista contra el presidente Nicolás Maduro. Trump debe entender que el mundo no es su hacienda

“It is a reprisal for having democratically defeated the coup and boycott against President Nicolás Maduro,” Morales reiterated.

Over 20 million Venezuelans were called to the polls to elect their next president, where Maduro won with 6,190,612 votes, with a 46 percent voter turnout.

US Interventions in Latin America Continue and Intensify

Source:  The Real News Network
May 6 2018

Transcript

GREG WILPERT: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Greg Wilpert coming to you from Quito, Ecuador.

Ten years ago, most of Latin America was governed by center-left progressive or even leftist governments. For example, Cristina Fernandez in Argentina, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, and Lula da Silva in Brazil, just as an example. And Hugo Chavez, of course, in Venezuela. Since then, the so-called ‘pink tide’ has receded quite dramatically. Of these 10 governments that were left of center, only four remain. Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia, Vazquez in Uruguay, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. What happened? Some would argue that the U.S. played an important role in at least some of these changes.

Joining me to explore the role of the U.S. in Latin America is Mark Weisbrot. Mark is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and is the author of the book “Failed: What the Experts Got Wrong About the Global Economy.” He’s also the president of the organization Just Foreign Policy. Thanks for being here again, Mark.

MARK WEISBROT: Thanks, Greg. Thanks for having me.

GREG WILPERT: So before we get into the role of the U.S. in Latin America, it’s useful maybe to take a quick look at the impact that the leftist or center-left governments had on Latin America. What would you say were the main achievements or the main consequences of their governments in some of those countries?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, if you look at the region as a whole, the poverty rate dropped from 44 to 28 percent. That was from around 2003-2013. And that was after the two decades prior where poverty had actually increased, there was no progress at all. So that was a huge change, and it was accomplished in different countries in different ways. You know, there were large increases in public investment in Bolivia and Ecuador. In Brazil you had also some increase in public investment , big increases in the minimum wage. You know, every country did different things to help bring healthcare, and increase, in some countries, education, access to education. And there were a whole lot of reforms. Changes in macroeconomic policy. Getting rid of the IMF.

So there were a lot of different things that these governments did that prior governments were either unable or unwilling to do to improve people’s living standards during a period of higher economic growth, which they also contributed to.

GREG WILPERT: And so how has Latin America changed now since then, when right-wing governments took over most of the continent?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, you have different things that have changed. I mean, one is, of course, they’re implementing, as you would expect, right-wing reforms. Trying to cut pension system, the pension in Brazil, passing a constitutional amendment which, you know, even most economists in the world wouldn’t support in Brazil, which prohibits the government from increasing spending beyond the rate of inflation. You have, you know, huge increases in utility prices in Argentina, laying off thousands of public sector workers. So everywhere where the right has come back, you do have some regressive changes.

GREG WILPERT: And so how has the U.S. contributed to these changes, and what goals would you say is the U.S. pursuing in the area?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, I think the U.S. has contributed in so many ways it would take an hour at least to summarize just some of this history. But I think the U.S. has been involved in, in most of these countries in various ways. Obviously in Venezuela they’ve been involved since the coup in 2002, and they tried to overthrow the government and tried to help people topple the government on several occasions there. In Brazil they supported the coup against Dilma, the parliamentary coup. So they didn’t do that strongly, but they sent enough signals, for example, I’ve mentioned this before on this show, right as the House was voting to impeach Dilma without actually presenting a crime that she committed, the head of the Foreign Relations Committee from the Senate came and met with the number three official from the U.S. State Department, Tom Shannon. And then of course in August of that year, the Secretary of State John Kerry went down there and had a press conference with the Acting Foreign Minister Jose Serra. And they, of course, talked about how great relations with the U.S. were going to be before Dilma was actually removed from office. So these were ways of endorsing the coup.

And of course, the Department of Justice contributed to , the FBI, the Department of Justice contributed to the investigation that was instrumental in imprisoning Lula. Now, what they did in that investigation we don’t know exactly, but we do know enough about it to know that it wasn’t a neutral investigation. That is, the investigation did end up decapitating the Workers’ Party for now, first helping get rid of Dilma, but more importantly, or more substantially, in terms of its contribution, they they helped put Lula in prison and prevent him from running for office.

And in other countries, in Paraguay, the U.S. helped in the consolidation of that parliamentary coup by organizing within the Organization of American States. In Honduras is probably the biggest role that the U.S. has played, both in consolidating the military coup in 2009, Hillary Clinton acknowledged her role in making sure that President Zelaya, the democratically elected president, would not return to office, and then more recently in November they helped consolidate the results of an election which pretty much all observers regarded as stolen.

