Speech by Bolivia President Luis Arce at the XXI ALBA-TCP Summit (May 27, 2022)

President Luis Arce at the XXI ALBA-TCP Summit
 
May 27, 2022
 
Thank you very much Díaz Canel, President of the Republic of Cuba, to this XXI ALBA-TCP Summit.
 
I also greet our brother Nicolás Maduro, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
 
I also greet brother Ralph Gonzales, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
 
I also greet, through the social networks, Commander Daniel Ortega, who is also participating virtually in this meeting.
 
To all ministers, representatives of the ALBA-TCP governments.
 
I would like to start by mentioning that today is a special day in Bolivia, today, May 27, in Bolivia, we celebrate Mother’s Day and I would like to take advantage of all the media to congratulate all the devoted Bolivian mothers, Bolivian mothers like many in Latin America … Carrying on with their homes, special greetings of course to my mother who, surely, must be watching me through this channel.
 
Unfortunately, work does not allow me to be with something that a person has, which is very valuable, which is one’s mother.
 
On behalf of the brave and heroic Bolivian people, and of our Plurinational State of Bolivia, Abya Yala, our Patria Grande, from Alaska to Patagonia, without exclusions of any kind.
 
And I also wish to send our message as a people in revolution to the Latin American and Caribbean peoples who are part of ALBA-TCP, an alliance for life, brotherhood, solidarity, integration, cooperation and peace among our peoples.
 
I would not like to continue my speech at this Summit without first expressing, on behalf of the Bolivian people and our national government, all our solidarity with the brotherly people of Cuba in the face of the tragedy that occurred at the Saratoga Hotel in Havana. To express once again our sincere condolences to the families of the victims. We accompany them in their grief.
 
I send a great greeting to the brotherly Ecuadorian people on the occasion of the commemoration, on May 24, of the bicentennial of the Battle of Pichincha, in which libertarian forces, commanded by Marshal Antonio José de Sucre, defeated the Spanish armies, opening the way to the liberation of Quito and its provinces, and the formation of the Republic of Ecuador.
 
On May 25, in the department of Chuquisaca, in our Plurinational State of Bolivia, we commemorate the 213th anniversary of the First Liberation Cry in America, and pay tribute to the heroes of this great revolutionary deed that radiated the desire for independence of the people from the Spanish yoke.
 
These libertarian ideals, which arose from the deepest subjectivity of our peoples in opposition to the colonial devices installed and applied by the Spanish crown to dominate us, are still alive and kicking and illuminating our Patria Grande against -what Commander Fidel Castro called- the most powerful imperialism humanity has ever known.
 
Sisters and brothers, the XXI ALBA-TCP Summit brings us together at a moment of singular importance for humanity and for Our America.
 
The Plurinational State of Bolivia observes with concern the development of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, while rejecting the lack of dialogue, the provocative acts of the United States and the covert moves of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – NATO, the unilateral sanctions and threats with which third parties have tried to involve these two countries in order to unleash a confrontation on a global scale.
 
Bolivia is a pacifist country, we promote a culture of peace and firmly believe in the peaceful settlement of disputes, appealing to dialogue, diplomacy and understanding among nations and peoples of the world. In this context, we ratify our firm commitment to international law, multilateralism and the Charter of the United Nations.
 
We urge the United Nations to redouble its efforts to bring the parties in conflict to the table, to open a space for dialogue to restore world peace, to expose those who are betting on the prolongation of war as a means to revive their economies in crisis, and to denounce those who seek to deepen the food crisis for the benefit of a few.
 
We need a new world order, truly democratic, just, with a balance of power and without hegemonism, with full respect for the principles of self-determination of peoples and non-interference in internal affairs, and with world peace based on mutual respect and the recognition of political, economic, social and cultural pluralism.
 
We also call for dialogue and respect for plurality in the context of the American nations. As is public knowledge, the IX edition of the Summit of the Americas will be held in the city of Los Angeles, in the United States, and we are concerned that its convocation ignores the full diversity that, far from making us weak, should be our strength as a continent.
 
The first versions of the Summits of the Americas, in the 1990s, took place at the height of neoliberal capitalism in the continent. These meetings, since the beginning of the 21st century, had the characteristic of being spaces for debate, reflection and exchange, always with the aim of strengthening democracy, in its broadest sense and not only liberal, and to accommodate all governments and peoples that promote multidimensional and multidirectional integration.
 
The arbitrary decision of the United States to exclude Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela from the American conclave, under the excuse that their governments “do not respect the Democratic Charter of the Americas”, has only weakened the institutionality of the aforementioned regional forum, which is about to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
 
Washington’s veto shows that, despite the rhetoric in favor of democracy and human rights, there is no real will in the authorities of that country to change its hostile policy towards governments that do not worthily subordinate themselves to its interests. Cuba has been a victim of this hostility for six decades and, today, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Nicaragua are also suffering the consequences of having sovereignly chosen a different path from the one laid out by the White House. 
 
We can in fact say that the United States resorts to any type of instrument to sanction countries that decide to follow a different path from that of its mandates, as happened when it unilaterally withdrew Bolivia’s access to tariff preferences, despite the fact that we have complied with our commitments to the international community to fight drug trafficking.
 
