Evo Morales at the VII Summit of the Americas: "Latin America has changed forever":
Translation of Evo Morales' speech to the VII Summit of the Americas held April 10-11 in Panama. Translation done by Stan Smith, Chicago ALBA Solidarity Committee
Thank you very much, brother president of Panama, on behalf of the Bolivian people I congratulate the excellent organization of the Summit of the Americas. To all presidents and presidents of America, to all international organizations present here.
I was listening intently intervention brother President of Peru (Ollanta Humala). Clearly we have poverty, what we do have to discuss is what are the causes of poverty and extreme poverty. This is the topic of discussion, this is a political debate over the programmatic and ideological differences that we have in America.
As many of you probably, or some of you, come from this poverty, from this extreme poverty, and poverty creates suffering, and from suffering comes the feeling, and suffering brings the thinking, an anti-imperialist thinking, an anticapitalist thinking. And there is the cause of extreme poverty, which is why I feel it is important, in this debate, to tell the truth without fear among us, especially the truth of our past history, to avoid making the mistakes of the past.
Brothers and sisters, it is important to remember that between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean there are more histories of failure than success, more asymmetrical relations than large integration projects between North and South. Our Latin American memory is full of episodes of armed intervention from the United States, invasions, dominating impositions and constant aggression.
For example, let us never forget the annexation of the territory of Mexico by the United States, nor armed invasions against several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean: Nicaragua, Panama, Grenada, El Salvador, Guatemala and others.
I believe, brothers and sisters, the world’s chief promoter of military dictatorships and coups is the United States. The colonializing imperial view of the United States towards our Latin America and the Caribbean is one of contempt and belittlement, a view of superiority, political, military, technological and economic superiority. It is the gaze of the colonizer over the colonized, the invader over the invaded, the ruler over their vassals, it is the eagle eyeing its helpless prey.
More than 200 years have passed since US independence and the country not only continues to see our region as its backyard, but as its patrimony that belongs to it by divine right. By means of its imperial power, the United States through the imposing of neoliberal economics, with a colonial mentality or using the talk of international security, this dominating boss has classified us as either good or evil, 'stick for the bad and carrot for the good.'
The bad countries are those of us who respond with ideas, with dignity, the bad ones are those who nationalize our natural resources and basic services, those put a brake on the political arrogance of US ambassadors who have been converted into viceroys.
Of us, the powerful will say anything. I remember perfectly well the year 2002 when I was first running for President. Ambassador Rocha, the United States said: Evo is 'Bin Laden Andino' and my fellow farmers the Taliban.
They called us the Taliban, drug traffickers, terrorists, subversives, dictators and populists. We are the bad guys because we threw out of the country the foreign aid agencies who plot, the intelligence agencies who work undercover.
We are the bad guys because we expelled the ambassadors, as in Bolivia, they were separatists who finance the corruption of the people. We are the bad guys because we defend our political and economic sovereignty.
The United States eyes us with contempt and treated as obstinate subjects. What has our Latin America and Caribbean done to deserve imperial punishment, armed intervention, territorial annexation, or political interference by the United States against our people?
What have we people of Latin American and Caribbean done to be treated as if we were slaves in our own territory? We have done nothing but fight for our independence, for the first and second independence.
We never declared war on the United States, never tried to annex a part of their territory, we never armed ourselves to threaten their safety. Under no circumstances did we interfere in their internal affairs, we never violated their sovereignty, then why do they treat us as enemies?
"Obama, listen to the voice of our peoples"
Sister and brother presidents, colleague Obama, it's time to not only listen to the voice of our peoples and our governments, but to listen to your people who must be tired of so much war, having buried many dead and have so many invalids.
It's time you learned that we must live in harmony, in peace and respect. Leave in the past the speeches full of double standards, put aside the threats, blackmail and pressures that the U.S. Capitol or the White House envelop our governments.
Stop using fear, the politics of terror and conditions of any kind. Stop behaving like an empire and let’s conduct ourselves as democratic and sovereign states. All empires perish, democracies are eternal.
Latin America and the Caribbean have changed forever, our people are changing forever, this diverse and unique continent of freedom and justice is forever changing.
Latin America and the Caribbean are no longer as before, and military dictatorships can no longer be imposed, military coups cannot thrive, neither hard coups nor soft coups.
We have stopped being an obedient, disciplined, bowed-down and submissive region. Today we are a rebellious continent that wants to forge its self-determination, and we are no longer the puppets like those of past governments, doing what we were told. Today our peoples decide, we are no longer your backyard.
Sisters and brothers, we are today a powerful and unstoppable force that speaks our mind and do what we say. Our people are recovering their identity and the dignity of their States.
The people are who make history, and they have finished with the history made from above and outside. Now, history written for the few, with the sacrifices by the many, has ceased to exist. Today history is history written by our people.
Our Latin America and the Caribbean have lived while kidnapped politically, economically and militarily by the imperial power from the US Monroe Doctrine: America for the North Americans.
We want no more Monroes on our continent, no Truman's doctrine, no more Reagan doctrine, no more Bush doctrine.
We want no more presidential decrees, no executive orders declaring us threats to their country, we do not want them to watch over us, monitor our cell phones, spy on us or kidnap our presidential aircraft. We want to live in peace, let us live in peace.
Living in peace is less expensive than living in perpetual war.
President Obama, we of Latin America and the Caribbean are a continent of peace and dialogue, we invite you to dialogue and live in peace. To live in peace it is less expensive than to live in perpetual war.
No war has sown peace, all wars sow more violence and discord, we invite you to become the leader of a peaceful people showing solidarity, not a belligerent, destructive and oppressive government.
President Obama, stop turning the world into a battlefield, stop thinking that there are only friends or enemies. There are also others, others who want to show solidarity, those who strive for high ideals, those who save lives, those who cure diseases, those who relieve the people’s suffering.