Those are just a few of the examples. I mean, I guess I didn’t even mention Argentina, where other branches of government were involved as well as the executive, but the executive cut off lending from multilateral development banks such as the Inter-American Development Bank, and tried to block loans at the World Bank, as well. And they restored everything as soon as the right-wing government was elected. And then there was Judge Griesa in New York, who took all of Argentina’s, over 90 percent of Argentina’s creditors, hostage in order to squeeze them so that the government would pay off the vulture funds. And this was very political, because he also lifted the injunction as soon as you had the right-wing government.

And I think this is very important, because obviously it’s not necessarily a conspiracy of all these branches of government. The legislative branch was involved in this as well, in the United States. But they all have the same mindset, and they’re all trying to get rid of these left governments, and they had a massive contribution. I mean, Argentina, that did contribute to the downfall of Cristina Kirchner. It contributed to balance of payments problems that they had there. So this was important, and it’s totally ignored here in the United States.

GREG WILPERT: And then why was it ignored in the United States? I mean, what is it about U.S. media coverage, and why is there so little coverage of U.S. role and Latin America?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, you know, maybe you should interview some of the reporters who cover it, if they’re willing to answer that question. I think that it’s it’s complicated in some ways, but in some ways it’s very simple. First of all, for U.S. intervention anywhere in the world they have a kind of a smoking gun standard. So you know, we have in our criminal justice system the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. But this is a much higher standard. So nothing is really discussed in terms of U.S. intervention unless it’s really a smoking gun, where they’re caught red-handed in a way that nobody could deny. And that almost never happens.

So in Venezuela, for example, in 2002 when you had the coup, you had State Department and CIA documents which documented the involvement of the United States. They helped fund and train the people who did the coup, and they made statements following the coup that they knew were false in order to help the coup consolidate itself, and they failed in that case. But you know, in Haiti in 2004, which I hadn’t even mentioned, they took the president and put him on a rendition plane, and flew him out of the country. That was in broad daylight.

But in any case, they have a story that’s not at all believable, and the press kind of accepts that and never looks back. Whenever they mentioned, you know, Chavez complained about the coup, and it was a major obvious source of bad relations with Venezuela, but they always just reported it as an allegation of a figure that they of course were discrediting at every turn.

So that’s kind of how they report all of these. When they report the facts at all, they put it in the context that makes it look like there wasn’t any intent, or any real effect of U.S. policy in the region. But mostly it’s like reporting on Ukraine and never mentioning Russia, you know, it’s as if the United States doesn’t have any real influence in the Americas, and of course anybody knows they have an enormous influence.

GREG WILPERT: So what would you say are some of the implications for the foreseeable future of this U.S. policy towards Latin America?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, right now, of course, they’re still involved. And you have intervention in Mexico, for example. U.S. officials have already said how worried they are that AMLO, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is the frontrunner in the upcoming election in July. And he’s probably going to win, but they’re already trying to undermine him, lobbying accusations of Russia involvement, which is the new trend. Of course, completely unsubstantiated. In Venezuela they’re doing something probably never done in the last 50 years, openly calling for a military coup, and actually a financial embargo they’ve put in place, and threatening even a worse embargo if they don’t get rid of the current government. So that’s, I think, a more aggressive form of intervention than you had even under the prior administrations.

And they’re pretty open about it. And again, most of the media seems to treat it as a non-issue. In fact, that’s actually a very important example, because there’s an election going to take place in a couple of weeks, and the media is pretending that it’s not really an election. But you have a credible opposition candidate who’s leading in the polls, and they’ve reached agreement with the government on a set of procedures which are similar to almost all the other elections they’ve had for hte last 20 years, and a set of guarantees, which of course, the candidate Falcon won’t recognize the election if they don’t follow them. So you have a real contested election, but the U.S. government has decided they don’t want that, and the hard-right opposition is in line with them, and so they’re all pretending there’s no election at all, because they’re committed to a strategy of violence, of regime change.

GREG WILPERT: OK. We’ll certainly continue to follow this, especially the U.S. role in Latin America. I was speaking to Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Thanks again, Mark, for joining us today.

MARK WEISBROT: Thank you, Gregory.

GREG WILPERT: And thank you for joining the Real News Network.

The End of Electoral Contests in Latin America?

