Re-Targeting Cuba: US Renews Effort to Squash Cuba

Source:  Counterpunch
March 20 2019

Re-Targeting Cuba.jpegPhotograph Source Detail of 1591 map of Florida and Cuba
User: SEWilco • Public domain

Embarked upon overthrowing Venezuela’s socialist government, the U.S. government now renews efforts to squash Cuba. The U.S. record of implacable hostility features terror attacks, military invasion, germ warfare, internal subversion, and almost 60 years of U.S. economic blockade. Devoid of natural resources ready for U.S. plunder, Cuba offends by having defended socialism and national independence. Now Title III of the U.S. 1996 Helms Burton Act joins an arsenal of weapons employed in what Cubans regard as genocidal aggression.

Inflicting suffering and destabilization

Helms Burton is complex but centers on tightening the economic blockade; preparing for a transition government; and by means of Title III, inflicting suffering and destabilization.  The latter is taking place now in Venezuela, by other means.

Title III opens the door for the former owners and the heirs of properties nationalized by Cuba’s revolutionary government to bring actions in U.S. courts to gain compensation for what they lost. Persons or companies presently occupying such properties, or profiting from them, and who are located in third countries, would be required by the courts to pay off the aggrieved parties. These live in exile, mainly in the United States. The courts would lack enforcement capabilities.

In 1966, when the law was introduced, the European Union and other critics insisted that the U.S. government delay implementation of Title III. It did so and for the next 23 years, at six month intervals, the United States did announce one six-month delay after another. But a new era dawned on January 16 when the State Department declared that this time suspended implementation would end at 45 days. Something was up.

On March 4 the State Department indicated that in 30 more days Title III would be applied to the foreign and Cuban “traffickers” in nationalized properties. Also Title III would, as of March 19, be extended to 200 Cuban enterprises controlled by Cuban security forces or state agencies, many of them connected with Cuba’s tourist industry. The U.S. government in November, 2017 had already put those facilities off limits to U.S. tourists.

Violation of Cuban sovereignty

As of early April, international investors, aid agencies, and business-persons active or looking to be active in Cuba will be facing vast uncertainties. The former owners of nationalized properties may be suing them in U.S. courts. Concerned about a slippery slope of U.S. disfavor, they may cease involvement with Cuba.  And what with unsettling news, foreign lenders may shy away from possibly risky loans for projects in Cuba.

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Title III promises what Cubans call “extraterritorial” effects. It further universalizes application of the U.S. blockade which, potentially involving all countries, violates their sovereignty.

But in a Machiavelliantwist, the State Department will apparently wield the “trafficking” charge selectively. Cuban analyst Reinaldo Taladrid Herrero explains:“The road to Havana passes through Caracas.” Specifically, “They are going to exempt all businesses of countries allied with the United States, above all Canada and the European countries …. Implementation will be centered on adversary countries like Russia, China, and Venezuela.” Others share his views.

Violation of International Law

Title III violates international law, according to Russia; Cuba solidarity groups have protested. A few business-oriented U.S. groups oppose Title III out of concern that future U.S. commercial ventures in Cuba would be vulnerable.

Cuba’s government argues that nationalization was and is legal according to international norms and court decisions in the United States.  Cuba has sought satisfaction from the United States for deaths and destruction due to U.S. assaults. Negotiations taking place briefly during the Obama era looked at balancing Cuba’s claims with U.S demands stemming from nationalization.

Title III means major trouble for Cuba. The government there is presently mounting an effort to bolster the nation’s economy. Foreign investors will asume a major role in the project. They would provide $2.5 billion annually toward building or refurbishing Cuban institutions, companies, and infrastructure. But any good will on their part may well evaporate once threats loom as to court actions in the United States.

Food imports

The availability to the Cuban people of food, health care, schools, building supplies, medicines, and transportation rests on loans and export income from abroad and on income from joint ventures with foreign entities. By 2014 Cuba needed $2.5 billion annually in direct foreign investment. The fact that food imports alone currently require an annual outlay of $2 billion suggests that current requirements are greater.

Title III contains the seeds for havoc in the event that Cuba’s government is no more and the United States takes charge. According to Cuba’s Granma newspaper, Cubans “would be forced to return, reimburse or pay U.S. claimants for the house in which they live, the area on which their communities are built, the arable land where they cultivate produce, the school where their children are educated, the hospital or polyclinic where they receive medical assistance.”

