Thursday, 13 September 2007

Manifesto to the Bolivian People

Manifesto to the Bolivian People

Summit of the social organisations of the indigenous, originario, campesino peoples and nations and the popular organisation of the cities of the Bolivia <>

The demand for a Constituent Assembly arose as a democratic and peaceful response by the working people, in the face of the genocide and massacres by Banzer, Tuto Quiroga, Sanchez de Lozada, the same ones who preferred to drown the homeland in blood or divide the country rather that lose their class and caste privileges.

It was the democratic vote of the people which guaranteed the convoking of the Constituent Assembly, it was the democratic vote which elected the constituent delegates, providing space for minorities and majorities, with the responsibility of uniting Bolivians, ending injustices and recognising the rights of the excluded and discriminated indigenous peoples.

That is why today, at the same time as telling Bolivia and the world that we are here, standing up with dignity and commitment in order to defend to Constituent Assembly, we call on all Bolivian people, workers and business owners, indigenous peoples and mestizos, citizens of the east and west, students, professionals, middle classes, neighbours, house wives and young people who love our beloved homeland to struggle, distribute, mobilise and defend the following 18 strategic points of the new Political Constitution of the State that will guarantee the democratic unity of the homeland, equality between people, the collective rights of the indigenous, originario, campesino peoples, the nationalisation of natural wealth and the widening of social rights.

1. A Unitary, Plurinational, Communitarian and Democratic State , where all peoples, cultures, languages, have the same rights, opportunities and are recognised in the same manner in front of the law, institutions and society. The Plurinational Communitarian State has as its foundation well being, and the decolonisation of the state that for centuries has discriminated and marginalized people due to their language, their skin colour, their surname or tradition. The Plurinational, Communitarian and Democratic State guarantees the unity of all Bolivians within a single and indivisible homeland, but at the same time recognised the right of each indigenous people to preserve their culture and tradition.

2. Plurinational Public Adminstration. All public functionaries should know the dominant indigenous language of the region where they work so as to be able to communicate with the peoples, the Spanish language, to be able to communicate with the rest of the Bolivians, and a foreign language, in order to be linked with the world.

3. A Unitary State with municipal, departmental, regional and indigenous, originario, campesino autonomies that guarantee the unity of the state, solidarity between regions and the democratic decentralisation of power.

4. The Nationalisation of Natural Resources, renewable and non-renewable, under the control and ownership of the Bolivian people. Never again will gas, petroleum, mining resources, water, land nor forests be the property of foreigners. All natural resources will be the property of Bolivian, for use by Bolivians, and for the benefit of Bolivians.

5. Sovereign Natural Resources. It is totally prohibited for non-state organisations to directly involve themselves in the administration, management, control and preservation of forests, parks and natural reserves, as well as biodiversity, all of which are under the control of the state.

6. Taxes on large fortunes. Those that have accumulated enormous wealth should pay larger taxes for the benefit of the most needy.

7. Social and Communitarian Economy. The state will participate in the strategic sectors of the economy. The state recognises that private Bolivian investment is a factor in productive development, and that foreign private investment will be subordinated to national development plans, and that medium and small rural producers, agrarian communities and productive associations will receive state protection, economic support, credits, technology and infrastructure in order to guarantee the well being of society.

8. The state respects, guarantees and protects medium and small private property, and communitarian, cooperative and mixed property. Private property should guarantee that it plays an effective social function in the benefit of human beings.

9. Expropriation without indemnification of latifundio and its immediate distribution between producers and those from the countryside and city who are willing to produce for the benefit of society.

10. Re-election and revocation by popular mandate of any elected authority. Now, never again will authorities be immovable nor owners of their positions. The people are sovereign and the people can ratify or change their authorities when they so desire.

11. Election of all authorities of the Judicial Power to democratise, decolonise and nationalise the justice system. Now, never again will citizens be the objects of blackmail by a dehumanising, insensitive and abusive justice system

12. Recognition of communitarian justice as an alternative, complementary and ancestral form of solving differences and conflicts.

13. Racism is a grave crime against society and the state. All manifestations, public or private expressions of racism, of exclusion for ethnic, cultural, linguistic reasons will be criminally sanctioned.

14. Plurinational Parliament with only one chamber guaranteeing the same number of current representative for each department. No more chambers of elites and privilege.

