Juan Evo Morales Ayma has been President of Bolivia since 2006. Born in a mining village in Bolivia's western Oruro department, Morales claims to be the country's first fully indigenous head of state. He is the leader of the Bolivian political party "Movimiento al Socialismo," which goes by the Spanish acronym MAS. The group's aims include transferring more power to the country's indigenous and poor communities, and when Morales took office he pledge to reduce poverty, ease restrictions on coca farmers, re-nationalize the country's energy sector, fight corruption, and increase taxes on the wealthy. He was elected to a second term in January, 2009 with a 63% majority.
Question: You have said that you want the world to build a global communitarian socialism and end war. Given human nature, is this really possible?
Evo Morales: Sooner or later we will reach a point where communitarian socialism turns global because capitalism is not even the solution to capitalism itself. Capitalism is destroying Mother Earth, and to destroy Mother Earth is to destroy humanity.
In Latin America, in the past, it was almost impossible to guarantee democracy. There were military dictatorships, and nowadays there are not so many military dictatorships. Although we have a dictator in Honduras, as a result of a coup, now as a president, he is almost the only one I would say. But again led or managed, gestated by the U.S. government.
I was told one thing: Throughout Latin America there has been military dictatorships. The only place where there has not been a coup ever, that's the U.S., because there is no U.S. ambassador in the U.S. As there are U.S. ambassadors all over Latin America, it's the ambassadors the ones that organize those coups, military coups.
And now we are immersed in deep democratic revolutions, for the recovery of our resources, and to transform a resource into a basic human right. And that is spread around the world. Of course, there will be neither capitalist governments nor capitalist court precedents that will make changes to seek equality and justice.
I'm still convinced. We all fight for freedom, but the foundation of freedom is equality and justice. And we are all on the road. And if governments do not ensure that, the peoples through their own efforts will ensure these changes, what we call communitarian socialism. Why communitarian socialism? Now not only do we have the pursuit of happiness for man, as a government, as a program or as our principles. But as well to live in harmony with Mother Earth.
Again we see how capitalism is destroying Mother Earth. I remain convinced that the Earth can exist without man but man cannot live without the Earth, without the Mother Earth. What is more important to defend: the right of man or the rights of the Mother Earth? In this new millennium it is more important to defend the rights of the Mother Earth to guarantee human rights.
These are our deepest differences, even with a simple left, with a single socialism. We are aiming firstly for the defense of Mother Earth, to protect life, to ensure humanity. That is what we call communitarian socialism. That is what I would like to be in the world. To what pretext does the U.S. invade the world? National security. We're not just national security. We stand for global security and so we take care of everyone's life.
To talk only about national security, national defense, means to be selfish, ambitious. It is discrimination, isolation. "It is just me. What do I care about others?" We share our deepest differences. That is under discussion and will continue to be debated.
Of course, it will not only be Evo Morales who resolves this. And my duty, temporarily as president, is to guide, discuss with them so that the peoples of the world realize the damage that capitalism causes. The solution, is it capitalism, or is it communitarian socialism? Of course this is an initiative, which will continue to be debated.
Recorded September 22, 2010
Interviewed by David Hirschman