Political terrorism

Cuban Journalist Lázaro Barredo, formerly editor of Granma,summarizes“Helms Burton literally has no precedents in the legal history of the United States. [It] constitutes an attack on sovereignty within the international community [and] represents political terrorism.” Helms Burton would “extend U.S. jurisdiction to other countries in an extraterritorial manner with the perverse intention of frightening, scaring, blackmailing, or dissuading persons interested in investing in Cuba.” We see a decision “to repossess the island, annex it, and move it toward total subordination to the United States.”

This report closes with a condemnation of the generalized cruelty and cynicism that is rooted in the strategic thinking of U.S. power brokers.For example, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, presiding at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on March 7, heard testimony from “Cynthia Arnson of the US-funded Wilson Center.” She “agreed with Rubio that ‘widespread unrest’ is useful, but cautioned that … ‘starving people don’t get out in the streets.’” In other words, a little starving is OK, but not too much.

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More articles by:W. T. WHITNEY

W.T. Whitney Jr. is a retired pediatrician and political journalist living in Maine.

 

Ecuador: Social Movements Mobilize Against Economic Measures

Source:  TeleSUR
December 21 2018

ecuador social orgs mobilizeThe price of fuel in Ecuador is expected to rise by $0.37 per gallon with the
government’s new economic measures. | Photo: Reuters

Teachers, health professionals, and transport workers who make up the National Citizens’ Assembly, announced protests against the government’s new policies.

Social movements and unions such as the Ecuador’s Workers Unity Front (FUT) and the National Citizens’ Assembly have announced plans to protest against new measures announced by the government of Lenin Moreno, including a reduction in gasoline subsidies. One such demonstration is expected to take place next Thursday in Quito, the country’s capital.

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“We announce to the country the progressive start of mobilizations until the government of businessmen repeals the increase in the price of gasoline and eliminate all neoliberal economic policies that affect Ecuador, ” said Wilmer Santacruz, a representative of a teachers’ network.

On Tuesday, Moreno’s government announced new budgetary adjustment measures, such as a hike in gasoline prices for lesser octane fuels (Extra and Ecopais), the elimination of 25,000 public vacancies and a reduction in the salary of senior officials. This is the second hike in the prices of gasoline from the government of Lenin Moreno during 2018.

The decision came after the super gasoline subsidy was suspended. The price of gasoline was at US$1.48 per gallon. However, with the new economic measures, the new price will be US$1.85.

“By mandate of President Lenin Moreno we have decided to put an end to these types of absurdities, such as subsidies… that prevent us from continuing with social projects,” said the minister of finances Richard Martinez.

According to Martinez, the measure is part of an “optimization of the state” process led by Ecuadorean President Moreno.

In August, when the first hike in prices happened, the government said that in order to maintain subsidies the state would have to seek outside loans. Since that first increase in gasoline prices, Moreno’s government reached an agreement of US$900 million in credit loans from China. Despite the development, the government is still proceeding to scraped the subsidies.

Our Solidarity with President Maduro and the Bolivarian People 

Source:  International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity
August 6 2018

venezuelan flag 2.jpg

In the face of the serious attack that gravely endangered the life of President Nicolás Maduro, we call on the people of the world to speak out with all their might to express their unconditional solidarity with the brave people of Venezuela, their legitimate government and their armed forces.

This attack can only be viewed as an escalation of hostilities from the Imperialists of the North against a sovereign Venezuela. They will stop at nothing until they grab the resources of the country away from the people and back into the neoliberal model that only caters to the very rich.

Two decades ago Commander Hugo Chavez formed a military civic union that restored dignity and prosperity to the people of Venezuela that President Maduro now defends with his life.

Be strong Maduro! We admire your strength and resistance against all the plans of the oligarchy and the empire.

They will not pass!

International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity

 

Uruguay: Activists pay tribute to Fidel in Conference Against Neoliberalism

Sources:  TeleSUR,  La Santa Mambisa
November 16 2017

Thousands of union workers and citizens are attending the conference in protest against “disastrous neoliberal politics in the world.”

protests against neoliberalism in uruguay nov 2017.pngProtesters march against neoliberalism in Montevideo, Uruguay.
| Photo: Twitter / @confed_bancaria

Thosuands of activists are participating in Day 2 of the Continental Conference For Democracy And Against Neoliberalism hosted in Montevideo, Uruguay.

