EVO and Dec. 6 Election: Move Forward to Change or Go Back to Neoliberalism
Arleen Rodríguez Derivet
• LA PAZ.—Evo Morales Ayma, the man who, four years ago, changed the history of Bolivia and shook the racist protocol of Western diplomacy, is virtually not sleeping in La Paz at the moment.
Despite huge distances and appreciable differences in height and climate among the country’s nine departments, the president is touring them without a break, and with more intensity as December 6 approaches. This is the day that could guarantee the progress of changing or re-founding the nation, for centuries one of the most impoverished of the hemisphere but today, one that has been able to confront the impact of the world economic crisis with the most success.
Evo’s reelection is a fact not even contested by the right. Surveys give him a 34-point advantage over the closest of the other aspirants. In line with this figure, the most conservative result, the president will be returned with 52% and his nearest rival will barely reach 18%.
Even so, Evo appears at a different point of Bolivia’s complex geography every day. The last time he was seen driving a heavy tractor at the front of an enthusiastic and large convoy of supporters, no less than in Santa Cruz, considered up until the day before a right-wing bastion.
“After hearing and seeing the huge concentrations of people all over the country, I feel that we have already been elected for another five years,” affirmed the president in an exclusive interview for Cuban Television’s “Roundtable” program.
What Evo is seeking on those tiring tours to the heart of the country is to take the brakes of the changes imposed by the right in the Senate over the last four years, a period throughout which he had to govern hard by decree in order to overcome the criminal opposition of the opponents of change.
Now Evo is taking the time to talk with the majorities, to explain why not to post a “crossed” vote (voting for him but not for MAS candidates to the Plurinational Assembly. The battle of the charismatic 50-year-old leader is currently focused on winning two thirds of the seats; “Over the last four years, what was most damaging to us was the Senate. The people do not have the majority there,” he says and explains to us that that mal comes from the 1980s when, for once, the left won and the right did not allow it to undertake its program. Hernán Siles Suazo had to cut short his mandate.
But traveling into deepest Bolivia is also an opportunity to approach and hear directly from the people what they do from day to day in this country. “We are obliged to visit, to listen to the campesinos who have given us their vote.”
Impressed by the atmosphere of peace and prosperity, of joy, that can now be felt in La Paz and other regions, where barely 12 months ago, confrontations provoked by USAID and the U.S. ambassador made people fear for the process, we asked if that fact that one is not longer there and the other has been checked has had an influence, but his response is more profound:
“Whether it is the expulsion of the ambassador, reining in USAID and thus reining in the right, the most important thing is the people’s awareness. I am impressed by many sectors. I think that, in the first year, many people thought: the Indian isn’t going to make it, so: ‘We have to do something against the Indian; they tried to revoke me, they tried everything… That’s where the strength of the CONALCAM (National Coordinating Committee for Change), of intellectuals, students, comes in… Some people said, ‘I don’t like the president’s face, but I do like his politics. This Indian is giving us dignity.”
“When I see luxury cars on my campaign convoys, I ask myself what’s going on, but reviewing the candidates’ programs for December 6, ours is the most realistic. You can see clearly that there are two ways: moving forward in support of change or going back to the past, going back to neoliberalism. So many people are joining it. The people aren’t stupid, people can see. That is the program of the people, the one that is only opposed to criminals – those who have lived off robbing the people – and the fraudsters…
“You still can’t decolonize the minds of all Bolivians. There are still opposition groups. And there is a right to an opposition, but there are violent groups, terrorists, who are trying to destroy the homeland, to destroy life.”
In this interview, during which the president also talked about the economic crisis and the challenges that climate change is imposing on nations like Bolivia, he affirmed that the installation of military bases in Colombia “is not an aggression toward Colombia, it is an invasion of South America,” and predicted that that imperialist policy will be short-lived. •
Translated by Granma International