War on Drugs Has Failed in Bolivia: Evo Morales

Source:  TeleSUR
March 14 2019

evo morales telesur march 2019Together with representatives of 53 member nations, President Evo Morales
attended the 62 session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). | Photo: EFE

The president said that the universal strategies are ineffective in Bolivia and they are developing their own anti-drug initiatives.

The U.S. anti narcotics initiatives have failed in Bolivia, President Evo Moraleswrote in a Twitter post from Austria, Thursday, noting that new strategies are underway.

RELATED: Venezuela Leads Fight Against Narcotics While US, Colombia Part of ‘Vicious Cycle’ of Drug Trade: Arreaza

From the 62 session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the South American president tweeted, “The so-called war on drugs has failed and that is why we are forced to develop new anti-drug models that recognize the reality of each country.”

“We #Bolivia built a new anti-drug policy and demanded the use and ancestral consumption of the coca leaf. We appreciate the cooperation of the #EuropeanUnion, which accompanies us in the fight against drug trafficking, without conditions,” Morales said.

Preventative campaigns against the consumption of drugs and psychotics have been successful while simultaneously managing to maintain respect for rights of coca workers in the region.

“When we arrived at the government we inherited a model alien to the Bolivian reality, which did not take into account the traditional and medicinal uses of the coca leaf. On the contrary, it stigmatized, criminalized, and repressed producers. It was a geopolitical control mechanism,” the president wrote.

However, throughout his administration, which began on in 2006, the Indigenous politician prioritized the rights of the rural agricultural sectors, using legislation to protect farmers and their coca crops.

“We recognized and legally protected coca in the Constitution because it is part of the identity of Bolivia, in 2013 we managed to include a reservation from the Vienna Convention that decriminalized the cocaine,” he said.

The international meeting, attended by its 53 nations, was organized to “promote an exchange among member states on the current state of the global drug policy and adopt resolutions on specific measures and issues,” the World Association on Development and Drug Policy reported.

Bolivia: 10-Year-Old Boy Builds Piano Playing Robotic Hand

Source:  TeleSUR
March 17 2019

  • Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera launched the 9th Scientific Olympics.

Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera launched the
9th Scientific Olympics. | Photo: ABI

Diego Condori has a recommendation to children and young people, he tells them “you may be what you want, the important thing is that you study.”

Diego Condori has a recommendation to children and young people, he tells them “you may be what you want, the important thing is that you study.”

Diego Condori, a 10-year-old Bolivian prodigy, will travel from the southern city of Sucre to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) headquarters in the United States. Condori built a piano-playing robot hand with 4 motors and 8 fingers.

RELATED:  Evo Morales Proposes International Forum of Leftist Leaders

Condori has already decided, that when he grows up, he wants to pursue a career in the field of mechatronics. The young techie applied for a scholarship NASA, under the category of Academic Achievement.

The Bolivian Governmentled by President Evo Morales, launched the ninth edition of the Scientific Olympics, that in those years have grown from 54,000 participants to over 407,000, according to Minister of Education Roberto Aguilar. Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera was charged with launching this edition of the Scientific Olympics.

Diego Condori took time to give advice to children and young people, “you may be what you want, the important thing is that you study.”

The important scientific event is aimed at consolidating and promoting science in order to contribute to the technological development of Bolivia.

The education minister recounted when President Evo Morales issued a challenge to organize a student Olympics, saying that a solid industry is needed in all areas and, therefore, knowledge, science and technological development, as well as well-trained professionals are paramount for the development of the South American Andean country.

Latin American, African Nations Lead in Women Representation in Parliament

Source:  TeleSUR
March 8 2019

latin_americanx_african_countries_lead_with_women_legislatorsPiedad Cordoba (left), Sahle-Work Zewde (center), Cristina Fernandez (right)
are major political figures in their countries of origin, | Photo: EneasMx – Reuters

Out of the top 10 countries in the world with women in parliament, nine are located in Latin America and Africa.

Despite remaining challenges, Women have come a long way in politics. Almost a century after gaining the right to vote in most parts of the world, women now have a seat at the table  serving as lawmakers and even leading their country’s parliaments. And in this category, Latin American and Africa lead the way.

RELATED: UN: Women Losing Colombian Congressional Seats, Representation

According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), as of December 2018 out of the top 10 countries in the world with high numbers of women in parliament, nine are located in Latin America and Africa. Rwanda has the best record for women representation, with nearly two-thirds of its seats currently held by women.

Cuba and Bolivia

The African nation is followed by two other countries with more women in parliament than men – Cuba and Bolivia. The rest of the group is made up of four other Latin American and Caribbean countries – Mexico, Grenada, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica – and rounded out by two more African nations – Namibia and South Africa.