Source:  La Santa Mambisa

March 12 2018

by Alfredo Serrano Mancilla

(Translated by Keith Ellis)

the end of electoral politics.jpeg The contest in Latin America is no longer primarily electoral. The conservative rollback has other mechanisms that are not necessarily the ballot box. The chosen route is almost always something else.  Each case is different: it all depends on the country in question.  They use one tool or another depending on the scenario and on what tools are available.

Each context determines the method of intervention chosen to block or eliminate the progressive forces.  If they still have control of the Judicial Power, that path is used to proceed against them.  If what they enjoy is Legislative Power, a parliamentary coup is what is resorted to.  And always, wherever it may be, Economic Power and the Power of the Media act in unison.  The first will use all its weapons to disrupt whatever economic and social equilibrium has been achieved; and the second will undermine the image with falsehoods or fake news that end up being part of the destructive common sense.  And from this list of powers the Power of the “International Community” is never missing, for it is always ready to apply all the possible forms of pressure to delegitimize progressive options, whenever they can, or legitimize undemocratic options that are suitable for their interests.

  • In Brazil, the stupid judicial excuse they are putting forward shows that they are clearly not going to allow Lula to take part in the elections. Before that, they had already removed Dilma from the presidency, by means of a parliamentary coup using the ridiculous pretext of “fiscal manipulation.”  Judicial and Legislative Powers, together with Economic and Media Powers, and with the power of international complicity, are all combined for a “win” without them having to go through polls.  Temer governs as a democrat despite not having to present himself as a presidential candidate.
  • Ecuador, a different scenario and different methods. Correa’s successor was used to prevent his party, the “Revolution of the Citizenry,” from continuing in power.  Thanks to a pact between the current president Lenin and the old democratic party, there was an agreement made, without consulting the Constitutional Court, that had the sole objective of preventing Correa from participating in a new presidential contest. Thus, a new model: the rollback from within.  The opposition took part in the elections and lost.  But that was no obstacle to its winning the political battle, thanks to the resentment—of Lenin and of a certain part of his party—against Correa.  The banking sector and all the media joined the new rollback consensus with the intention of ending the progressive cycle embodied in the figure of Correa.
  • In Argentina, there was quite a notable communicational and economic onslaught, but the electoral route was sufficient to put an end to the Kirchner period. The opposition had an advantage: Scioli, her successor, not Cristina, was the candidate.  The opposition just barely won.  And then quickly brought on judicial arrests, open trials, biased press coverage.  It is still too early to know how the presidential dispute will turn out in 2019.  But if it is necessary to prevent Cristina, or any other potentially winning candidate, from contesting the election, let no one doubt that the attempt will be made to do it in a judicial or parliamentary way.
  • In Venezuela everything is being amplified.  The latest development has been the most evident: the opposition has definitely decided not to participate in the elections.  It has thus demonstrated that it has no interest in the electoral route for achieving political power.  In fact, in this country, in 2002, an orthodox coup d’état was attempteda running unconventional coup has been tried, along with a sustained high-intensity economic war (via prices and shortages); there has been violence in the street causing many deaths; social uprising has been tried in order to overthrow the president; there have been US decrees, threats and a blockade; the whole gang has been deployed (OAS, European Parliament, Lima Group, Mercosur, Country Risk, International Banking). And now, finally, they have the idea of not participating in elections.  Strange democrats these, who do not believe in democratic rules when they anticipate losing.  The interesting thing about this case is that in Venezuela, the current government is fully aware that the field of dispute is as much in the electoral as in other areas.  And this allows Maduro to be a “survivor” in this new phase.
  • In Bolivia,something similar happened.  The recall referendum was obstructed by a reality show that hurt the popularity of Evo.  The heavy artillery will come ahead of the presidential election in 2019.  However, the president has understood for some time, since the attempts at democratic interruption at the stage of the Constituent Assembly, that this dispute is multifaceted. It does not mean that it will be easy, and everything is possible from now on.  But so far, Evo aims to be the other “survivor” to this rollback onslaught.  He has overcome the last great obstacle: finding the legal mechanism that would allow him to stand for re-election.  He was aware that, because of it, he would be criticized, but he preferred this to putting in jeopardy the continuity of the project.  It was a wise decision to continue moving forward with the approval of the Bolivian people.

We are definitely facing another historical phase of the 21st century in this “Contested Latin America”. The electoral aspect counts, but it is not the only path chosen in order to end the progressive cycle.  Some have always known it, and others have learned it by having suffered it in their own experience. The field of political dispute is more and more complex: votes are necessary, but so are economic, media, legislative, judicial and international power. And military power, although it seems a matter of the past, we should never ignore it, because it is always more present than we imagine.

