“Diversity is the defining trait of our identity” says Evo Morales at online event

Summary of our online dialogue with the first indigenous President of Bolivia in the framework of "Voices from the periphery"

News / 21.8.20

“We have so much diversity, diversity is our best asset, and defining trait of our identity and dignity” said Evo Morales, the first indigenous President of Bolivia, during the first Voices from the Periphery online dialogue moderated by Ana Miranda, of the European Free Alliance, and Ana Ponton, political leader and member of our partner Fundación Galiza Sempre.

“We believe in democracy and a culture of peace” he added. “There are some that won’t accept that, that won’t accept our diversity. We advocate for a multi national continent, yet some even contest the diversity of our country.”

For Evo Morales, cultural diversity goes hand in hand with a fight for fairer societies. “We’ve shown that another society is possible, we’ve reduced poverty and inequalities […] and we’ve done so without compromising economic growth and with social and political stability […] We fight for individual and human rights but also for collective rights. Access to electricity is a constitutional right for everyone, as a collective […]  for us basic social services, like access to health, are also human rights because life is not a commodity you can trade with.”

This principle, together with regaining control of industries and national resources and redistribution of the country’s wealth, were the pillars for the constitutional reform led by President Morales, a reform that faced strong opposition from the traditionally privileged elites. “The ruling minority of colonial times refused to give up their privileges […] the debate lasted for three long years but we prevailed and won the democratic battle thanks to the support of the people”.

To finalise, he acknowledged mistakes in his administration – “while we have not been able to ensure zero corruption, what we have been able to ensure is zero tolerance towards all the cases we’ve known of ” – and communications. On this last point, he believes he should have invested more into trying to get his message across on his message despite the main media being controlled by economic powers against the changes in his program. “Media and communications should be more emotional, educational and effective. Media should be transformative of our societies and should help us protect our rights […] we need an in depth debate in our media outlets and social media to ensure they contribute to our societies and defend the values of life, equality, sovereignty and our identity. This has to be the foundation of any media outlet”.

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Voices from the periphery is a joint initiative of Fundacion Galiza Sempre and Coppieters Foundation.

This series of conversations is financially supported by the European Parliament. The European Parliament is not liable for the content of the discussions nor the opinions expressed by the experts during these exchanges.

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Header picture by Alain Bachellier under flickr creative commons license

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