Bolivian President Evo Morales praised “the popular uprisings in Tunisia and in Egypt” in his speech to the opening ceremony of the World Social Forum in the west African nation of Senegal on February 6.
Morales said the uprisings were part of the “rebellion by the peoples of the Arab countries against US imperialism”.
“This struggle by the people is going to be unstoppable,” Morales said, “even though the US government provides millions and millions of dollars of financing to try and finish these social movements.
“But this is not going to stop.”
The World Social Forum, which started in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2001, has been an important annual global gathering of anti-corporate globalisation activists, unionists and civil society organisations.
An estimated 60,000 activists took part this year.
Morales is a regular attendee at the WSF — first as a leader of the coca growers’ union and, since his 2005 election, as a head of state.
In his speech, Morales said capitalism was “agonising” over the various crises it is facing. The rich are attempting to make the poor pay for these crises, he said
“We must save humanity, and to do that, we must know our enemies. The enemies of the people are neocolonialists and imperialists.
“We must put an end to the capitalist model and put another in its place. It’s necessary to get rid of the rich and change the world.”
Pointing to the advances made under his government, Morales said: “Basic services, telephone, water, electricity, must never be privatised … natural resources cannot be in the hands of international companies.”
To combat climate change, he said, “we have to defend the rights of Mother Earth”.
Bolivian President Evo Morales addressing the World Social Forum in Senegal. February 6.