Bolivia: Evo Morales Presents Govt. Progress Report

Source:  TeleSUR
January 22 2018

The Indigenous leader showed a graph with data proving that Bolivia is the “first in economic growth in all of South America.”

evo morales feb 2018.jpg

Bolivian President Evo Morales. | Photo: Reuters

Bolivian President Evo Morales has presented a report on government progress under his administration to the country’s Plurinational Legislative Assembly on the 12th anniversary of its foundation.

RELATED:  Bolivia’s Infant Mortality Rate Significantly Reduced by 56%

“There are already 12 years of social and political stability, 12 years of the formation of the Plurinational State, and I am here to give an account to all the Bolivian people,” Morales said, thanking those who accompanied him during his administration.

The people came to power

The head of state said “the presence of assembly members of all colors, of all sectors, is proof that the people came to power.”

Morales said that his country’s economic, political and social achievements have made Bolivia one of the fastest-developing and improving economies in South America.

“We have showed that our beloved Bolivia is moving forward. We have important data from international organizations where we demonstrate the growth of our nation and the union of the Bolivian people.”

First in economic growth

The Indigenous president showed a graph with data from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund proving that Bolivia is the “first in economic growth in all of South America.”

He compared growth between 1994-2005 to 2006-2017, pointing out that GDP boosted significantly during his tenure.

“Despite international economic onslaught, we continue to grow and become one of the economic engines of Latin America,” Morales said.

The Bolivian leader also highlighted government support for public investment, demonstrating that the central government supported governorates, municipalities and universities in the execution of their projects.

Bolivia, Trinidad Launch Anti-Violence Carnival Campaigns

Source: TeleSur
February 10 2018
bolivia trinidad carnival campaigns.jpg

Women are statistically more likely to be subjected to violence and sexual harassment during the annual carnival celebrations. | Photo: EFE


Bolivia is also boosting awareness of the Law to Guarantee Women a Life Free From Violence, which, according to the United Nations, has yet to reduce femicide.

Bolivia Without Violence is launching a “Carnival without excess, without violence” campaign aimed at reducing crime during the annual celebrations and encouraging men to treat women and girls with respect.

RELATED:
Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago: Women Fight Abuse During Carnival

Bolivia Without Violence is made up of private, public and international organizations, including U.N. Women and local municipal governments.

Five of Bolivia’s major cities are part of the campaign, which has so far distributed 10,000 leaflets; installed billboards; established an emergency hotline, and broadcast educational videos.

The campaign is also boosting awareness of the Law to Guarantee Women a Life Free From Violence, which, according to the U.N. Women Coordinator, has yet to reduce femicides.

More than 100 women are still murdered in Bolivia every year, and the number of victims is rising: last year, 111 femicides were reported and in 2016, according to the general prosecutor, 104 women were murdered.

According to data gathered by the Bolivian Special Police Task Force Against Violence, last year’s carnival was marred by 89 violent incidents; in 2016, 74 such incidents were reported.

Spikes in violent acts against women are also observed in carnival celebrations elsewhere in the region. In Trinidad and Tobago, a new law has been passed to combat harassment by requiring consent to engage in a popular dance known as “wining.”

In Brazil, women’s organizations have launched a campaign highlighting the difference between flirting and harassment. Women participating in carnival celebrations in the states of Minas Gerais, Bahia, Sao Paulo and Pernambuco now carry tattoos with the message: “No means no.”

Latin America Celebrates Centenary of Russian Revolution

Source: TeleSUR
November 7 2017

venezuelans gather for October revolution 100th.pngVenezuelans gather to celebrate the 100 years of the October Revolution.
| Photo: Twitter / PartidoPSUV

Bolivian President Evo Morales congratulated the Russian people on the 100th anniversary of their revolution.

Thousands across Latin America are mobilizing and celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Russian Revolution with various events throughout the region.

RELATED:   China and Russia: Digging the US Dollar’s Grave

In Venezuela, workers are marching from Caracas’ Autonomous National Telephone Company to the Miraflores Presidential Palace.

“We, as revolutionaries and socialist, join in this global commemoration,” said Freddy Bernal, a member of the National Directorate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, who called for the mobilization.

In Peru, the Communist Party is hosting an event at the Auditorium of the Telephone Workers’ Union of Peru to celebrate the Russian Revolution. A series of events are also being held in Uruguay.

Meanwhile in Bolivia, President Evo Morales congratulated the Russian people on the 100th anniversary of their revolution, describing it as an example in the fight against tyranny and inequality.