“A world where women have equal opportunities as men in political, social and economic spheres, is crucial towards creating a comprehensive sustainable development and improving the livelihood for all,” Kenyan Senator Sylvia Kasanga said as part of the #BalanceforBetter campaign luanched by the global network of female politicians, Women Political Leaders (WPL).

In the United States, 2019 marked a historic year for the number of women sworn into office in the 116th Congress. A record 127 will serve as congresswomen, 106 Democrats and 21 Republicans according to the Center for Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Names such as Ilhan Omar stand-out as she became the first Muslim congresswoman, along with Rashida Tlaib and Latina Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest elected congressperson in the country’s history.

However, the U.S. is far from equal representation as it stands on the IPU list in the 139th position with 19.6 percent of women in Congress. At the same time Latin America, as a region, has increased its percentage of women lawmakers by 20 percent from 1990 to 2018 reaching 30 percent.

As the World Economic Forum indicates, quotas reserved for women can explain this increase as they are a common factor in many of the electoral systems with more women as legislators and MPs. One of the first countries in the world to introduce such a law was Argentina in 1991.

Since then policies aimed to put forward a certain proportion of female candidates have been applied across Latin America and in other nations in the Global South. Also, the improvement of education access for women has to be taken into consideration.

Bolivia Under Evo Morales: 13 Years of Reclaiming Sovereignty

Source:  TeleSUR
January 23 2019

evo morales may 2018 2.png

Even the IMF has had to admit that Bolivia is a clear cut success story

“Mr. Evo Morales, it’s easy to make speeches about sovereignty and independence….come and govern, then you’ll see what it’s really like to administer the state” – Carlos Mesa, former president, and current opposition candidate said in 2005 in his resignation speech.

Bolivia

Bolivia has lived 13 years of the ‘process of change’ under the leadership of Evo Morales and the MAS (Movement Towards Socialism). Morales and the MAS were forged in a climate of radical street movements against privatization of natural resources. The MAS grouped together Indigenous social movements, with self-organized movements of the urban slums and what remained of the traditional Marxist left in the trade unions and the academy.

RELATED:  Bolivia Becomes Natural Gas Powerhouse, Expands Exports To Peru

By 2005 this coalition came to represent the crystallization of the deep-seated resentment, not just at privatization, but of 500 years of colonialism, social exclusion and a neoliberal democracy that wasn’t able or willing to meet people’s basic needs.

Bolivia’s social movements and non-sectarian left grouped around the MAS and won at the ballot box in 2005. In January of this year, they face primary elections than presidential elections in November of this year. They’ve won every election since 2005 with larger majorities each time, this despite a constant manipulation of public information from private media, and right-wing attempts at destabilization.

Why? What has 13 years of the ‘process of change’ meant for the country beyond greater representation for the Indigenous? On the questions of economic development, health and education, foreign policy the critics of the MAS have predicted disaster but instead been met by the undeniable policy success.

Economy 

“These actions against foreign investors really dampen the investment climate in Bolivia”  – U.S. State Department said in 2012.

Markets were jittery as the left took power in Bolivia. The Washington Consensus stated that only free markets, ‘flexible’ labor markets and monetarist policies could pave a path to economic development. Bolivia’s political class was determined to follow this religiously. Over 200 public companies were privatized, sold to foreign corporations at knockdown prices, this alone is thought to have damaged the economy to the tune of $22bn. What followed was a catastrophic fall in GDP and hyperinflation running at over 8000% by the end of 1985.

Despite this clear policy failure, many investors left the country as the left took power in 2005, fearing that “socialism” would bring economic ruin.

RELATED:  Bolivia: Historic Economic Levels Led by President Evo Morales

Though, over 13 years the left has presided over an economic miracle that even the IMF has had to admit that Bolivia is a clear cut success story. The economy has more than tripled in size, Bolivia is on course to be South America’s fastest growing economy for yet another year despite falls in the price of key exports.

Annual Inflation is running at a paltry 1.5 percent, whilst their neighbor Argentina sinks further into hyperinflation since adopting the neoliberal model that earned them praise from successive U.S. administrations.

Most important of all, the reduction in poverty has been the most impressive achievement of the MAS. When Morales took office, Bolivia was facing a humanitarian crisis with 60 percent of the total population living below the poverty line, that figure has been slashed in half by the MAS government.

This economic model that has produced these results is defined as a rejection of IMF recipes. Instead, Morales proceeded to nationalize Bolivia’s large strategic industries. Now that profits of those industries provided revenue for the state, those profits were used on capital spending, most notably on a massive integrated infrastructure plan that has been a crucial factor stimulating wider growth. State transport and manufacturing initiatives have also kick-started economic development in areas the free-market had never reached.

