Monday, 7 January 2008

Canadian labour Congress supports Bolivia

From The Bullet, No. 78 (January 1, 2008), published by the Socialist Project:


Canadian Workers in Support of Bolivia and Morales

In recent months, the process of democratic renewal and indigenous
liberation in Bolivia, headed by president Evo Morales, has come under
violent assault from rightist forces aligned with the U.S. government.
Physical disruption of Bolivia's Constituent Assembly prevented it from
meeting for several months. Now that the Assembly has presented its
proposed new constitution for referendum, the rightists are threatening a
breakaway by Bolivia's eastern provinces.

In response to these threats, the Canadian Labour Congress has expressed
"its solidarity with the democratically elected government and its support
for the constitutional reforms demanded by the majority of Bolivians." We
reproduce this important letter, signed by CLC President Ken Georgetti,
below.

As the proposed constitution proceeds toward a vote, support is urgently
needed for Bolivia's independence, integrity, and democratic institutions.
Solidarity activity is being coordinated through the Bolivia Action
Solidarity Network (http://www.grupoapoyo.org/basn or write
bolivia@grupoapoyo.org). We print below their founding statement.

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December 19, 2007

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON
K1A OA2
By fax: 613-941-6900

Dear Prime Minister:

On behalf of the 3.2 million working Canadian men and women affiliated to
the Canadian Labour Congress, I am writing to encourage you to extend
Canada's support for the people and government of Bolivia, in the face of
conflict surrounding the new Bolivian constitution. This action would be in
line with the governments of nine Latin American countries (Argentina,
Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Paraguay, Uruguay and
Venezuela). It would be in line with a statement from the Organization of
American States (OAS) and would also be in keeping with Canada's expressed
interest in renewing and strengthening relations with our “neighbourhood”
of the Americas.

President Evo Morales was elected in December 2005, with a clear mandate,
as the first Indigenous president of Bolivia representing a large
Indigenous majority. President Morales fulfilled his promise to convene a
Constituent Assembly, with the mandate to fully integrate the indigenous
majorities in the political sphere and improve their situation after
centuries of social injustice. The Constituent Assembly was to submit the
constitutional text for approval by means of a referendum.

The opposition governors of five of the nine Bolivian departments
(Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni and Pando) said Monday that they
would not recognize the new constitution which is supported by President
Evo Morales and had been approved on Sunday. They confirmed that four of
them will apply their regional autonomy regardless of the constitution.
This is clearly an attempt to destabilize the democratic process in Bolivia
and should be rejected.

While the minority opposition has every right to have its voice heard in
the constitutional process, their systematic interruption of the
Constituent Assembly's sittings, as well as recent violent protests, calls
for civil disobedience and ugly racist declarations are impeding the
exercise of a democratic process.

The Canadian Labour Congress expresses its solidarity with the
democratically elected government and its support for the constitutional
reforms demanded by the majority of Bolivians.

We condemn the calls to violence and secession, these which are
anti-democratic attempts to destabilize the country and deny the oppressed
majority their right to reshape Bolivia on a more equitable basis and in
recognition of its First Nations.

We have confidence that President Evo Morales will manage the current
situation, with respect for democratic principles, and will ensure that
Bolivian political forces maintain a climate of dialogue and understanding,
rejecting all attempts that endanger the stability of the country's
institutions and the democratically elected government.

Sincerely,

Kenneth V. Georgetti
President

cc.
CLC Officers and Executive Assistants
CLC Executive Committee
The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs;
The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour;
The Honourable Jack Layton, New Democratic Party of Canada;
The Honourable Stephane Dion, Liberal Party of Canada;
Mr. Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Quebecois;
Ms. Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada;
Embassy of Bolivia in Ottawa

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Bolivia Solidarity Action Network
Founding Statement
December 2007

The violent campaign of Bolivian right-wingers, incited and supported by
foreign interests arouses our deep concern and shows the need for creative
and militant solidarity.

As members of different organizations acting in solidarity with the
Bolivian people and as residents of several major cities in Canada and
Quebec (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Gatineau, and Ottawa), we have
therefore decided to coordinate our efforts, unite in our mission of
solidarity, and create a new framework that will assist and reflect the
advances of Bolivia's heroic people. These actions will be organized and
coordinated with different unions, coalitions, solidarity committees, and
social organizations of Canada, Quebec and Bolivia.

We utilize this time of year-end celebration to announce the creation of
the Bolivia Solidarity Action Network (Canada and Quebec). Let us work for
a Christmas of peace, love, justice, and solidarity and a new year of new
and decisive steps to dismantle the colonial system, defeat neoliberal
injustice, and deepen social revolution in Bolivia and Abya-Yala.

For the Bolivia Solidarity Action Network (BSAN):
Frida Alzugaray, Ángel Espinoza, Roberto López, René Navarro, Carole
Ouellette, Rosalia Paive, Adriana Paz, John Riddell, Gustavo Saavedra, Iana
Saavedra Ouellette, Marcelo Saavedra-Vargas, Vicente Urquizu, Suzanne
Weiss, Gilberto Valencia

We appeal to all friends of Latin America to support this effort:

1. Write the Network at bolivia@grupoapoyo.org and get on its mailing
list.
2. Become an active member of the Network.
3. Organize discussions on the crisis in Bolivia in union bodies,
solidarity committees, and other popular committees. The Network will
provide background information and speakers upon request.
4. Pass resolutions defending Bolivia's sovereignty and integrity. See for
comparison the statement of Canadian Labour Congress Ken Georgetti this
month, which is reproduced at http://bolivia.grupoapoyo.org.

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