15. In the fight against corruption, the state does not recognise the prescription of the crime and investigations can be retroactive. Widen the power of the state to investigate fortunes.

16. All goods implicated in acts of corruption will be confiscated by the state for the benefit of the people.

17. All Bolivian men and women, from birth until death, have the right to health service in equal conditions.

18. Total Elimination of illiteracy Passed on tenth day of the month of September of two thousand and seven.


Bolivia's indigenous and social movements: "If dialogue ends, we will assume more radical measures"

Resolution passed by the Social Summit of Social Movements, held in Sucre on
September 10, 2007


That, the Constituent Assembly is a space for the construction of a new state, with the participation of all Bolivian men and women, and is a conquest of the people, which has cost the blood of the indigenous, originario, campesino nations and popular classes, and a long historic resistance in the face of the neoliberal roscas[1], who privatised natural resources, strategic companies and took advantage of the spaces of power for their own personal benefit.

That, the Bolivian people, expressed in the form of the social movements, for the first time are actors in the construction of a new state, having been marginalise for more than 500 years, where injustice and inequality created great differences.

Therefore, the summit of the social organisations of the indigenous, originario, campesino nations and people and the popular organisations of the cities of Bolivia, resolves:

1. Defend, including with our lives, the Constituent Assembly and this process of irreversible profound change being driven forward by the historic forces of our peoples and the indigenous, originario and campesino nations, together with the popular organisations.

2. That in the case of there not being democratic guarantees for the installation of sessions [of the Constituent Assembly], we demand that the sessions should be immediately installed in another department, maintain the city of Sucre as the centre of operations.

3. We support our sister Silvia Lazarte Flores, president of the Constituent Assembly who, due to being an indigenous woman who wear a pollera [indigenous dress], was discriminated against by racist oligarchic sectors from the city of Sucre.

4. We rule out and reject in a firm manner, the ruling laid down by the District Superior Court of Chuquisaca [2], which was an act that was a perversion of justice and an attack on the independent and foundational character of the Constituent Assembly. We can not allow a resolution approved by a majority of assembly delegates, elected by the people, to be ruled out of order by two judges named from above, according to a sharing out of quotas of power between the traditional parties of the right.

5. We demand that the assembly delegates, in accordance with moral and ethical principals, do not receive their salaries for days not worked.

6. The social movements of the countryside and city will defend the process of change, headed by Evo Morales Ayma, Constitutional President of the Republic, who has been carrying out deep structural changes, in the economic, in the political, in the social and in the cultural sphere, in compliance with the mandate of the people.

7. We demands that the convening of the National Congress and the presidential report given every August 6, take on a rotational character between the 9 departments, based on a principal of equality, equity and justice.

8. We denounce in front of the international community and human rights organisations, the aggression and insults directed at social organisations and assembly delegates, the burning of the symbols of the indigenous, originario and campesino peoples, and the destruction of the headquarters of the social organisations.

9. We warn that a small groups of the fascist elites, by continuing to misinform the population, are prejudicing the Constituent Assembly, and that if the dialogue ends, we will assume other more radical measures, which we as social organisations reserve the right to use.

10. The social organisations of the countryside and the city declare ourselves in a state of emergency, permanent vigil and commit ourselves to organising Committees in Defence of the Constituent Assembly, via out confederations, federation, neighbourhood committees, associations, unions, capitanías, tentas, ayllus[2] and all social and popular organisations to guarantee the functioning of the Constituent Assembly and consolidate our proposals in the new Political Constitution of the State.

Passed in the city of Sucre on the ten day of the month of September of 2007.


[1] Rosca was the word given to describe the oligarchy tie to tin and silver mining during the first half of the 20 th century.

[2] The Superior District Superior Court of Chuquisaca ruled the overturning of a plenary decision by the majority of the delegates of the Constituent Assembly to eliminate debate around the capital. [3] capitanías, tentas, and ayllus Indigenous communitarian forms of organisation

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Allende's Grandson speaks in Caracas on 34th anniversary of Chilean Coup

Gonzalo Meza Allende, the grandson of Salvador Allende, spoke in Caracas, Venezuela yesterday, during a commemorative ceremony on the 34th anniversary of Pinochet’s coup d’etat, which overthrew and assassinated the democratically elected Chilean President, Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973.

I want to thank you for the invitation to commemorate this significant day in history, not just for Chile but for the entire world.

