Looking in the Bolivian Mirror
(or How Bolivians Refused to Knuckle Under to NWO Puppets)
From WORLD RAINFOREST MOVEMENT <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Oct. 27, 2003
International Secretariat, Maldonado 1858; Montevideo, Uruguay,
Web page: http://www.wrm.org.uy , Editor: Ricardo Carrere
W R M B U L L E T I N 75
Looking in the Bolivian mirror
In a world dominated by CNN-style news, it is difficult for
people to have access to real information. Needless to say that serious
analysis on almost anything (except perhaps football) is particularly absent.
Train accidents, sports results, wars, Hollywood stars, hunger, biotechnology,
human rights abuses or whatever mix of chaotic bits and pieces of news appear
to be more an excuse to inflict advertisements on people than to provide
them with relevant information to understand the world we are living in.
Within that situation, it is possible that for most people
-even within Latin America- the news about the ousting of the Bolivian government
has not meant much. We believe it to be, however, one of the most important
events that has happened in the recent years.
Eagerly and happily responding to the US government's demands,
the fallen government decided, on the one hand, to crack down on coca cultivation
and on the other hand to open up the country's natural gas reserves to supply
the US with extremely cheap gas through a Chilean port.
The Bolivian people reacted strongly and decided to take the
country's sovereignty into their own hands. Coca cultivation has since time
immemorial been part of the Bolivian culture, while cocaine is a foreign
invention alien to this culture. Eradication of coca is thus perceived as
a US imposition having no legitimacy within the country. On the other hand,
natural gas is one of the last remaining economic resources the country
still has, all the rest (from silver to tin) having already been exploited
first by Spanish conquerors and later by transnational companies, leaving
the country poorer than before. The detail that gas would be exported through
a Chilean port -which in a past 19th Century war left Bolivia without access
to the Pacific Ocean- added insult to injury.
The people thus took to the streets against the government.
The cost was very high -some 70 dead and more than 400 injured- but the
result was a
President fleeing to where he belongs -Miami- and his hard-line ministers
escaping to a number of different countries. The new president as pledged
to introduce radical changes to the policies implemented by his predecessor,
in line with popular demands.
Why do we think this news is so important? Firstly, because
it shows the inherent weakness of power based on elites alienated from their
country's peoples. Secondly, because it proves that the apparent weakness
of impoverished peoples hides their true and enormous strength. Thirdly,
because it provides the rest of the world with a mirror of our own realities
and possibilities for change. Not to copy what the Bolivian people did,
but to realize that change is possible - if we try. What
is the relevance of this news regarding forests? Many of the articles contained
in this bulletin show that resistance against the destruction of forests
is mostly in the hands of local peoples and civil society organizations.
While governments argue -with or without
conviction- that little can be done in a world dominated by overwhelming
economic and political powers, peoples still believe that resistance is
possible -and act accordingly. While governments open up our countries to
logging, oil and gas exploitation, large scale tree plantations, dams, shrimp
farming, genetically modified crops and other "development" projects,
people continue fighting all the way down the line. In some cases succeeding
and in others failing. But always trying.
Within the prevailing economic model implemented by governments
following the advice of the International Monetary Fund and similar institutions,
the future of forests is -to say the least- problematic. that therefore
needs to be changed is precisely that model. It will certainly not be easy,
but neither was or is the ongoing struggle in Bolivia.
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