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Ημερομηνία Προβολής: 24-1-2008
Τίτλος :
ΒΟΛΙΒΙΑ - ΛΑΤΙΝΙΚΗ ΑΜΕΡΙΚΗ - Mέρος 1ο: Βολιβία: Η επιστροφή των Ινδιάνων - Μέρος 2ο: Η Λατινική Αμερική και η προφητεία του Νίξον
Θέμα :


Felipe Burbano de Lara


( - )

So, can we say that the face of the Latin American is changing a little bit those last years, with the elections of left wing government, and so on?

Yes, is changing in political and social ways. I think Latin America is trying at this point to find its own political model of democracy, it is also trying to find its own economic system and strategy for development and that is the result of huge ideological change in the whole region towards these governments, more close to what we have known in Latin America as Left wing governments.

What is the role of Chavez in these changes?

Chavez is probably the most radical of the leftist government at this point in Latin America. So he is trying to push the other left-wing governments to adopt his vision about Latin America, his ideals about the Revolution Bolivariana and try to conform a more political unity within the region in order to confront the United States, in what has been called the anti-imperialist policy in the region. So Chavez, he is very active, he is very radical, he is very popular, among very important social sectors in Latin America, and he has the conviction, and I will say the charisma to push the Left, to force the Left to go beyond its own limits.

And he has the money also to do that?

And he has the money, and he has the money to give loans, to offer different kind of projects of cooperation. And money is important, and money is important to support his government, to feel confident with the economic situation, and also is important to promote cooperation with other governments in Latin America, so he is a very important figure, political figure in the region right now.

Can we speak about an  axis of Chavez? Axis of Chavez, putting Chavez, and then Morales and Correa and the other people?

They share a lot of things. They share a lot of conceptions about the politics in Latin America. They share for example a critique of neo-liberalism in Latin America, they believe that neo-liberalism is the cause of poverty, of instability, of dissatisfaction with democracy, they do not believe in liberal democracy, they believe in popular democracy, if we can use that concept, they believe in nationalism, and that believing in nationalism means that they have an external politic, against the United States, at least they have a discourse against the United States. So they share a lot of things, and in some of these fields they act together, but I will say that at the same time they represent their national history. Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador are very different, in many ways, so the process, the national process in each of these countries have different meanings, have different actors and of course it has different consequences and different objectives at the same time.

What is the role of the indigenous people in this process? It looks like the indigenous people are getting involved more and more in the last decades.

Well, I will say that at least in Ecuador and in Bolivia, it is very difficult to understand what is going on in Ecuador and in Bolivia, all these political changes and this new type of governments and presidents that we have at this moment, it will be difficult to think of this process without the influence of the indigenous movement. In the case of Ecuador, the indigenous movement was very strong during the 90s with a huge capacity to mobilize the indigenous communities, to criticize the state, the national state, they denounced the national state as an instrument of domination of the white elite. So they question many things about the history of Ecuador, about the identity of Ecuador, about the politics of Ecuador, that in many ways, we can say, they change the whole scenario to make possible a government like the one of Coreo, and in Bolivia you have more or less the same process. Even, but with some difference between Bolivia and Ecuador. In  Bolivia I will say at this time the indigenous movements are more organized, they are more mobilized, than what we see now in Ecuador, although the political process that is living now in Bolivia with Morales is much more connected with the dynamics of the indigenous movement than what is occurring and happening right now in Ecuador. The indigenous movement in Ecuador was part of the government, of the last government, it was an important ally of Lucio Gutieres, and that was the cause of a huge political crisis within the movement. But with no doubt what we are living now, at least in Equador and Bolivia, is the result of this activation of the indigenous conflicts in the last years.

Besides the indigenous people, do we have a kind of pop participation, popular participation in the political process?

There is a lot of small groups, trying to organize themselves in order to participate in the Assemblea Constituente. I do not know how broad is this process, I will say that, I will prefer to say that this is a process concentrate specially in Quito, maybe in Weinki, maybe in Quenka, in these 3 big cities of the country, but I wont say is a general process in the country. What we have seen in the last years is a kind of appearance of many small groups trying to vindicate the idea of new forms of citizenship. They are participating, or trying to participate in this political process beyond this idea of citizenship.  But I do not, I am not sure that is a general, that is a process that is happening all around the country. I will say it is a process very localized in the big cities and in particular in Quito. So what we see right now with the government of Coreo is more a phenomenon, like, I will prefer to define the government of Coreo as a populist government, as a populist movement. With a very important leader in the head, that organizes all these new process. But I do not think that is a process that is coming from the social movements, from the popular sectors. Despite the fact that Coreo was elected because of, as they say, because of different social and political organization being together and support him.

How was Correa elected, because he had not his own political I mean solid political base?

He was elected, he was elected because of many reasons I will say. In part because he is a strong, young, political leader. In part because he had a campaign in which he confront all the political parties, so he appear as the, a clean politic. And he also represent the social critique to what has been to the last 2 decades, the neo-liberal program dominant in Ecuador and general in Latin America. So he had a very strong position against political parties, against economic elites, against the neo-liberalist program, and I think those were the main reasons that explain why he was elected president. But we have to understand that Equador has been living in the last years, in the last 10 years a process of political instability. So he is part of this process of political instability and he represents at this time the possibility to put an end to all this process of instability. So he represents in a certain way a rupture with the past, with the recent past of the political history of Ecuador. 

It looks like this new trend we are talking about it is also the rejection of the neo-liberalism, as you have said. The point, the turning point was the crisis in Argentina, don't you think? I mean the collapse of Argentina 5-6 years ago?

