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July 22, 2007

Live from Santa Cruz, Bolivia

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom's 29th Triennial Congress just began. First, there were introductions. Keynote Speaker, Paola Pena just began speaking. She is a historian and a defender of women's rights.

Women have to give the light...and we have to commit ourselves to this fight...We have a big movement...It's not casual to have this movement. This movement has realized how international cooperation, activist women and men, the world is starting to have challenges...just because of the economic policies that are trying to divide us. ..The World Women's March.. women have said that it is time to ask those who are placing economic restrictions..the challenges for women are poverty and violence...That's why the different movements are questioning. Another movement at the international level are the cry of those who are being excluded. Why are the budgets more geared to military, to arms? Why spend more on that when have millions and millions who are suffering?

We have the example of the Social Forum held recently in Sao Paolo, Brazil to show us the way forward...to take on the capitalists who take and take without giving anything in return. ...We believe that Latin America has emerged with many answers, with many challenges, but it's not easy. We have to see that the fights that we have experienced that it is time for women, basically i say this because of experience, that women have to be more open to the world. Many of our problems are between ourselves. And that's when people take over our economic resources, who give orders, who we have to fight with. If we see the context at the international level and at the Latin American level, we have advances that are important to pick up.

At this time, Latin America has presidents with other points of view. We have Nicaragua, Venezula, Bolivia.. to a certain extent the presidents of Argentina and Ecuador are also picking up the feeling of Latin American change. But we cannot stop mentioning the historical fight of the people of Cuba...

I believe that experiences have to be picked up...We have to come together based on the national symbols, like the cantuta?...and that's where we go to see the context of what our representative said. We're going through a very exciting moment but also a moment of contrasts. Bolivia, to understand what it is happening - the Bolivian crisis that we're going through will be a historical moment in the future. The crisis that we're going through has to do with economic, social, political interests. Because Bolivia is a very rich country. Many of you who have come here have to ask why is there such poverty in Bolivia? Because it is such a rich country - full of gas, water, ....However, the errors are built by men and women and those who have the economic power. The world already knows who decides upon our life and continue to do so are those who have the money, the economic power. The result is misery, that is mistakenly called the "feminization of poverty." Do you think women are so stupid that they cannot have the answers?

...Women, sisters, and brothers, throughout the world I believe we show the path. In Bolivia, women have played a very important role. That's where we can see that in Bolivia and throughout the world, the relationship between men and women is much better. And who shows the face is the women.

Ask yourself, is Bolivia having a challenge - between departments, between individuals, between classes....We are not building islands. Bolivia has a context. We have rich departments with natural resources such as gas, oil. Evidently this will define the obtaining of more funds. On the other hand, the vision of the country is to give everyone the chance.

When we talk about peace and freedom - we want a better world, a just world. Bolivia wants more equality, we want to share with those who have more and who have less.

..We wanted to have a country where geography was the same, where resources was the same. But we have diversity. We have more resources in some departments, but that doesn't mean we'll be divided.

..Today it seems that we have a challenge. Bolivian men and women voted for a change - we did not vote for the person himself, we voted for a change. ...Not long ago, Bolivians did not know how to work with budgets, we have knowledge that we have to pick up.

I do not support any political party.

...Bolivia is working towards a new constitution....we believe it is time to make some changes. On the other hand, we can see that as never before the policies with the current government show us that there are resources coming in. Something that we did not know about before. That type of resources that come because of gas and oil sales....We are now getting that money - Bolivia had never seen a 5 year old child receiving support for the educational process. We believe this is very directly related to the Millenium Goals that tell us by 2015 we will eradicate poverty...It is nice to pick up these recommendations given by the United Naitons...Here in Boliva, we believe that we have found some surprises. That the country was receiving some income and that income was taken by a few individuals. We working to redistribute that money....

Women have more representation and more participation..

Bolivia is a country of many different cultures. That's why we say it is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic countries. We not only speak Quecha and Mayari (?) How can we reach all these people who speak different languages? In recent years, social movements have increased. And we believe that indigenous people's lives have improved....We have to learn from them. ...We have to learn from their innate connection to indigenous people around the world. ..

...This is the struggle between the guidelines of the economy of this country. And finally, it's the fight of different fronts to take advantages of the resouces because of the availability and that's why we want to recognize that yes, it is possible to suffer, to wait. But it is also possible for peace and freedom. We are able to make our limitations our potentialities. It is very easy to mention - it is easy to say "Bolivia will have a confrontation." We think that Bolivia has not been divided. Bolivia is struggling, but that's very good because the struggling will reaffirm. We'll see where we're making mistakes. The error is to rebuild. It is easy to criticize. It is easy to destroy....Bolivia is a unitied country. However, when the economic interests are divided, that is where there will be struggle. We are fighting the free trade treaty.

I know my time is almost over. But I'd like to thank the people who came to have a dialogue, to have a discussion. We as Bolivians do not want to receive gifts; we want to build solidarity; we want to have peace and freedom.....Thank you friends.

Posted by cj at July 22, 2007 6:33 AM


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