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Socialist Project • E-Bulletin No. 78
January 1, 2008

Canadian Workers in Support
of Bolivia and Morales

In recent months, the process of democratic renewal and indigenous liberation in Bolivia, headed by president Evo Morales, has come under violent assault from rightist forces aligned with the U.S. government. Physical disruption of Bolivia's Constituent Assembly prevented it from meeting for several months. Now that the Assembly has presented its proposed new constitution for referendum, the rightists are threatening a breakaway by Bolivia's eastern provinces.

In response to these threats, the Canadian Labour Congress has expressed "its solidarity with the democratically elected government and its support for the constitutional reforms demanded by the majority of Bolivians." We reproduce this important letter, signed by CLC President Ken Georgetti, below.

As the proposed constitution proceeds toward a vote, support is urgently needed for Bolivia's independence, integrity, and democratic institutions. Solidarity activity is being coordinated through the Bolivia Action Solidarity Network (email: bolivia@grupoapoyo.org). We print below their founding statement.



December 19, 2007

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON
K1A OA2
By fax: 613-941-6900

Dear Prime Minister:

On behalf of the 3.2 million working Canadian men and women affiliated to the Canadian Labour Congress, I am writing to encourage you to extend Canada's support for the people and government of Bolivia, in the face of conflict surrounding the new Bolivian constitution. This action would be in line with the governments of nine Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela). It would be in line with a statement from the Organization of American States (OAS) and would also be in keeping with Canada's expressed interest in renewing and strengthening relations with our “neighbourhood” of the Americas.

President Evo Morales was elected in December 2005, with a clear mandate, as the first Indigenous president of Bolivia representing a large Indigenous majority. President Morales fulfilled his promise to convene a Constituent Assembly, with the mandate to fully integrate the indigenous majorities in the political sphere and improve their situation after centuries of social injustice. The Constituent Assembly was to submit the constitutional text for approval by means of a referendum.

The opposition governors of five of the nine Bolivian departments (Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni and Pando) said Monday that they would not recognize the new constitution which is supported by President Evo Morales and had been approved on Sunday. They confirmed that four of them will apply their regional autonomy regardless of the constitution. This is clearly an attempt to destabilize the democratic process in Bolivia and should be rejected.

While the minority opposition has every right to have its voice heard in the constitutional process, their systematic interruption of the Constituent Assembly's sittings, as well as recent violent protests, calls for civil disobedience and ugly racist declarations are impeding the exercise of a democratic process.

The Canadian Labour Congress expresses its solidarity with the democratically elected government and its support for the constitutional reforms demanded by the majority of Bolivians.

We condemn the calls to violence and secession, these which are anti-democratic attempts to destabilize the country and deny the oppressed majority their right to reshape Bolivia on a more equitable basis and in recognition of its First Nations.

We have confidence that President Evo Morales will manage the current situation, with respect for democratic principles, and will ensure that Bolivian political forces maintain a climate of dialogue and understanding, rejecting all attempts that endanger the stability of the country's institutions and the democratically elected government.

Sincerely,

Kenneth V. Georgetti President

cc.
CLC Officers and Executive Assistants
CLC Executive Committee
The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs;
The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour;
The Honourable Jack Layton, New Democratic Party of Canada;
The Honourable Stephane Dion, Liberal Party of Canada;
Mr. Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Quebecois;
Ms. Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada;
Embassy of Bolivia in Ottawa


Bolivia Solidarity Action Network
Founding Statement
December 2007

The violent campaign of Bolivian right-wingers, incited and supported by foreign interests arouses our deep concern and shows the need for creative and militant solidarity.

As members of different organizations acting in solidarity with the Bolivian people and as residents of several major cities in Canada and Quebec (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Gatineau, and Ottawa), we have therefore decided to coordinate our efforts, unite in our mission of solidarity, and create a new framework that will assist and reflect the advances of Bolivia's heroic people. These actions will be organized and coordinated with different unions, coalitions, solidarity committees, and social organizations of Canada, Quebec and Bolivia.

We utilize this time of year-end celebration to announce the creation of the Bolivia Solidarity Action Network (Canada and Quebec). Let us work for a Christmas of peace, love, justice, and solidarity and a new year of new and decisive steps to dismantle the colonial system, defeat neoliberal injustice, and deepen social revolution in Bolivia and Abya-Yala.

For the Bolivia Solidarity Action Network (BSAN): Frida Alzugaray, Ángel Espinoza, Roberto López, René Navarro, Carole Ouellette, Rosalia Paive, Adriana Paz, John Riddell, Gustavo Saavedra, Iana Saavedra Ouellette, Marcelo Saavedra-Vargas, Vicente Urquizu, Suzanne Weiss, Gilberto Valencia

We appeal to all friends of Latin America to support this effort:

  1. Write the Network at bolivia@grupoapoyo.org and get on its mailing list.
  2. Become an active member of the Network.
  3. Organize discussions on the crisis in Bolivia in union bodies, solidarity committees, and other popular committees. The Network will provide background information and speakers upon request.
  4. Pass resolutions defending Bolivia's sovereignty and integrity. See for comparison the statement of Canadian Labour Congress Ken Georgetti this month, which is reproduced at bolivia.grupoapoyo.org.

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