President Morales does an about face on the mining issue and reaffirms the process of change

The head of state called on the Bolivian people to wager on the transformations that will allow them to live well. Peace finally reached pain stricken Huanuni, and Bolivia is in mourning.

The President announced a profound investigation into the bloody events of October 5 and 6. He also warned the country about the conspiratorial process taking place inside and outside the country

La Paz October 06 (ABI) – In a much awaited message to the country, the President of the Republic, Evo Morales Ayma, spoke to Bolivians in order to make it known his decision to take back control in the mining sector as well as to reaffirm his decision to change Bolivia. With the proper humility of this president, he put forward a self criticism: “Until now in the issue of mining we have not complied with the Bolivian people” he said.

After the two sorrowful days that the historic mining centre of Huanuni lived through, and the incapacity of the authorities of the sector to resolve the problem inherited from years gone by, the president removed Walter Villaroel from the position of Minister of Mining and put in his place an ex-miners leader Guillermo Dalence.

“I know that when one is a leader of a sector, they have to be a leader of the entire sector and not just one union. Now I understand, if I am President of all Bolivians, we want to equally serve all Bolivians” said Evo Morales visible saddened by the events that occurred in Huanuni which cost the lives of 16 miners and left 61 injured.

He lamented that some sectors had wanted to use the Minister of Mining to benefit themselves. “That is why I decided to change our authorities so that they can better serve, recognizing that until now in the issue of mining, we have not complied with the Bolivian people”.

Whilst in the Government Palace, president Morales was carrying out the change in his collaborators in his mining team, in the historic mining centre of Huanuni a peace pact was being signed

“There will be no more dynamite” announced the authorities of the executive power who together with the Defender of the People [ombudsman] Waldo Albarracin and representatives of the church achieved the pacification of the zone, and the peaceful incursion of police officers who took over the Posokoni hill and this mining centre.

Lamenting the events that the miners had lead, a sector considered until recently the vanguard of the struggle of the working class, he said that individualist and sectarian sectors think only in themselves and don’t think about the country. They are giving a free kick to neoliberalism and do not want change.

“Before struggles were for social demands, and if we speak about the mining sector which was the vanguard, struggles against the economic model, to change economic models”.

”Honesty, transparency, sincerity had been important and this way of governing is being greatly supported by the international community. It is not possible then that our comrades carry out a struggle for who has more power, a blockade to demonstrate their power, not for demands” assured Morales

“And finally they reach acts of blood, I cannot understand that sectors who struggled against the economic model now convert themselves into instruments of neoliberalism instead of helping me struggle against neoliberalism” pondered the president

Minerals need to serve the nation

Referring to the issue of mining, he said that “the minerals need to serve the workers, the region, but fundamentally the nation… they need to help resolve the historic, economic, and social problems of our country”.

He related the events that occurred in Huanuni to the aims to carry out attempts against democracy and his government.

He signaled that he perceived the existence of a external, but also internal, conspiracy which wants to ensure that the nationalization of hydrocarbons fail, along with the current process that Morales initiated on December 18 when Bolivians expressed their will in the ballot boxes and gave him their support with 54.7% of the votes.

“Last week we heard a few voices around there…. some parties or movements do not accept this process of change, do not accept the nationalization of hydrocarbons, that is why they made a demand of unconstitutionality against the supreme decree of nationalisation of hydrocarbons” said the head of state.

“Like how in some meetings they said that no matter which way, good or bad, the Constituent Assembly has to fail and they look for whatever argument, any pretext to make the Constituent Assembly fail” added president Morales.

A country in mourning

“We have watched with much preoccupation when our brother miners, cooperative, waged, confronted each other, when all Bolivian people cried, all Bolivian people are in mourning” the president affirmed.

The sorrowful confrontations of the 5 and 6 of October, dates which will be record in Huanuni with tears, have affected the moral of the country. The calls for peace came from diverse sectors in front of so many unnecessary deaths.

Waged and cooperative miners implacably maintained their positions in respect to the exploitation of the tin deposit of Posokoni hill. The dispute comes from way back and it is attributed to the extreme poverty which exists in the zone, but also the inheritance of what Decree 21060, passed in August 1985, left behind, after it threw out onto the streets more than 27,000 workers from the state mines

In his message, Morales also said that he felt obliged to mobilize the police given the clamor from Oruro and asked the miners to “think of our families, let’s think of our homeland”.

The president announced that he would demand a profound investigation into the events in order to sanction the material and intellectual authors of the bloody events.

Finally he expressed his solidarity and condolences to all the families that lost their beloved ones in Huanuni. The image of the crying children of Huanuni and mothers on their knees in the streets are still fresh in the memory of the people.

Translated from Bolivian Information Agency

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