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Union workers and citizens are attending the conference in protest against “disastrous neoliberal politics in the world.”

On Thursday, activists from across Latin America marched in the capital city, waving flags and chanting against the policies of leaders like Argentine President Mauricio Macri and Brazilian President Michel Temer.

Gabriel Molina, general secretary of the Union of Workers-National Convention of Workers, PIT-CNT, described the conference as “one of the most important mobilizations in recent years.”

PIT-CNT President Marcelo Abdala announced at the march that in 2018, Latin American workers will mobilize together “without exclusion.” Around 2,000 representatives from 23 countries are participating in the summit, according to the group.

Abdala said the meeting will serve to “confront the neoliberal policies that politicians are implementing, like the policies Uruguay lived in the 1990s.”

“We’re a part of America Latina and … we need to liberate the peoples of the continent and world,” he added.

Support for Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and El Salvador

The union president said that the neoliberal structural crisis in Uruguay led by right-wing corporations not only negatively affected the economy, but the country’s culture, values and humanity. Abdala and others fear that Uruguay will soon begin to suffer the austerity measures currently in place in Brazil and Argentina.

Abdala added that Uruguayan workers support Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and El Salvador, who are “attacked … with a machine gun that is directing the destiny of the world’s main power.”

He said the United States no longer has the power to act unilaterally, but has to negotiate with India, Russia and China, with whom Uruguayan workers will work with to create a better life for all. Abdala stressed Uruguay’s unions will continue to fight collectively and, “live, love and struggle” for a just world, “like the revolutionaries.”

Special day for Cuba

Today is a special day for the participants and for Cuba as a whole, since it is the day in which tribute is paid to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.

The homage of the more than 30 organizations and social movements is named “Fidel, eternal companion of fights”, and will take place at the Municipal Velodrome of Montevideo, at 7 pm (Uruguayan time), although since yesterday, in the mobilizing march that started the activities was the presence of the Commander in Chief, when those present from different regions of Latin America shouted Viva Fidel!

The Commemorative Act occurs in the context of the activities for the first anniversary of his physical disappearance. Representatives of Cuba, Uruguay, Venezuela and Argentina are expected to speak along with Oscar Andrade, the Executive Secretariat of the Central Única de Trabajadores, of Uruguay PIT-CNT; Yarisleidis Medina, of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, and Dayan González, of the University Student Federation of Cuba.

Let us all unite to pay homage to the undefeated Commander in Chief, promoter of Latin American Unity, defender of the humble and eternal fighter against neoliberalism.

fidel 44.jpg

Nicaragua’s Sandinista Achievements Baffle World Bank, IMF

Source: TeleSUR
August 31 2017

By: Tortilla Con Sal

sandinistas supporters aug 2017.jpgSupporters of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. | Photo: EFE

Reading the report, it is impossible to ignore the tension between latent ideological and political imperatives and the obligation to report the facts.

No one can take at face value any report, governmental or quasi non-governmental, coming out of the imperialist bureaucracy in Washington. Ideological bias and institutional self-justification prevent these reports from giving a true account of virtually anything.

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The latest World Bank report on Nicaragua is no exception.

The implicit but unstated truth in this report is that President Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista National Liberation Front have achieved an unprecedented economic turnaround in just seven years, starting in 2010.

Reading the report, it is impossible to ignore the tension between latent ideological and political imperatives and the obligation to report the facts. Put another way, mild conflict clearly prevails between the World Bank’s Washington head office and its reality based local officials. From Washington, the tendency is both to minimize Ortega’s achievement and also to cover up the World Bank’s own lamentable history in Nicaragua. On the other hand, in Nicaragua, local World Bank staff dutifully report the facts as they see them.

A total of 71 people contributed to the report. Supposing those 71 people each worked for a month to prepare the research and say their average salary was about US$80,000, then pro rata a month’s work by that team cost over US$500,000, a very conservative guess. Even so, in summary, that money bought policy recommendations for Nicaragua’s development amounting to little more than better infrastructure; better basic services; more private business investment; more efficient government; better targeted social policies. That’s it, for US$500,000 or more.