I want to take the opportunity to reflect with you—Venezuelans, Chileans, and Latin American friends—on the similarities and differences with the process that my grandfather led when he took power in 1970. But the history should leave us lessons to learn from.

Just as with the Venezuelan Process, in Chile we needed a leader of international status. You have President Hugo Chavez, elected democratically like Salvador Allende. They both came to power through the electoral route.

But the first difference, which Venezuela has overcome well, is that in Chile the Popular Unity did not obtain the absolute majority of 50%. It never had an absolute majority, and how important it is to have the support of much more than half the people. Value this, my friends; Venezuela has more than 50% that support Chavez.

Allende is the figure that symbolizes the project on the road to Socialism of the 20th Century, through the democratic means. President Chavez is the Socialism of the 21st Century. It is true, they are different global contexts. Allende lived in the era of the Cold War; the pressure so that he would ally with the Soviet Communists, or that which he also staunchly opposed- state capitalism, the capitalism of the North America.

Therefore, he always spoke of the Chilean way. In Venezuela, you have proclaimed the Venezuelan road to Socialism. Now there is no Cold War, but be careful, the country acting as the world super-power is the same and attempts to control the global economy and ideology. This has not changed. And there you have another great similarity and difference with the Chilean process. The United States openly intervened in both countries, attempting to overthrow, through the treason of the Armed Forces and with the support of large business interests, both governments, Chilean and Venezuelan, democratically elected, for not being aligned to their interests. What they unfortunately achieved in Chile in 1973 and what they couldn’t achieve in Venezuela—another important lesson from this century.

From here, the birthplace of Latin American unity, with the force of the ideas of Simon Bolivar still alive, to work for the great homeland of integration from Patagonia to Rio Grande to the North of Mexico- Allende also always pushed for Latin American unity, the unity of our region. And it is not just a coincidence that he traveled with the Chilean delegation in 1967 to the conference of the Organization of Latin American Solidarity (OLAS). We are once again inspired to work for Latin American unity. It is paradoxical. We have the same language, the same cultures, values. We have a region that unites many and nevertheless, it has cost us so much to unite this region.

Nevertheless, we have examples like the European Union, where despite two World Wars, they have been capable of today working together. Let us learn the lessons from other parts of the world to apply here. We need Latin American unity and we are working and advancing for it.

In relation to Latin American unity, I cite the following, spoken by my grandfather. He said, citing Bolivar:

“The United States wants to subject us to misery in the name of freedom, and Marti has made ever harsher statements, and I don’t care to repeat them, because in reality I distinguish between the North American people and its freethinkers, and the sometimes transitory attitude of some of their leaders and the politics of the State Department and the private interests that have counted on North American support.”

That’s what my grandfather said more than thirty-five years ago, and I continue saying it. We know well the South America scenario: That although a potentially rich continent, it is a poor continent fundamentally from the exploitation, because it is the victim of private North American capital. This has not changed and we need to struggle against it.

“We struggle fundamentally for the integration of Latin American countries. We believe that it is a just road indicated by the founding fathers of the homeland, who dreamed of Latin American unity, to be able to build a continental voice before the world.”

My grandfather spoke these words more than thirty years ago and they are still true today, exactly as they sound. That is why the similarities are inevitable. If we remember: The destiny- of the revolutionary process of change that the Venezuelan society is looking for - is in your hands.

Once more, I thank you for the homage of Salvador Allende, who was always an exceptional man before his time. At 34 years since his death, we should better understand his words, and let us listen carefully to what he said:

“It is clear that we believe that dialogue is fundamental. People like us fight for peace and not for war, for economic cooperation and not exploitation, for social coexistence and not for injustice.”

Many—millions and millions of people across the world—follow closely the significance of the Socialism of the 21st Century that President Chavez is putting forth, as the Socialist process was put forth in Chile, last century. And I end remembering once more the force of my grandfather’s words. Once more, even more than the exceptional coherence, as if he was—and he is—here with us. And I cite his version of the 21st Century, expressed in 1972. He said:

“And that’s why I believe that the man of the 21st Century should be a man with a different conception; with another scale of values; a man that is not essentially and fundamentally moved by money; a man that believes that there exists a different measure of fortune, in which intelligence is the great creative force”

Many thanks again, Venezuelan friends. Good luck, in great solidarity and support from Chile.