Health & Education

“[The government] neglects health and education, while ignoring calls for austerity”- Monsignor Gualberti, Catholic Church

A common refrain amongst Morales’ critics is that they’ve made little progress on health and education and that those vital services continue in state disrepair. One can expect this line to continue in the right wing media, even as the government is registering citizens for free universal healthcare.

It is true that Bolivia still until recently had lacked a comprehensive and public health system, as exists in Cuba. However, the situation in health and education has vastly improved, it’s just that it has mostly benefited the rural poor whose voices are not and have never been represented in the mainstream urban press.

RELATED:  Evo Morales Will Host ‘Year of Indigenous Languages’: UN

Between 2006 and 2018, the ‘Mi Salud’ program, operating with the help of Cuban doctors, has provided 16.4 million free health appointments, including 700,000 free eye surgeries in what’s known as ‘operation miracle’. These programmes involve reaching the poorest and most isolated, often going to their homes in far out areas of the Amazonian and Andean regions.

In education, the changes have been transformative too, not that it garners much coverage in private media. In the year 2000, amidst the firesale privatizations, just 35,73 percent of primary school age children were enrolled in school, after 10 years of the MAS in power, that number more than doubled, and continues to grow.

Again, those benefiting are mostly the rural poor, an inauguration ceremony for a public school in isolated communities is an almost weekly occurrence, though only covered by state media outlets.

Implementing the universal health care system will nevertheless be a serious challenge in Bolivia. The Doctors Association is vehemently opposed and already protested and gone on strike against the plan for free health. Most doctors would stand to lose as business for their private clinics dries up.

Sovereignty   

“In our view this was a grave error. Blaming others for your internal problems is not the way to cultivate bilateral relations.” – Former U.S. ambassador Philip Goldberg on being expelled from the country

The year 2003 was one of Bolivia’s worst years in recent history, not only was it the year of the ‘Black October’ massacre, but it was also one of the most brazen transfers of sovereignty to the U.S.. In 2003 an agreement was signed to give legal immunity to all U.S. soldiers and citizens in Bolivian territory, they had free reign to violate national laws and would not have to face justice unless it was at the request of the U.S. government.

The U.S. presence in Bolivia, through military advisors and bases, was part of Washington’s “War on Drugs” policy in the region that has historically allowed it access and interference in the internal affairs of Latin American countries.

In a rejection to such practices by the United States and in a clear signal that the people and their representatives will have full sovereignty over their country’s affairs and resources, Morales expelled the U.S. military bases in Bolivia, as well as the presence of the DEA and USAID along with the U.S. ambassador.

RELATED:  Bolivia Rejects US Threats of International Intervention: Pary

The country’s strategic industries were nationalized, therefore bringing back key decisions over development. Conventional wisdom would dictate that the size of U.S. investments in Bolivia mean that good relations must be maintained despite abuses and violations of sovereignty. Though, Bolivia has thrived since clawing back its independence.

The reactions in Bolivia to Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro gives a glimpse of how the country risks slipping back into a foreign policy of dependency. Bolivia sells large amounts of natural gas to Brazil and needs cooperation with them to combat trafficking and other issues on the border. Morales will have to maintain relations and has done so. However, he has been quick to stand up for Bolivia’s interests when there has been a lack of respect, like when one of Bolsonaro’s deputies made racists comments about Indigenous communities.

Evo publicly denounced the attack and demanded an apology. Whereas opposition candidates and activists claimed ‘we have to get on with our neighbors’. The deputy Rafael Quispe, an Indigenous deputy for the right-wing opposition claims to ‘not be offended’ by anti-Indigenous racism because ‘we have to get on with Brazil’. Opposition candidate to the presidency, Victor Hugo Cardenas (also Indigenous), actively celebrated Bolsonaro’s victory and seeks to replicate his ultra-conservative populism.

Submission to unequal foreign relations, whether that’s the U.S. or Brazil, does not represent ‘good relations’, it represents a defeat and humiliation of a government’s foreign policy.

Since taking power at the ballot box, the MAS has made profound changes to a country that had been in a state of ruin for a number of years following ‘structural adjustment’ (neoliberalism), and if Morales wins again this year then the process will have to deepen to overcome the challenges Bolivia still faces.

The role of the social movements and Morales’ government in recuperating a sense of cultural pride is recognized all over the world, as is the achievements on greater social inclusion for the country’s historically excluded communities.

