Bolivia's Evo Morales: 'Economic liberation necessary for political power'

August 22, 2009

The article below is from the Bolivarian News Agency (ABN). It is reprinted from

"We have to liberate ourselves economically in order to have political power", Bolivian President Evo Morales told representatives of the indigenous peoples, campesinos (peasants) and social movements at a mass event in Camiri on August 2 to mark to passing by the Morales government of the Law of Indigenous Autonomies.

The law is aimed at implementing a key part of Bolivia's new constitution, adopted by a referendum in January, that grants indigenous communities the right to autonomous self-government.

Morales said: "We are still not free and independent in economic terms. In some regions, in some departments, there is a total dependency on private business, on private agro industry or in the area of services."

"When we finally liberate ourselves economically, that is when the people will have the power", he added, stating that other groups hold power due to their control over land and the economy.

Morales asked the members of the Unity Pact, which unites social movements to defend the process of change led by Morales, and other social movement representatives to raise popular consciousness "so that the social movements, indigenous campesinos and all sectors can have economic power".

"Only when we have economic power as peoples will we have real political power, for that we need a higher level of consciousness, of reflection and orientation so that this process of change cannot be stopped."

He said it was not enough to just put natural resources under public ownership. The other key goal, although difficult to achieve, is the self-organisation of the social movements.

Morales said that, during the 180 years of the Bolivian republic, the state had been largely absent from indigenous communities. He said this highlighted the importance of indigenous autonomy.

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