Monday, January 29, 2007

Be nice about someone day: Evo Morales

Technically it was yesterday - but computers being what they are... hmpf.

Spent an excellent day in London on Sunday at a packed Bolivar Hall celebrating the one year anniversary of Evo Morales' inauguration as President of Bolivia.

Some of the performers, click for a clearer pictureI have some great pictures and I've taped contributions from the Cuban and Bolivian ambassadors, Jordi from Hands off Venezuela, Jeremy Corbyn and others - so they will be appearing slowly but surely as I sort all that out.

But why celebrate the election of a President?

When Morales was elected in his victory speech he proclaimed "At last, we are the President." For the first time someone from the indigenous majority had been elected to the highest office in the land. But not only that - he is someone whose background was in the grassroots movements, a trade unionist, someone from the humblest of origins who had a history of organising and fighting back.

I could go on at length on how Morales falls far short of the aspirations of the people who voted for him. I could regale you with stories as to how problematic his Presidency is and how he is caught between a belligerent right wing and his own supporters' expectations. But today I'll tell you one thing that 'Evo' has achieved in his single year.

Mustafa from the BSC, Jordi from HOV and the Bolivian Ambassador, Beatriz SouvironBy cutting the salaries of the highest officials (including himself) and renegotiating contracts with the multi-nationals so they are, for the first time, forced to pay reasonable rates of taxation, his is the first Bolivian Government in thirty years to have no budget deficit.

So what you ask? Budget deficits are neither revolutionary nor exciting to you. I understand your point, but in the case of Bolivia this does not simply mean Morales is some sort of jumper wearing Gordon Brown - all fiscal prudence and no soul. It's rather more significant than that.

It's important because this year is the first year that Bolivians have not had to go cap in hand to the IMF for money to help balance their books... because you know, that money ain't free.


Techno update: I've set up a flikr account with some pics of this which you can find here

1 comment:

Duncan Money said...

I apologise in advance for posting a comment that is nothing to do with your post.

You might have seen the latest extensive thread over at Dave's Part about the possibility of setting up an online left wing portal.

The discussion is now taking place at:

http://southpawpunch.blogspot.com/2007/01/red-portal-sell-out-of-week-polls-icon.html

and:
http://southpawpunch.googlepages.com/leftportal

Would you be interested in contributing Green Left events if the site was set up?