In Bolivia, we are experts in the impossible

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“We believe that the World People’s Conference in Cochabamba will raise world consciousness and mobilize the consciousness of the peoples of the planet”

by Ballivian Eliana
Los Tiempos, April 11, 2010

(Los Tiempos is the largest circulation newspaper in Cochabamba, Bolivia)

The questions were asked by Juan Pablo Guzman, Vice Foreign Minister: “Will the number of heads of State who participate in the Conference weaken the upcoming XVI International Conference on Climate Change to be held in Mexico in December?… We aren’t going there to negotiate anything. We aren’t going to be carrying out negotiations. It is simply a space where governments can explain their position on climate change. We don’t apply violence, we apply the force of reason.

The governments that will participate are those most committed to this issue, and this will advance clarification which will help influence what the sensible positions are to be taken in Mexico.

The purpose of the current Conference in Cochabamba is to raise consciousness that things are not going well. Just as it happened in Bolivia, change comes because people want change and people want change when they become conscious that things are not going well.

We believe that the World People’s Conference in Cochabamba will raise world consciousness and mobilize the consciousness of the peoples of the planet because 120 countries are coming here to understand more and come together so that seed will spread throughout the planet. The people from each of these countries in attendance will be able to demand changes from their governments, which is the major reason they are here, to take information and experiences back to their countries and have influence.

The challenge is the capitalist model is more entrenched in other countries than in Bolivia. Is it too intense to have influence on the consciousness that can be generated from this Conference?

I must say, we are never defeated in advance. Maybe 10 years ago if we had wondered whether or not our process of change could happen in Bolivia, it would have seemed impossible.

In Bolivia consciousness has advanced enormously, as demonstrated by the last two elections. People don’t vote for privilege amongst themselves but for honesty, they vote real change.

We believe that this consciousness is growing worldwide. This movement is happening among all peoples of the planet and popular consciousness is beginning to rebel, to understand and to get informed. The people are understanding and beginning to demand changes from their governments.

Making this change happen will be an important result of this Conference. This is the priority on the Conference.

Do you think the world referendum Bolivia is demanding to be proposed will replace the exiting system of production? Will it get much support amongst nations?

It is important to understand a world referendum requires that many people in the world believe and understand what is happening with climate change and have a new consciousness that there needs to be a world referendum.

The destruction or reclamation of the health of mother earth doesn’t necessarily have to be something that is decided among governments. With small meetings called summits where five, six or seven countries come together and decide on a new path then all of us on planet earth are and will be affected.

Simply, we believe that human beings have the right to express themselves and change this situation through peaceful means, with an honest voting system and democracy.

We also believe that nature has rights which is why we have proposed the rights of Mother Earth and of animals, plants, of everything that is alive. They also have the right to continue to live and to not be destroyed by the ambitions of some nations that want to produce just to produce, consume just to consume, consume fundamentally to generate profit. They are already rich countries, but they want to be richer, and for that they want to continue to produce and damage the world.

There are groups that know their ideology is destroying life but have no interest in changing. This is an important problem.

The conciousness that is developing among peoples may not have been given at birth but can and will develop. When peoples begin to be concerned and begin to try to understand the problems, they decide to make changes.

We have faith that, as in Bolivia, this consciousness will emerge. Which is why we are holding this Conference, to ensure the great mobilization of worldwide consciousness that will allow us to change the situation. Planet Earth will only be saved to the degree that the peoples of the world decide to save it, not the governments but the peoples.

And when the peoples decide to change the pattern of consumerism, of production, and live in harmony with nature, and we believe that this change will happen, but we don’t know when, but we do believe and we are on that path.

We have demonstrated with the President (Evo Morales) that we are experts in the impossible, it was impossible that we would win the election with 52%, noone has won that before, everyone believed it was impossible, and we did it in the election.

This Conference is being organized in the midst of a crisis being suffered not only in Cochabamba but in the whole country, and we know many countries are sitting in their own garbage. Do you think this issue will be covered by the working groups?

We are holding the Conference unafraid to face all problems. We know we have local problems and of course we are going to face them. But we are going to face them with unity, we are sharing ideas because we debate them, we dialogue, and we arrive at understandings.

We know that the problems of climate change will not be solved tomorrow, but we know we have to begin to change things now, and part of this process, as it pertains to climate change both internationally and nationally, is to sit down to dialogue and debate what are we doing well and what are we doing wrong to attain living well in harmony with nature, to end poverty and respecting Mother Earth.

Glaciers at risk due to rising temperatures this is a fact. One of the questions that several industrialized nations that participated in the Copenhagen Summit last year want to make official in Mexico later this year is their goal of allowing temperature to rise “only” two degrees due to the greenhouse effect, even though the Bolivian glacier Chacaltaya, in the Department of La Paz, died with a rise in temperature of 0.5 degrees, Guzman recalled.

“In this Conference we are going to be a determinant force to prevent a rise in temperature,” asserted Vice Minister for Foreign Relations, Juan Pablo Guzman, one of the Coordinators of the World People’s Conference. Guzman also commented that the death of the glacier of Chacaltaya was documented by the Bolivian scientist Edson Ramirez from the hidrology institute of the Universidad Mayor de San Andres.