Recognizing Nicaragua’s achievements

In general, the report recognizes Nicaragua’s achievements in reducing poverty and inequality, raising productivity, diversifying economic activity and promoting security and stability. The report’s 130 or so pages include, among the economic and sociological analysis, many self-confessed guesses to fill in “knowledge gaps” and much gerrymandered history to cover up what Harold Pinter in his 2005 Nobel prize winning address justly called “the tragedy of Nicaragua.”

Pinter himself might have remarked the report is almost witty in its audacious, glib omissions. It acknowledges the catastrophic destructive effects of the 1980s war in Nicaragua, but carefully omits the U.S. government’s deliberate role in that destruction, now repeated against Syria and Venezuela.

The report talks about a “democratic transition” starting in 1990. In fact, the Sandinistas organized the first free and fair democratic elections ever in Nicaragua in 1984, but the U.S. government ordered the main Nicaraguan opposition to boycott them. Despite the war, Ortega and the Sandinistas won with 67 percent of the vote, very similar to the most recent presidential elections in 2016.

The heavy ideological bias also explains the World Bank’s curious dating of when Nicaragua’s economic turnaround began, placing it firmly in the neoliberal era prior to 2007. But at just that time, the World Bank was cutting back the public sector as much as they could, pushing, for example, to privatize Nicaragua’s public water utility and its education system.

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Nicaragua before the Sandinistas’ victory in January 2007

Back then, Nicaragua’s neglected electrical system collapsed through 2005 and 2006, incapable of generating even 400 megawatts a day, plunging swathes of Nicaragua back into 19th-century darkness for 10 to 12 hours at a time, day after day. That was the World Bank and IMF’s gift to Nicaragua after 17 years of so-called “democratic transition.” That period included Hurricane Mitch, devastating Nicaragua to the tune of 20 percent of its GDP, only for the corrupt neoliberal government at the time to misuse hundreds of millions of dollars in disaster relief. The only structurally significant economic achievement of the neoliberal era in Nicaragua was substantial foreign debt relief.

When Ortega took office in January 2007, he faced four years of domestic crisis with an opposition controlled legislature persistently sabotaging his government’s programs. From 2007 to 2008, Nicaragua and the whole region struggled in vain to contain a balance of payment deficits against oil prices reaching US$147 a barrel in 2008.

That disaster was compounded by the collapse of the Western financial system in late 2008 to 2009, a year when Nicaragua’s economy suffered a 3 percent contraction. Only in 2010, did the Nicaraguan government finally enjoy domestic and international conditions stable enough to be able to consolidate and improve its social programs, improve infrastructure investment, democratize and diversify the economy, extend basic services, and attract foreign investment, among other things.

The World Bank’s development recipe

If that sounds suddenly familiar, it should. It is exactly the development recipe offered up by this latest World Bank report, essentially an embellished review of policies the Nicaraguan government has already been implementing for a decade. Put positively, the government’s National Human Development Plan and other relevant documents suggest that the World Bank’s engagement with the Nicaraguan government has been one of mutual learning. So much so, that the current country program is likely to continue and may even expand.

The political opposition in Nicaragua has seized on parts of the report to try and discredit the Sandinista government’s outstanding achievements. In fact, for 17 years under neoliberal governments implementing World Bank and IMF policies, areas criticized like, for example, access to drinking water and adequate sanitation, or education, suffered chronic lack of investment, compounded by egregious waste and corruption. Now, the World Bank hypocritically criticizes Nicaragua’s government for intractable policy difficulties the IMF and the World Bank themselves originally provoked.

Similarly, when the World Bank report criticizes the targeting of social programs, they omit the unquestionable success of the government’s Zero Usury micro credit program and the Zero Hunger rural family support program, both prioritizing women. These programs have lifted tens of thousands of families out of poverty and, along with unprecedented support for Nicaragua’s cooperative sector, radically democratized Nicaragua’s economy, especially for previously excluded rural families and women. That supremely important national process is entirely absent from the World Bank report.

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The legacy of neoliberal governments

In its discussions of almost all these issues, the report makes more or less detailed contributions, mostly already identified by the government itself. In every case, the underlying cause of problems or lack of progress, for example, on land titling or social security, has been the legacy of neoliberal governments between 1990 and 2007, that reinstated elite privilege, rolled back the revolutionary gains of the 1980s and failed to guarantee necessary investment.