From the Plurinational State of Bolivia, consistent with the principles of our Political Constitution of the State and the People’s Diplomacy, we strongly reject the exclusion of brotherly peoples from the IX Summit of the Americas and I reiterate my decision not to attend this meeting until all governments of the countries of the Americas are invited, and in conditions of full hierarchical equality and participation.
 
No country can arrogate to itself the right to decide who is or is not part of our American continent! And neither can any international organization, such as the Organization of American States (OAS), serve solely and exclusively the hegemonic interests of a single nation.
 
Likewise, we demand the cessation of all forms of hostility against the peoples of Our America. The policies of sanctions, embargoes and blockades have only brought suffering and unrest to our peoples, especially to the poorest, and their effects have been accentuated in the context of the pandemic. It is high time that the Government of the United States put an end to the senseless and criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, as well as to the more than 500 unilateral coercive sanctions imposed on Venezuela and Nicaragua. With blockades and sanctions it will never be possible to build a sustainable, resilient and equitable future in the Hemisphere, as proposed by the next Summit of the Americas!
The resolution approved by CELAC in 2014, at a presidential summit held in this very city, declaring Latin America and the Caribbean as a territory of peace, has never been more valid than now. And I am sure that there will be no opposition in extending, at this moment and from this place, that desire to the whole world.
 
The United States and other allied powers can no longer continue with the double standard of activating war plans and unilateral extraterritorial sanctions to deal with the current military crisis in Eastern Europe, not to mention the multiple effects of military interventions that, in the name of democracy, freedom and human rights, are being carried out in the name of democracy, freedom and human rights, freedom and human rights, against Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Libya (2011), and Syria (2018), and what happened, to cite just a few examples, against Guatemala (1954), the Dominican Republic (1965), Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989), or what the people of Palestine are suffering day by day.
 
This is a reflection that as an international community we must make ourselves, all wars must hurt us, move us in the same way, being coherent and acting under the conviction that it is not the same war but peace that should govern international relations, a peace based on social justice for all peoples of the world.
 
A sustainable future for Our America will depend, to a large extent, on our ability to unite to face the great challenges facing humanity: poverty, hunger, economic and social inequalities, the accumulation of wealth in few hands, the great gaps between rich and poor caused by a system that prioritizes the production and reproduction of capital, rather than the production and reproduction of life, and which is also generating an environmental collapse with no return.
 
These major challenges also include those related to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, aggravated by the insensitivity of an international system subordinated to the interests of the so-called “developed countries” and the large transnational corporations.
 
Although COVID-19 cases and deaths in our continent have decreased considerably in recent months, more than half a million cases per week continue to be reported, including cases of the Omicron variant, particularly in North America and the Caribbean, an unmistakable sign that we cannot lower our guard in the face of the pandemic.
 
Our eyes and our efforts must be directed, as a matter of priority, to the 240 million people in the region who have not yet received a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This means that, far from relaxing, we must double our efforts and achieve a more equitable and timely distribution of vaccines.
 
Within the framework of the ALBA-TCP Post-Pandemic Work Plan, Bolivia will continue to support solidarity, promoting, in coordination with the rest of the countries of the bloc, all the necessary measures to support those nations that have not been able to have adequate access to vaccines.
 
Sisters and brothers of ALBA-TCP, today more than ever Our America, the one about which the most universal of all Cubans, José Martí, wrote so wonderfully, must be consolidated as a territory of peace and free of nuclear weapons, where respect for the sovereignty, dignity and self-determination of the peoples, as well as solidarity, complementarity and fraternal dialogue – in our similarities and differences – continue to be an essential part of the relationship between nations.
 
Therefore, we condemn that the unity of our Patria Grande continues to be threatened by policies of divisionism, discrimination, exclusion, destabilization and confrontation, promoted by those who continue to see us as their “backyard”, as a territory of dispute for our natural resources, as colonies where to install military bases and as a testing ground for old and new forms of coups d’état, which our peoples pay for with their lives.
 
However, as the Liberator Simón Bolívar rightly said in his Letter of Jamaica: “Unity will not come to us by divine prodigies, but by sensitive effects and well-directed efforts”; and those efforts we must continue to direct them effectively to the strengthening of spaces such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States – CELAC, the ALBA- TCP, as well as the resurgence of the Union of South American Nations – UNASUR; spaces that are founded on an integration for the welfare of the peoples, not of an integration for the domination and plundering of the peoples.

In this sense, from ALBA, an alliance that has resisted and will continue to resist all imperialist attacks, we walk firmly together with the workers’ and indigenous native peasant movement, as the vanguard of our revolutions, and together with the women and men who, with dignity despite their class origin, are committed to the noble causes of the peoples. We ratify our unwavering commitment to this articulated, plural and diverse unity, with the emancipatory project and social justice demanded by our peoples.
 
Finally, we would like to highlight the joint work of our countries in the Executive Secretariat of ALBA – TCP, which under the leadership of our brother Sacha Llorenti, has made a significant effort to fulfill our Work Plan 2022, embodied in concrete actions that are being implemented for the benefit of the entire Alliance.
 
We encourage the continuation of this route, joining efforts to consolidate Latin American and Caribbean unity, and to advance towards the Living Well of the peoples.
 
Thank you very much.
 
Long live the dignity and sovereignty of the peoples!
Long live ALBA-TCP!
Long live Our America!

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