Thursday, 23 September 2010


"We will express it at all the forums, and we are going to
launch an international campaign with the Chiefs of State
and the social movements (against the Arizona law),"
Morales said

Bolivian President Evo Morales Tells Obama
‘Stop Deporting Immigrants’

NEW YORK – As heads of state gathered here to attend the United
Nations General Assembly, Bolivian President Evo Morales ended a
speech at Hunter College on Monday by calling on President Barack
Obama to stop “expelling” Latin American immigrants who are trying to
eke out a living.

“Here there’s a lot of talk about policies that aim to expel
immigrants,” he said. “There are deep asymmetries between countries,
between continents, so of course our brothers in Latin America come
here to improve their economic situation. But our brothers who come
to the U.S., to Europe, to survive, to reach a better station in
life, they are thrown out. What kind of policy is that?”

Morales’ message: “I call on President Obama to halt these policies
that aim to deport the Latin American people here, because we all
have the same rights.”

President Morales was at Hunter to promote his biography, recently
translated into English. But he closed his speech with a few select
words for the American president. “I was convinced a black man and an
indigenous man were going to work like a pair of oxen for the whole
world,” said the indigenous Morales. “It doesn’t make sense that one
discriminated party would discriminate against another.”

Morales’ biographer, Martin Sivak, spoke warmly of the Bolivian
President, with whom he traveled for two years to write, Evo Morales:
The Extraordinary Rise of the First Indigenous President of Bolivia.

Evo Morales was born to a poor indigenous family in the high plains
of Bolivia, and grew up to be a union organizer who represented coca
farmers. His rise to power was characterized by fierce opposition,
including detention and torture in Bolivia, and more recently,
ridicule abroad, where he has been called a puppet of Hugo Chavez.
His policies have sought to nationalize natural resources and basic
services, and The New York Times described his diplomatic
relationship with Washington as “tense.” In an 2009 article, the NYT
said it “might be the worst in the hemisphere, except for the one
with Cuba.”

His biographer described Morales’ political career and recounted
episodes which reveal the sense of humor of the man he chronicled. “I
heard him say to a waitress, ‘I would even drink poison from your
hands,’ after she asked him if he liked coffee or juice. I listened
to him lecture on the difference between llamas and people.”

At first, Sivak, a young man from Argentina, was exhausted by trying
to keep up with the Bolivian president’s rigorous schedule. “Morales
predicted I wouldn’t be able to handle the pace of his life as
president but that I should give it a try,” Sivak said:

“After the first week I had altitude sickness and I was hooked up to
an oxygen machine in a pharmacy in La Paz. The schedule, which
started at 5 o’clock in the morning and ended at 12 o’clock at night,
had included 22 airplanes and helicopters and more than 40 events in
places that do not appear on school maps. President Morales enjoyed
asking the pilots to do pirouettes because he knows how scared I am
of small planes.”

In a more serious tone, Sivak said Morales’ landslide victory (64% of
the vote) in the last presidential election “deserved a more complex
read” than the one it earned from critics of the Bolivian regime, who
said it stemmed simply from Morales’ support base in the indigenous
community, which makes up more than 60 percent of the population.

Sivak said, “I was deeply moved with what I saw in these years [...]
The decline of power of the old elites that ruled the country for so
many years and the resurgence of the poor majorities.” He urged
people in the U.S. to view Morales as a leader in his own right–more
than just an extension of Chavez who has “emotional ties” to the
indigenous community.

Bolivian president asks Obama to reject
controversial immigration law

LA PAZ, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Bolivia's President Evo Morales Thursday
asked U.S. President Barack Obama to reject a U.S. immigration law
because it discriminates against Latin Americans.

In a letter to Obama, Morales warned the U.S. president against the
consequences of the immigration law adopted by the U.S. state of
Arizona in April.

Morales said the United States is a country of immigrants, who
contributed to its development and economic power.

He also urged Obama, the first African-American U.S. president, to
avoid past historical mistakes like racial segregation or slavery in
the United States.

"We will express it at all the forums, and we are going to launch an
international campaign with the Chiefs of State and the social
movements(against the Arizona law)," Morales said.

The Arizona law makes it a crime to stay in the United States
illegally and empowers local law enforcement to check the immigration
status of people suspected of staying in the country illegally. It
also creates misdemeanor crimes for harboring and transporting
illegal immigrants.

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