The World Bank and the IMF were enthusiastic ideological partners in that endeavor. They would have continued their ideological offensive had not Ortega and his government dug in their heels in 2007 and 2008, backed by investment support for social and productive programs from Venezuela as part of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas.

Since then, the World Bank, as this report suggests, seems, at least for the moment, to have learned two key lessons from the Sandinistas. In a world dominated by corporate elite globalization, their report implicitly recognizes the importance, firstly, of a mixed economy under a strong central government and, secondly, the crucial role of broad dialogue and consensus, across all sectors of society, to promote and sustain national stability. Essentially, the World Bank has acknowledged the undeniable success of the Sandinista Revolution’s socialist inspired, solidarity based policies, decisively prioritizing the needs of people over corporate profit and demonstrating the systemic inability of capitalism to meet those needs.

 

ALBA’s Vitality Versus the Neoliberal Living Dead

Source:  TeleSUR
December 14 2016

By: Tortilla Con Sal

ALBA meeting 2016.jpg

Meeting of the ALBA Bloc in 2016 | Photo: AVN

The ALBA countries outperformed the wealthiest countries in the region during the world’s most serious economic crisis in nearly a century.

Continuing their ancient war on the world’s impoverished majority, Western elites, having bled dry their own countries’ economies, are now fighting once more to entrench their local allies in power across Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Argentina has lost over 130,000 jobs under Macri’s right wing regime

In under a year, Argentina under its right-wing regime has lost over 130,000 jobs and inflation-adjusted wages have dropped by 10 percent. Very soon Brazil will certainly be reporting even worse relative numbers. The same criminal Brazilian elite that overthrew President Dilma Rousseff have now got their corrupt proxies in the country’s legislature to make any increase in social spending, health or education impossible for 20 years.

This is a sentence of hardship and death for millions of impoverished people in Brazil. In both Brazil and Argentina, illegitimate neoliberal regimes have decided to follow the example of the U.S. and the European Union, rendering their countries’ economies easier prey for global vampire elites.

Foreign elites and their local clients deepening neocolonialism

But across Latin America and the Caribbean, people are fighting to stop foreign elites and their local clients from reinstating and deepening neocolonialism to compensate for falling profits in the West. The latest wave of conquistadors fly in business class, wear debonair suits and blather finance-speak while wielding smartphones and devices instead of swords and pistols.

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Western politicians and media outlets

But the nitty gritty of conquest remains the same — extortion from the nation-victims; a small cut for the local oligarchy; and repression for the impoverished majority. That is why Western politicians and media outlets support right-wing regimes in the region while attacking the governments of the main ALBA countries — Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela.

ALBA’s success stories

Those countries’ governments have reduced poverty and inequality massively, putting to shame much wealthier countries under neoliberal regimes. The ALBA countries have demonstrated the superiority and resilience of their socialist-inspired social and economic models, despite every assault from the West and its corrupt local proxies.

To illustrate the performance of the ALBA countries relative to other countries in the region, the following table highlights the countries that increased their per capita Gross Domestic Product by 75 percent or more between 2006 and 2014.

alba chart.jpg

Special circumstances may or may not apply to Guyana, Peru, Panama and Suriname, but the underperformance of the wealthiest countries in the region is clear. The ALBA countries outperformed them during the world’s most serious economic crisis in nearly a century.

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Greater equality in ALBA countries

One completely damning statistic is that in the Human Development Index, Cuba ranks above Colombia, Mexico and Peru, level with Brazil and Costa Rica. Another striking feature of the statistics for the ALBA countries is the clear trend towards greater equality, with Cuba again leading the way.

All these numbers are worth noting at a time when ALBA members Ecuador and Bolivia are recovering from the negative effects of volatile global prices for their oil and gas. Ecuador’s case is compounded by the dollarization of the economy inherited from earlier right-wing governments.

Ecuador’s smart policies

But despite those difficulties and this year’s devastating earthquake, Ecuador’s smart policies of economic resistance will enable the government to defeat future political challenges from the country’s right wing. In Venezuela, the government has just presented a budget for 2017 far less dependent on oil revenues. This means the right-wing’s economic sabotage, supported by the United States, has failed to destroy President Nicolas Maduro’s social spending and investment plans.

