First Australian solidarity tour to Bolivia planned

Bolivian President Evo Morales

In 2005, the people of Bolivia, the poorest country in Latin America, elected the poor nation’s first Indigenous president: Evo Morales from the Movement for Socialism (MAS).

Since then, the people’s struggles to end multinational corporations’ plunder of Bolivia’s natural resources, and for forms of development and democracy that meet the needs of the majority, have captured the attention of oppressed people around the world.

Alongside the powerful people’s movement for social and economic justice in Bolivia, the Morales government has become the clearest and most courageous voice internationally for the movement to stop global warming.

In April 2010, in response to the farcical United Nations Climate Summit in Copenhagen, Bolivia hosted the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, attended by 35,000 activists.

Then in December, at the UN Climate Summit in Cancun, Bolivia was the only nation that refused to capitulate to the rich countries’ pressure to vote for an “agreement” that will not help to stop global warming.

These inspiring developments in Bolivia, as well as the visit to Australia last October of MAS representative Alina Canaviri Sullcani, have prompted Latin America solidarity activists in Australia to call for expressions of interest in joining a solidarity study tour to Bolivia this year.

The tour, sponsored by the Victoria Latin America Forum and the Latin America Social Forum in Sydney, will be the first to Bolivia from Australia and will run from May 12 to 21.

The 10-day itinerary will provide opportunities for participants to observe first-hand many aspects of Bolivia’s people-power revolution. It will visit urban and regional communities, including Santa Cruz, Cochabamba and La Paz, and speak to a wide range of grassroots organisations, community activists, trade unions and government representatives.

The Bolivia tour is scheduled to follow the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s annual May Day solidarity brigade to Venezuela, which runs from April 25 to May 4. Holding the tours back to back will enable people to visit and observe these two very different, but strongly united, social revolutions.

Both solidarity tours, to Venezuela and Bolivia, will have a Spanish translator for all meetings, and accommodation and internal transport will be organised by the tour leaders.

People who would like to participate in either or both tours must register by no later than February 28. For more information and to register, contact John on 0407 500 839 johncleary271@hotmail.com, Fred on 0412 556 527 fred.fuentes@gmail.com, or Lisa at lisam@greenleft.org.au

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