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Friday, December 18, 2009

Evo Morales: Trillions for war, peanuts to save the planet


Below is the transcript from US radio show Democracy Now! of Bolivian President Evo Morales’s December 16 speech to the United Nations climate change summit at Copenhagen.

In a press conference on December 16, Bolivia's President Evo Morales said: “The budget of the United States is US$687 billion for defence. And for climate change, to save life, to save humanity, they only put up $10 billion. This is shameful.”

AMY GOODMAN: As we wrap up today's broadcast with a leader from another side of the world, from Latin America, we’re going to turn right now to Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, who, just a few minutes ago, finished a speech in the next room. He just recently arrived here in Copenhagen. The Bolivian President Morales.

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] And if we don’t — and I repeat this — we’re going to end our lives, all of us. So, as with the last country and with our black and indigenous brothers who were treated as slaves, and their rights were not recognised, now, today, too, our Mother Earth, she is treated as if she were a thing without life, as if she didn’t have rights.

The second climate debt is the use of atmospheric space by the developed countries. It’s not possible that atmospheric space be the exclusive property of just a few countries for their development, that the countries that are irrationally industrialised have taken over, with their greenhouse gases, the atmospheric space.

To pay this debt, they should reduce their emissions and absorb their greenhouse gases in a way that there exists a fair distribution of atmospheric space between all of the countries, taking into consideration their population, because the countries that are on the path of development need atmospheric space for their development.

The third component of climate debt is the paying of reparations, reparations for damages that have been created by the irrationally industrialised countries. For humanity together, it’s shameful that the Western countries have only offered $10 billion for climate change. I was looking at some figures.

The United States—how much does the United States spend to export terrorism to Afghanistan, to export terrorism to Iraq, and to export military bases to South America? They don’t only spend millions, but billions and trillions. I hope our figures are not wrong. For example, Obama, he asked his Congress for $40 billion more than what has already been spent. The budget of the United States is $687 billion for defence. And for climate change, to save life, to save humanity, they only put up $10 billion. This is shameful.

The budget for the Iraq war, according to the figures we have, is $2.6 trillion for the Iraq war, to go kill in Iraq. Trillions of dollars. But directed towards paying the climate debt, $10 billion.

This is completely unfair.

These are our deep observations of what’s going on. That’s why—for the war, while trillions are going to the wars, on the other hand, to save humanity and the planet, they only want to direct $10 billion.

The rich countries should take in all of the migrants who will be generated by climate change or affected by climate change. I think our brothers from Africa, our indigenous brothers from [inaudible], have a lot of moral authority. We have been invaded, supposedly discovered in Africa or Latin America, when in reality it was an invasion and plundering of indigenous peoples.

Therefore, now, in the face of the asymmetries between continents, our brothers come looking for work, and they’re kicked out of Europe, they’re kicked out of the United States. But our grandparents never kicked anyone out, and our brothers and sisters don’t come here to take hectares of land or mines.

They only come to improve their economic situation. Moreover, when they’re affected by this climate change, how is it possible they would be expulsed from Europe when they are climate refugees?

How is it possible that our brothers and sisters are not taken under and protected?

That’s why—therefore, our protest in the face of this discrimination to expulse immigrants, when we have never kicked immigrants out, we’ve never sent them home.

From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #821 9 December 2009.

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