“The Russian Revolution triumphed on this day, one hundred years ago. United, peasants and workers managed to form the first socialist state in the world,” Morales posted on his Twitter account.

The Bolivian government is slated to host an international meeting titled “A 100 years of the Russian Revolution,” in which its influence on left-wing movements in Latin America will be analyzed. Bolivia’s Vice-President, Alvaro Garcia Linera, is also scheduled to give a keynote address at the Central Bank auditorium in La Paz for the occasion.

Other events are taking place until Thursday in Peru, Chile, Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America.

Russia’s October Socialist Revolution took place on Oct. 25, 1917, according to the Julian calendar, or on Nov. 7, according to the Gregorian.

It was the second phase of the 1917 Revolution, which was preceded by a mass women’s protest as they took to Nevsky Prospekt, the main avenue of the former Russian capital of Petrograd, to protest their immiseration. Within three or four days, the Tsarist monarchy was vanquished

The new Bolivia continues to advance with Evo Morales

Source:  Granma
October 18, 2017

by: Joaquín Rivery Tur | rivery@granma.cu

Over a decade ago, when the government of Evo Morales took office in Bolivia, only 40,000 Bolivians received gas at home. Today, 3.5 million have access to the service where they  live.

evo morales oct 2017.jpgPresident Evo Morales has served the country for 11 years, despite fierce
opposition from the local oligarchy and the U.S. 

Over a decade ago, when the government of Evo Morales took office in Bolivia, only 40,000 Bolivians received gas at home. Today, 3.5 million have access to the service where they live.

The nationalization of the hydrocarbon industry in 2006 resulted in economic progress for Bolivia. It allowed the country to multiply national gas export revenues from two billion dollars in 2005, to 31.5 billion dollars in 2016.

The local oligarchy conspired with the U.S. embassy in the Andean nation to overthrow the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) led government, but failed.

The Bolivian government was forced to expel the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. ambassador, for their interference in the country’s internal affairs.

According to studies, especially those carried out by Canadian firm GLJ Consultants, its is estimated that in the next five years Bolivia’s proven natural gas reserves will increase to 17.45 trillion cubic feet, and production levels will be at a minimum of 73 million cubic meters per day.

Bolivia at the forefront of regional economic growth

The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) places Bolivia at the forefront of regional economic growth in its latest report. In 2016, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was 4.3%, while the Ministry of Economy has forecast 4.7% growth for this year.

One of the most important projects underway in the country is the construction of the first polypropylene and propylene plant, to be established in the province of Gran Chaco, located in southern Bolivia, indicative of the industrialization and diversification of the national economy, alongside lithium industry projects.

The President of the state-owned oil company Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), Guillermo Achá, explained that the polypropylene plant will create at least 1,000 direct jobs, and some 10,000 further positions related to the petrochemical complex – thus alleviating one of the country’s endemic problems: unemployment. The mega project has seen investment of over 500 million dollars.

The Plurinational State is also developing significant new energy generation projects, including the building of hydroelectric power plants in Carrizal, Cambarí, and Huacata; expansion of the Termoeléctrica del Sur power station; wind power generation in La Ventolera; solar power in the highlands; and projects for internal industrial development, and even for energy exports.

Nationalization vastly more beneficial than privatization

Meanwhile, YPFB statistics show that the nationalization of natural resources has generated $31.5 billion dollars over the past 10 years, far more than the $2.5 billion that was collected in the same period under privatization.

Undeniably, the population of this new Bolivia has seen their living standards greatly improved, with the construction of roads, schools, hospitals, and sports centers. Hundreds of thousands of Bolivians have recovered their sight thanks to Operation Miracle, the ophthalmologic rehabilitation program promoted by the governments of Cuba and Venezuela.

The local pro-U.S. oligarchy continues its plans to regain power, especially those in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the capital of the country’s largest constituent department, where plots to overthrow the government have been prepared with the participation of foreign mercenaries.

Separatist opposition movements have also tried unsuccessfully to separate the departments of Pando, Beni, Santa Cruz, and Tarija (known as the “half moon” due to their overall shape) from Bolivia.

It’s no secret that when Evo Morales assumed office on January 22, 2006, many did not believe he would be able to complete his presidential term, let alone do so as successfully. However, the first indigenous President of Bolivia is now the longest serving head of state of the country.

None of his predecessors in the position were able to secure an electoral victory for three consecutive terms, or maintain such high approval ratings among the Bolivian people. (With information from teleSUR)