Though, as the ‘process of change’ enters its 13th year, wider changes are worth analyzing. The process of recuperating economic and political sovereignty, together with the economic success that’s been sustained despite the crisis across the region and the low prices of its key exports.

The model of nationalizing strategic sectors and using its revenues for big capital spending for the common good can serve as a model for the rising left globally. Whether for Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, or Jean Luc-Melenchon in France, studying the Bolivian model will be crucial in building post-neoliberal economies.

Bolivia Closes 2018 Among The Highest Economic Growth Rates

Source:  TeleSUR
December 8 2018

evo morales dec 2018 telesurThe Bolivian economy, directed by Evo Morales and Alvaro Garcia Linera,
has one of the highest economic growth rates in Latin America.

Bolivia’s economy is among the greatest regional expansion, with  the economic policies of Evo Morales and Alvaro Garcia Linera leading to a growth of 4.7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

Bolivia will close 2018 with one of the highest economic growth rates in Latin America, with a growth of 4.7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to official data. And in a surprising move, The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has congratulated the South American country on its growth.

RELATED:  Evo Morales: US ‘Blackmailing’ Presidential Bid

Alvaro Garcia Linera, vice president of Bolivia, stated that the IMF “is an external source that checks our data and is proving that we are growing more than last year, but we have never paid attention to its recommendations nor are we going to pay attention to it, because our economic model is different from the economic model they are driving.”

The economic model followed by Bolivia is based on the Social Community Production, supported by a strong participation of the State in strategic sectors, which goes against the recommendations made by the IMF, which looks for the suppression of subsidies and the reduction of public investments.

The multilateral body recognized that in the last 15 years Bolivia has achieved a “strong growth and poverty reduction,” adding that the country has a considerable accumulation of international reserves. “Since the fall in the price of commodities in 2014, the authorities have carried out accommodative fiscal and credit policies to support growth. This approach has been successful in maintaining solid growth,” the IMF said.

“The IMF improved its #Bolivia growth forecasts to 4.5% by 2018,and estimates that the continent will grow only 1.2%. The IMF itself highlighted the reduction of extreme poverty in the country. Thanks to our Revolution, we are still the first in economic growth in South America.”  Evo Morales

The Bolivian economy registered on average a growth of 4.9 percent in the period 2006-2017, where more than three million people left poverty. The GDP registered a growth of 4.2 percent last year, according to the 2017 Bolivian Economy Report.

The Bolivian economy “goes up,” Garcia Linera stated, before adding that the IMF “had given us a 4 percent growth at the beginning of the year, 4.2 percent in June, and in December it is going to grow at 4.5 percent, ratifying what we had announced in advance and the Fund did not.”

Evo Morales Denounces Chilean Government’s Plans to Destabilize Bolivia

Source:  Internationalist 360

https://www.telesurtv.net/__export/1538868332352/sites/telesur/img/news/2018/10/06/evo_morales_arriving_to_el_alto.jpg_1718483346.jpgBolivia’s President Evo Morales has denounced plans by the Chilean oligarchy to destabilize the country after the Hague’s ruling on sea access.

“After the October 1 ruling, the Chilean oligarchy wants to destabilize and divide us so we forget about the sea, but Bolivia will never give up on its sea claim,” Morales posted on Twitter.

The president also warned of an “open” conspiracy between the Chilean oligarchy and Bolivia’s right-wing political sphere.

El capitalismo nos quiere dividir para dominarnos y dominarnos para robarnos. La derecha boliviana tiene derecho a unirse, pero no debe ser un instrumento de la oligarquía chilena. Aliarse con la oligarquía chilena es traición a la Patria.

— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) 6 de octubre de 2018

“Capitalism wants to divide us to dominate us and dominate us to steal from us. The Bolivian right has the right to unify, but it must not be an instrument of the Chilean oligarchy. Allying with the Chilean oligarchy is treason to the motherland.”

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled against Bolivia’s petition to discuss access to the Pacific Ocean with Chile, based on historical diplomatic commitments.

“It is not over: even if the court has decided it will not accompany the maritime claim, just as it has accompanied almost every nation in the world, the multilateral world, like former members or secretaries-general of the United Nations like Kofi Annan, rest in peace.” said Morales.

“That will continue because it is a boisterous demand from the people of Bolivia. Just think about it. I’m not sure the court understands this.”

On Tuesday, Morales announced he would write a letter to the ICJ to highlight contradictions in its ruling.

Bolivia surrendered most of its former coastline to Chile in a 1904 treaty following the War of the Pacific.

The Andean neighbors have held occasional talks about a possible corridor to the sea for Bolivia ever since, but judges said that did not create any obligation for Chile to actually negotiate one.