Poverty reduction in the Dominican Republic

The U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean predicts higher growth for Bolivia relative to the rest of the region and also Nicaragua, as well as the Dominican Republic and Panama. The Dominican Republic has reduced poverty with socially inclusive policies and help from Venezuela’s Petrocaribe program.

Panama, a notorious tax haven and financial enclave, is enjoying the benefits of the recent enlargement of its canal, but the socially constructive benefits of that are far from clear. In Bolivia’s case, a big problem is that it may lose as much as US$2 billion from a probable drop in exports to Argentina and Brazil. Even so, Bolivia’s model of community-based social and economic production is much better able to defend the country from potential shocks than the right-wing zombie policies applied in Argentina and Brazil.

Nicaragua’s consistent growth

Like Bolivia, Nicaragua’s economy has grown at about 4.5 percent a year since 2010, markedly and consistently more than its neighbors. Its economic model stresses economic democratization across all sectors of the country’s economy, again like Bolivia, including the so-called informal sector.

Seventy percent of Nicaragua’s labor force either work independently, in small businesses or on small farms. The country is virtually self-sufficient in food production. At the same time, President Daniel Ortega, a leader of the Sandinistas, has greatly diversified the country’s trade and investment partners cutting across ideological differences in a way similar to the win-win style promoted by China.

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Reflecting on all of this information makes it clear that under current conditions governments have little choice but to respect macroeconomic equilibrium. Bolivia and Nicaragua have reactivated their domestic markets by deliberately increasing consumption by the impoverished majority, promoting social stability which in turn has encouraged investment.

ALBA countries prioritize economic democratization

All the ALBA countries prioritize economic democratization as decisively important, through measures like nationalizing natural resources and land; programs of preferential credit, especially for low-income women; defense of food sovereignty; and recognition of the informal economy.

Obviously, progressive political forces have to promote a socially constructive society for the majority, abandoning economic structures and practices designed and managed to enrich brutally ruthless elites.

A focus on economic growth is practically meaningless without redistributive policies to reduce inequality. It can hide an appropriate perception of specific national needs and opportunities; the correct appraisal of timing; and also the likely local risks in social and environmental contexts. The ALBA countries have demonstrated convincingly that equitable, rational development of productive forces is both a precondition and a result in the process of a social and economic order capable of superseding capitalism.

Tortilla con Sal is an anti-imperialist collective based in Nicaragua producing information in various media on national, regional and international affairs. In Nicaragua, we work closely with grassroots community organizations and cooperatives. We strongly support the policies of sovereign national development and regional integration based on peace and solidarity promoted by the member countries of ALBA.

Evo Morales: The Capitalist System Has Failed

Source:  Prensa Latina
December 12 2016

evo morales 19.jpg

Bolivia”s president Evo Morales today called the capitalist model a failure and criticized the policies of domination, intervention and looting in several countries around the world.

‘I feel that the capitalist system no longer has a plan and that the empire has failed,’ Morales declared in a meeting in the Foreign Ministry with the Bolivian ambassadors.

What has neoliberalism solved?

In his speech, the president recalled that these nations made believe that neoliberalism, free trade agreements and globalization were the solution for humanity.

‘That is what they sold the world. But what have they solved? Wealth continues to be concentrated in a few hands and poverty, the financial and climate crisis continues to grow,’ he warned.

Intervention for natural resources

The president criticized the intervention of the United States in the countries of the Middle East to control natural resources, which only leads to destabilization.

‘As long as the capitalist system or imperialism exists, foreign interference will continue,’ he added.

The leader also referred to the economic problems in European countries and the political situation in other nations that spend months without president.

Bolivia doing well

‘Aside from the international crisis and the fall in the price of oil, Bolivia is doing well and international organizations agree that the country will experience the most economic growth in South America,’ the president said.

He added that despite the severe drought, the prices of staple foods did not rise, thanks to irrigation and drinking water programs implemented by the Government.

‘With planning and investment it is possible to solve the country’s challenges,’ he said.

In hydrocarbons alone, Morales said, investments rose from 200 million dollars in 1985 to over 2 billion dollars a year in the last decade.

As for the minimum wage, it grew from 54 to 264 dollars a month.

After almost 11 years the support the Bolivian people have in their head of state continues.