I do not know, we can mention many episodes, important episodes in  different countries of Latin America that can represent that moment , that moment  in which Latin America to conscious the difficulties and the envianvility/envialism of the neo-liberal program. In the case of Ecuador, it is a crisis that has been present in the country, as I said, in the last 10 years. We have not been able to come to an agreement, a national agreement around an economic model, so we have been struggling between neo-liberalism and other forms of political, economic policy, and I think that was in general the scenario of Latin America. In this, and I would say that Chavez in this topic, is a turning point, he is a turning point, because he assume, with all decision, with a very strong decision the change of the political, of the economic policy in Venezuela. So in that sense he has influenced a lot Latin America. It looks like one of the new phenomenon is the kind of, you know,  fighting against, or rejecting the policies of the World Bank and the IMF.

Well, this is part of the agenda against the neo-liberal program. Because we are accepted at this point that the FMI and the World Bank were part of this economic policy, they push this economic policy and they were a central instrument of the neo-liberalism in Latin America. And I think that scenario is also changing in America Latina. I will say that at this time it is difficult to find any country that has some agreement with the FMI to put in practice the economic recommendation of the FMI. So when we start our conversation I was telling you that Latin America is trying to define its own economic model, and part of the finding its own economic model is to reject the influence of the IMF and also I will say the influence of the World Bank. So the struggle to define a new economic model has as a central element the recovery of the sovereignty and the definition of our economic policy. That is why some of the representatives of the World Bank and the IMF have been overthrown from different countries.

You think this was justified for the case of Correa and Ecuador?

I think that was extreme decision, unnecessary, unnecessary. You can be polite and at the same time radical. I mean you can stop the influence of the World Bank in the country, you will not accept  the loans, you will not accept all the adjustment programs, being at the same time polite, it was not necessary from my point of view to overthrow him, to kick him of Ecuador, it was not necessary. But those are the kind of decisions that these left-wing governments like to take, in order to reaffirm this idea of sovereignty, and national identity and nationalism in the new political scenario.

What is the role, the debt, the foreign debt paid in the past? I mean was it an instrument of political manipulation?

Well, was the instrument through which the IMF and the developed countries influence the definition of the economic policy in Latin America. Specially during the 80s. We had, all the countries had a huge foreign debt, we have many problems to pay that foreign debt, so the answer to those problems were all these economic policies trying to adjust the public sector in order to generate the resources to pay that foreign debt. So, that is part of a dramatic economic history of Latin America in the last two decades. Specially the 80s were dramatic because of the recession, of the adjustment, of the struggles against inflation, a lot of things. But at this time I will say that the debt is not anymore a problem. We have overcome the problem of the external debt, and that is also one of the reasons why we can struggle to define our own path for development.

At the time you, in the 80s, how much of the budget did Ecuador have to pay for?

I do not remember exactly, but  I will say it was between 50 and 60% of its budget, national budget, so it was a  lot of money. Even though we renegotiated the debt, the amount of money that we have to pay every year was huge. So the only possibility that we had to pay that external debt was to implement this fiscal adjustment with a lot of social consequences. Inequality, poverty, marginalization of huge social sectors. So it was a problem, it was a problem.

And the adoption of the dollar as the national currency of Bolivia?

Well that dollarization has given us some economic stability. Equador during 10 years suffered from a permanent monetary crisis. So the national currency, the sucri was permanent devaluating against the dollar, so it was losing all the time its value. And what we have gained with dollarization is a horizon of monetary stability. We have been lucky during these last years because at the same time that we put in practice the dollarization the prices of the oil went up, so Ecuador had new revenues coming from its exports and also we have receive a lot of money from the millions of Ecuador s that have migrate specially to Europe. So those 2 different revenues, different ways of income have help us to support the dollarization. So far the dollarization has been a very interesting economic, specially monetary, model, that has give Ecuador a lot of stability.

And the alternative to this neo-liberal program that has been more or less rejected, is what to your idea, what kind of model is to be implemented?

Well, it is difficult to talk about a new model that will replace neo-liberalism, at least in most of the Latin Americas countries, when you see Brazil, when you see Chile, when you see Argentina, when you see Uruguay, when you see Ecuador you cannot say that the whole neo-liberal model has been replaced for a new model, we do not have a new model, still we do not have a new model, we are trying to develop a new model. But I will say that the main lines, the main characteristic of this new model should be a model that will equilibrate the market with the state, will equilibrate the politics of economic liberation, with protection of the national markets, will redefine the role of the state, this is very important, I will say probably this is the main debate right now in Latin America, what should be the role of the state in relation with the market, in relation with the social sectors, what will be the role of the state in order to produce new forms of development. So I will say that those are the main elements that should be considered in the new model. The role of the state, how to establish the relation between state and market, the role of the state in the social policy, and the role of the state in terms of its regulation and controls of the market.

And this new trend we have seen, can we say that it is kind of renovation of the old Bolivar idea?

Well the Left is always vindicating the idea of emancipation, of liberation, of national liberation in countries that have a very long colonial history. So figures like Bolivar, figures like, I do not know,  like Marti, I do not know, figures like Eloy Alfaro in the case of Ecuador, become icons of the struggle of the Left in order to produce what they say an emancipated society, a free society. So we look, we try to find all these icons in our national history, icons of liberation, icons of struggle, in order to make those new symbols of the struggle of the Left. So in a certain way we are using those symbols of the past to generate new process of mobilization with this idea of emancipation and liberation. That is a very strong feeling, and that is a very strong sentiment in Latin America. The Left still has the idea that we have to produce a final emancipation, a final liberation. A final national liberation and many social sectors, the excluded, the poor, believe, still believe very strongly in that ideal.


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