[Aside: It is a relief to get Noriega's mug off of the top of my blog. Gratifyingly, he is replaced by someone more representative of the hemisphere.]
I must share my pleasure with this article from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (h/t quebecdude commenting at FireDogLake.)
Go read it, of course. I am excerpting liberally, as it were, some of the more gratifying passages (yes, FaveB, I am baiting you.) Any emphases are mine.
Evo Morales, Bolivia’s indigenous President, started his second term in January by declaring colonialism dead in his country. Morales emphasized that he has attempted to “eradicate all vestiges of colonial repression and discrimination against Bolivia's indigenous majority.” He certainly has, which is one reason why Morales was re-elected by a landslide in December 2009, with an impressive 67% of the vote. This was more than twice the vote obtained by his closest rival and makes him the most popular President in Bolivian history.Declaring colonialism dead. Why can't we get presidents like that?
...[The indigenous] majority has long been kept in poverty and denied power, land, education, medical care, and even the use of its resources by a small white élite which has been a puppet of the U.S. government and multinational corporations...He's a feminist! More fun:
...Morales highlighted the historic significance of the new constitution in his speech at the 2009 World Social Forum (held in Belem, Brazil), just days after the referendum:
“Sisters and brothers,” he said, “I want to let you all know that this Sunday past, in Bolivia, we have turned the page on neoliberalism and colonialism. Thanks in part to the social conscience of our people, we have placed a permanent block in our constitution that will prevent any future privatization of our natural resources as well as our social services. With this new state constitution, a product of 500 years of struggle, we have accomplished the full recognition of the rights of the indigenous and first peoples of Bolivia....”
...Tomas Huanacu represents the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qullasuyu, or CONAMAQ, an important indigenous organization in Bolivia made up of the Aymara and Quechua nations. Ayllus are extended family communities; Markas cover a wider area, and Qullasuyu denotes the Bolivian highlands. Huanacu explained in a speech at the Belem World Social Forum:
“And where does this overriding right, this entitlement as indigenous peoples, come from? It stems from the understanding that we are the children of our Mother Nature, of our Pachamama. We need to turn away from that Western education model which domesticized us, which turned us into subordinates. We are stewards of these lands. We are the ones to whom the land belongs. Yet the invaders are the ones who live happy, they are the ones who are well fed. And they don't even make up fifty percent of the world's population. It is a mere five percent of humanity that controls us. We have to fight against this [injustice].”
Morales’s first significant step towards empowering native Bolivians was to ensure that they controlled their natural resources. On May 1, 2006, the President nationalized Bolivia’s oil and gas sector, which had been controlled by foreign multinational corporations. "The looting by the foreign companies has ended,” he declared. “The time has come, the awaited day, a historic day in which Bolivia re-takes absolute control of our natural resources."...
...Morales made clear his opposition to capitalism in his speech at the Belem World Social Forum, when he said: “The world is being shaken by many crises: of finances, energy, climate, food, and institutions. But all of these crises are part of one big crisis that is being experienced by the capitalist system. If we, the peoples of the world, are not able to bury capitalism, this same capitalism will bury our planet.”...
...Along with the indigenous majority, the Morales government has also empowered another majority that is just as important: that of women. Half of Morales’s cabinet is made up of women. “The government of Evo Morales,” Rosemary Irusta explained, “has strongly helped empower women. Many of them have been placed in positions of influence."...
Sabina Gonzalez adds: “We see more women occupying positions as ministers, as prefectoral delegates; we see more women working in the ministries and the vice-ministries. And they are part of the decision-making process; they are not tokens, but make decisions; they have power. This is what we have witnessed. This is very important. We women are protagonists in this revolution. We have seen and facilitated, we have initiated and participated, and I believe we form a vital part of this revolutionary process.”...
...The success of the Bolivian revolution is a major defeat for U.S. imperialism, which has kept Bolivia poor and oppressed for decades. Bolivia has long been dominated by the United States, which has imposed on it brutal military dictatorships led by mass murderers, cocaine traffickers, and even Nazis. The U.S has treated Bolivia with such horrific contempt that it placed a notorious Nazi as a senior security assistant to two Bolivian dictatorships that Washington put in power. The Nazi was SS officer Klaus Barbie...OK, I need a shower...
...When Morales came to power, the U.S. tried to overthrow him by using its ambassador, Phillip Goldberg, to foment a violent secessionist movement in the eastern provinces of Santa Cruz, Pando, Beni, and Tarija.Kicked out the DEA? My man!
Morales reacted by expelling the U.S. ambassador and jailing the governor of Pando for killing 15 peasants. Morales has also kicked out the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Agency for International Development...
...According to [Rosemary] Irusta, “Gaining back our freedom from the imperialist powers has been very important, not only for our country, but also for the rest of Latin America. The right-wing has suffered a great shock to its economy, that sector they used to control; we the masses welcome this shock despite years of conditioning....Behold the near future.
Last, and not least, Che!
The Bolivian victory over U.S. imperialism, so far, has been especially inspired by Che Guevara, Latin America’s most famous revolutionary. Guevara was killed in Bolivia in October 1967 by the U.S.-directed military. He had come to start the Latin American Revolution. In 2009, President Morales spoke at a tribute to the legendary guerilla hero, calling him “invincible in his ideals.” Morales added: “And in all this history, after so many years, Che inspires us to continue fighting, changing not only Bolivia, but all of Latin America and, better, the world.”