February 14, 2016
Morales says Bolivia is finally a sovereign country, and asks citizens to vote to keep it that way.
With only a week to go until Bolivia’s referendum, President Evo Morales made a special plea to Bolivians to vote with good conscious and do what’s best for the country.
Bolivians will go to the polls Feb. 21 to vote on whether to increase presidential consecutive term limits to three. This will determine if Morales can run for re-election 2019.
During the closing campaign for the referendum in Cochabamba on Saturday, the Indigenous president said those who support the “No” campaign are those who support the opposition, their policies of privatization of public resources, and global market interests.
Those who support the “Yes” campaign, continued Morales, are the same Bolivians who support the people, who are “organized, liberated and who are advancing in the development process” of the country.
The president also reminded citizens that Bolivia is an autonomous country and no longer depends on the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund for financial support, which he says helped cripple the economy and create massive inequality in the past.
“Our economic situation has changed, politically we are in a struggle and resistance. We must merge Bolivia with the people and with a Constituent Assembly, not to the American Embassy. We have economic sovereignty, and we are released after 190 years” of being under control of foreign governments and organizations, said Morales.
The president’s comments come after several attempts by the “No” campaign to discredit Morales, and has left many to claim that the “No” campaign has been funded by the United States, which has generally had a tense relationship with Morales and his anti-corporate and anti-neoliberal policies.
Thursday, Argentine political analyst Atilio Boron said “according to informed sources” that the U.S. Embassy provided $200,000 for the “No” campaign in Bolivia. He revealed this information via an opinion piece published in Mexican newspaper La Jornada.
Boron also said this is not the first time that the U.S. has intervened financially in Bolivian affairs. Between 2003 and 2014, the National Endowment for Democracy, or NED, spent over US$7.7 million to fund nearly 20 institutions in Bolivia, all of which contained political objectives, said Boron.
The Argentine analyst added that the referendum “will be the Bolivian people against the US empire. That is going to be a struggle.”