The world was again entering an era of “dark capitalist and imperialist barbarism” which acts against human dignity, the integrity of Mother Earth and the sovereignty of countries, Bolivian President Evo Morales told the United Nations General Assembly on September 21.
Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, called for a “new world order” that, rather than building walls, built a global citizenry where all people live together as a common family.
Morales said that according to UN data, 94% of all wealth is concentrated in the hands of 20% of the world’s population. This was true, the left-wing leader said, even as hundreds of thousands of people went hungry or lived in poverty.
“This shadowy social reality is the true face of capitalism,” he said, emphasising that the singular goal for humankind in this century should be to eradicate imperialism and capitalism once and for all.
If imperialism is not eradicated and a new model for society built, the UN Sustainable Development Goals “will become the ‘Goals Sustainable Death’; death for all living beings and Mother Earth,” he declared, adding: “We must also stand alert and take immediate action to stop the barbarism of imperialism from transforming the landmark Paris Agreement [climate deal] into an instrument of blackmail.”
Capitalist powers were constructing walls and borders everywhere, he continued, “in the water, on land and in the air”. To counter this, Bolivia hoped that a universal citizenry could be built.
Among the key examples of imperialist barbarism, he said, is Israel’s expansionist and war-mongering, as well as its ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands. Morales also strongly rejected the unilateral coercive measures imposed by the United States against Cuba.
On the United States and Cuba, Morales underscored that restoration of diplomatic relations was not enough; the US must pay damages to Cuba for its decades-long economic blockade and restore Guantanamo Bay to the island nation.
Condemning terrorism, all forms of violence and war, Morales said that eliminating such scourges required tackling their roots.
“While there is poverty and exclusion; while there is racism and discrimination; while there is a lack of respect for the dignity and sovereignty of peoples; and while natural resources are being pillaged for imperialist interests […] violence and terrorism will be encouraged,” he said, calling for a world of peace, dignity and equality for all.
He said that while many nations were impacted by the 2007-08 financial meltdown, Bolivia had taken measures on its own to stave off the effects of the “global capitalist crisis”.
Indeed, Bolivia was one of the countries in Latin America that has been able to complement economic growth, distribution of wealth, public investment and a significant reduction of poverty while building equality. “None of this would have been possible without sovereign measures such as the nationalisation of our expansion of our natural resources and our strategic businesses,” he explained.
Morales highlighted Bolivia’s efforts to tackle illicit drug trafficking. He said that great strides had been made now that the US Drug Enforcement Agency was no longer using 50% of what it captures as “fees”, nor carrying out assassinations.
Bolivia aimed to “build bridges of dialogue and bring down the walls that divide us,” said the president, adding that his country is working to be an example for the world; “a model of dignity and opportunity.”
As such, Morales reiterated his longstanding call that all basic services be recognised as human rights, as well as the rights of Mother Earth.
[Abridged from UN News Centre The full speech is below.]