Why the above picture? Because it’s a nice shot of Evo looking extremely presidential, and I like it. Also, it was taken while he was making some rather important points, over there in Europe:
“The process of social and economic transformations which has begun in many Latin American countries is unstoppable,” assured the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, during a conference in Paris, France.
Speaking before a large audience in Latin America House, Morales affirmed that the death of the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, has left a big emptiness, but “we trust in the people to continue.”
The head of state recognized the existence of a great awareness in order to achieve a Latin America without foreign military bases, with equality, dignity and sovereignty over its own natural resources.
“If we make good use of all these riches, Bolivia and our region have a great future and much hope,” Morales added.
Evo Morales arrived in France on Tuesday for a two-day official visit, and his first stop was a tour of an Airbus factory in the southern city of Toulouse.
The president recalled his first visit to the city, in 1989: “I was here once to defend the growing of the coca leaf, and now I’m back to buy airplanes for my country,” he said.
Morales has been in power for seven years, starting in 2006, and said that his country has achieved notable social transformations, recuperated its economic and financial sovereignty, and gained increasing trust from the international community.
All of this was possible, he said, using resources already existing, but which used to end up in other hands, or were taken by foreign corporations.
And it’s important to note that Evo and other leaders like him would have had a much harder time coming to power, if they did so at all, were it not for the “example that Caracas gave” — namely, Chavecito nationalizing Venezuela’s oil once and for all. With the good income from that, it was finally possible to put social programs in place that would lift people out of poverty, and make inroads even against the most intractable scourge of the region: the drug trade. (Well, okay, the second most intractable; the first being foreign capitalism itself.)
Evo was elected seven years after Chavecito, and in that time, Bolivians had a chance to see for themselves the good that nationalizing resources would do. Since the other guy in the race was all about more of the same old same old, Evo bulldozed him. And now the results are obvious: Bolivia is out of the hole. It’s gone from being the poorest country in the region to one of the fastest growing; Venezuela is another, and so is Ecuador, again following the Venezuelan example.
And with the successes of that process mounting year after year, it stands to reason that the old order will not be able to mount a convincing comeback. Even with one leader dead, the process is, as Evo rightly notes, unstoppable. And why not? The people have gotten a taste for sovereignty, and a feel for resistance. Nobody is going to take that away from them without one hell of a fight.