"We Are Better Off Without US Government" -- Evo Morales
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Sid Shniad
2014-10-21 21:02:30 UTC
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<http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40021.htm>"We Are Better
Off Without US Government" -- Evo MoralesBolivia's president talks about
the country's ongoing socio-economic transformation and his third term in
October 19, 2014 "ICH" - I have no regrets - in fact, I am pleased to have
expelled the US ambassador, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and
to have closed the US military base in Bolivia. Now, without a US
ambassador, there is less conspiracy, and more political stability and
social stability. Without the International Monetary Fund, we are better
off economically.

In 2009, under the country's first indigenous president a new constitution
declared Bolivia a plurinational state - ending centuries of undeclared

Opponents in the oil-rich eastern region launched a civil disobedience
movement, confronting the east against the poorer, indigenous majority who
support President Evo Morales. Critics denounced the president's fiery
socialist rhetoric and the nationalisation of Bolivia's oil and gas
industry in the poorest and most undeveloped nation in South America.

Five years later, from the World Bank to the IMF, Evo Morales is getting
full marks for overseeing an unprecedented transformation of Bolivia.
Spurred by high commodity prices, economic growth is now the highest in the

And while the president's anti-capitalist discourse is as strong as ever, a
mix of mainstream economics and social programmes has dramatically reduced
poverty and unemployment, while allowing the private sector to flourish.

"We have taken flight towards development. What others could not do in 180
years we have done in some nine years of profound changes .... We are going
to make Bolivia the energy hub for South America," says Morales.

In a region where personality cults are too common, millions of Bolivians
have come to worship Morales.

He has just been re-elected after a disputed court decision allowing him to
run for a third consecutive term as president.

"I believe that some revolutions, some transformations, are driven by a
person. I don't like it, but I am happy that there is now an Evo
generation, a new generation of young men and women with a great deal of
knowledge, principles, and values, who are assuming leadership. I am very
pleased with the way young people are getting involved. Obviously, much
depends on the process, on the steps we take to ensure good economic
stability with social benefits," Morales says.

Morales not only opposes the eradication and abolition of the coca leaf,
the raw material for cocaine. He is also waging an international campaign
to legalise and industrialise its use for traditional and medicinal
purposes. He made headlines when he demonstrated how the plant is chewed at
the United Nations, the same body that declared the plant an illegal
narcotic in 1961.

He says: "It [drug trafficking] must be fought - we are convinced of that -
and we are doing so more effectively and more wisely. When the United
States was in control of counternarcotics, the US governments used drug
trafficking for purely geopolitical purposes .... The US uses drug
trafficking and terrorism for political control .... We have nationalised
the fight against drug trafficking. "

"The best way to fight drug trafficking is to engage the people. Then there
will not be zero coca, but neither can there be unfettered coca
cultivation, because a problem does exist. As long as there is market
demand for cocaine, the sacred, natural leaf, the medicinal coca leaf will
always be associated with this illegal problem. The root cause of drug
trafficking is demand, because the developed countries are not stopping the
demand for cocaine."

On Talk to Al Jazeera, President Evo Morales gives an insight into his
personal life and discusses his controversial decision to legalise child
labour, his expulsion of the US ambassador, the issue of drug trafficking -
and whether he plans to step down when this term is over.
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