10-1. Bolivian President Evo Morales,
This is the text of a speech given on December 24, 2005 at
the "In Defense of Humanity" conference
What happened these past days in Bolivia was a great revolt by those who have been oppressed for more
than 500 years. The will of the people was imposed this September and October, and has begun to
overcome the empire's cannons. We have lived for so many years through the confrontation of two cultures:
the culture of life represented by the indigenous people, and the culture of death represented by West.
When we the indigenous people--together with the workers and even the businessmen of our country--fight
for life and justice, the State responds with its "democratic rule of law."
What does the "rule of law" mean for indigenous people? For the poor, the marginalized, the excluded, the
"rule of law" means the targeted assassinations and collective massacres that we have endured. Not just this
September and October, but for many years, in which they have tried to impose policies of hunger and
poverty on the Bolivian people. Above all, the "rule of law" means the accusations that we, the Quechuas,
Aymaras and Guaranties of Bolivia keep hearing from our governments: that we are narcos, that we are
anarchists. This uprising of the Bolivian people has been not only about gas and hydrocarbons, but an
intersection of many issues: discrimination, marginalization , and most importantly, the failure of
The cause of all these acts of bloodshed, and for the uprising of the Bolivian people, has a name:
neoliberalism. With courage and defiance, we brought down Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada--the symbol of
neoliberalism in our country--on October 17, the Bolivians' day of dignity and identity. We began to bring
down the symbol of corruption and the political mafia.
And I want to tell you,
, how we have built the consciousness of the Bolivian
people from the bottom up. How quickly the Bolivian people have reacted, have said--as Subcomandate
, enough policies of hunger and misery.
For us, October 17th is the beginning of a new phase of construction. Most importantly, we face the task of
ending selfishness and individualism, and creating--from the rural campesino and indigenous communities
to the urban slums--other forms of living, based on solidarity and mutual aid. We must think about how to
redistribute the wealth that is concentrated among few hands. This is the great task we Bolivian people face
after this great uprising.
It has been very important to organize and mobilize ourselves in a way based on transparency, honesty, and
control over our own organizations. And it has been important not only to organize but also to unite. Here
we are now, united intellectuals in defense of humanity--I think we must have not only unity among the
social movements, but also that we must coordinate with the intellectual movements. Every gathering,
every event of this nature for we labor leaders who come from the social struggle, is a great lesson that