Avoid wars that you have produced so far, wars that only benefit the financial tyranny, that benefit the large armaments industry, stop destroying entire civilizations, stop chasing ghosts, stop spending so many resources without results.
Humanity does not want war, we want the basics, basic services as a human right, men and women of this world want to live in peace. It is less expensive and more productive, it is less painful and more satisfying.
Sisters and brothers, we have an obligation to understand that freedom and democracy can speak. What democracy and freedom can the government of the United States speak of, if everyday they violate the human rights of millions of citizens worldwide, through electronic surveillance, undercover operations and persecution?
What human rights can the US government speak of if torture is a common method used by its intelligence agencies and the death penalty is still in force?
The first condition for the defense of human rights is to sign international conventions, they want to be the champions of human rights when they do not even meet the basic requirement to ratify these agreements human rights.
President Obama speaks to us of democracy and yet every day his government sends to us their sophisticated assassins to erode the legitimacy of our governments, promote coups against our democracies, funds agencies which plot against and divide our society, financing NGOs to subvert the social order our peoples.
What democracy can he speak of when he converts a revolutionary people like in Venezuela into a threat to its national security?
The Venezuelan people, together with Latin America and the Caribbean, we are no threat to anyone, we are peoples whose weapons of combat are solidarity, justice and equality, our weapons are ideas.
We fight so that our citizens can enjoy their status as human beings. With their logic, then, they convert all the governments of Latin America into an apparent security threat.
The threat to the security of its people does not come from any nation in Latin America, it comes from their own mistakes, their role as an empire and its ability to carry wars where peace should prevail.
What democracy can the Government of the United States speak of if it is sponsoring terrorist acts in various parts of the world?
It is not exporting democracy when it produces the greatest quantity of weapons for the destruction of humanity. No democracy can sustain itself by spying on the world, violating the privacy of millions of citizens.
What democracy can President Obama speak of when he sends thousands of armed marines to our continent to indoctrinate soldiers to fight against our peoples?
Can there can be dialogue with the United States when its entire arsenal and technology are monitoring our territories or when the fourth naval fleet sails the Pacific challenging our Pacific coast?
What a strange democracy that installs military bases in our countries, when it applies extraterritorial laws, when it has unresolved territorial issues with Cuba and Puerto Rico.
What democracy can it speak of as it cruelly blockades for 50 years a people who only want to live in peace and show solidarity as Cuba does.
Pretexts to impose economic policies
A moment ago President Obama said he will help Cuba. What you need to do is repay it for all the damages you have caused to Cuba for 50 years
Let me tell President Obama that your doctrine of global security has failed, today there are more threats than a decade ago, not only against your country but also against other countries that have nothing to do with your extraterritorial wars.
Your war on drugs has failed because there is more demand for drugs and more production of synthetic drugs in the world.
Everyone knows that the supposed war on drugs was merely a pretext to impose your economic policies.
The wars against communism, against drug trafficking and terrorism have become a pretext to impose policies of fear and intervene in strategic areas to plunder our natural resources.
President Obama, stop making war, and turn your country into a democratic republic, instead of maintaining an anti-democratic and unsustainable empire.
Instead of continuing to wage war on the world, I respectfully ask you to concern yourself with the millions of Americans living in extreme poverty in your own country, to control the millions of weapons circulating in your territory which kill the innocent with impunity, to reduce demand for drugs by the millions of drug users who require medical treatment and therapies, and social state of law, to eliminate racism and discrimination against your brothers.
President, govern with your people, for your people, and don’t govern for the bankers, nor for the transnational weapons, food, medicine and oil corporations, don’t continue expelling defenseless immigrants who only seek to work in your country.
President Obama, I ask you to expel the criminals from your territory, from your country.
It is not right for your country to become a home for confessed terrorists, corrupt ones, of murderers, of separatists who have escaped. Expel those who have escaped so that they can be judged by their peoples.
We appreciate the support for our maritime claim
I also take this opportunity, sisters and brothers, there are some outstanding issues still in Bolivia. In 1879 we were invaded and the sea, the Pacific was snatched from us.
I'm not complaining, just taking advantage, thanks to many presidents and ex-presidents. For your information, four ex-presidents of the United States have supported this claim.
Pope John Paul II supported our claim, we are with the people, almost with the whole world. We came to a very important international organization at The Hague, we are very confident that this injustice will be resolved.
But also, I want to take this opportunity, to finish, I'm sorry to denounce to the world, that it is not possible for the US government, or any other country, leave this meeting without a document, without a resolution.
The information I have from my Foreign Ministry, the United States does not accept, for example, the transfer of technology without conditions to the countries with the lowest degree of scientific development of our America.
They did not agree with the principle of common, but differentiated, responsibilities on climate change, nor the recognition of health care as a fundamental right of the people, as an essential condition for integral development.
I understand that health is a human right, it cannot be a private business. It is not possible that these kinds of proposals coming from 33 countries or 35 countries be rejected. Nor equitable, comprehensive, safe and reliable access to new information and communication technologies, respecting the right to privacy.
It is not possible for them to reject the summit of our social movements, but in addition to that, to reject the support those 33 countries have given Venezuela. And one or two countries reject a statement on the Decree which threatens not only Venezuela, but also all Latin America and the Caribbean.
Sisters and brothers, if the United States is a power, one of the world powers, I call on President Obama to lead America, so that the American continent is a model of peace and social justice.
President Obama, if you feel that you are the leader of a world power, I ask you take the lead in saving Mother Earth, in saving life, of humanity.
We hope that President Obama can understand the profound feelings of the poor, a product of applying a model that offers no benefit to the peoples of the world.
Thank you. (Applause)