[News] Evo Morales on Climate Debt, Capitalism - Tribunal for Climate Justice and Much More

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Dec 18 10:42:44 EST 2009

Bolivian President Evo Morales on Climate Debt, 
Capitalism, Why He Wants a Tribunal for Climate Justice and Much More

Bolivian President Evo Morales joins us in 
Copenhagen to talk about the UN climate talks, 
capitalism, climate debt and much more. “Policies 
of unlimited industrialization are what destroys 
the environment,” Morales said. “And that 
irrational industrialization is capitalism.” [includes rush transcript]

Evo Morales, President of Bolivia.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Climate Countdown.

NNIMMO BASSEY: We believe in the right of people 
to protest or to dissent. And we just can’t­I 
can’t personally understand why we are kept out of the conference.

JOSÉ BOVÉ: The debate between the NGO, the poor 
people, and the governments is no more possible 
at two days of the end of this meeting.

JOSHUA KAHN RUSSELL: When I say “climate,” you say “justice”! Climate!




PROTESTER: The police pepper-sprayed me. I was 
shouting, “We are peaceful!” And they pepper-sprayed me.

SUNITA NARAIN: The US has been the major 
obstructionist force in climate change from the day the crisis began.

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] The budget of 
the United States is $687 billion for defense. 
And for climate change, to save life, to save 
humanity, they only put up $10 billion. This is shameful.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Climate Countdown. It’s 
Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. I’m Amy 
Goodman. We’re broadcasting from inside the Bella Center.

It’s just one day before the COP15 UN climate 
summit comes to a close. The summit has been 
described as the biggest gathering on climate 
change in history. And now, ten days after it 
started, are the talks on the brink of collapse?

The dispute between rich and poor countries, 
between the Global North and Global South, on key 
issues, including greenhouse gas emissions and 
climate debt, remain unresolved. World leaders 
from more than 110 countries have begun arriving 
at the summit and are delivering their addresses 
to the main plenary as we speak. As for civil 
society, the only thing worse than the endless 
lines of thousands of people trying to get into 
the Bella Center are no lines, because civil 
society has largely been locked out.

Well, just before we went to air today, I 
interviewed Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first 
indigenous president. He was re-elected in a 
landslide victory earlier this month.

On Wednesday, Evo Morales called on world leaders 
to hold temperature increases over the next 
century to just one degree Celsius, the most 
ambitious proposal so far by any head of state. 
Morales also called on the United States and 
other wealthy nations to pay an ecological debt 
to Bolivia and other developing nations.

AMY GOODMAN: President Morales, welcome to Democracy Now!

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Thank you very much for the invitation.

AMY GOODMAN: You spoke yesterday here at the 
Bella Center and said we cannot end global 
warming without ending capitalism. What did you mean?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Capitalism is 
the worst enemy of humanity. Capitalism­and I’m 
speaking about irrational development­policies of 
unlimited industrialization are what destroys the 
environment. And that irrational 
industrialization is capitalism. So as long as we 
don’t review or revise those policies, it’s 
impossible to attend to humanity and life.

AMY GOODMAN: How would you do that? How would you end capitalism?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] It’s changing 
economic policies, ending luxury, consumerism. 
It’s ending the struggle to­or this searching for 
living better. Living better is to exploit human 
beings. It’s plundering natural resources. It’s 
egoism and individualism. Therefore, in those 
promises of capitalism, there is no solidarity or 
complementarity. There’s no reciprocity. So 
that’s why we’re trying to think about other ways 
of living lives and living well, not living 
better. Not living better. Living better is 
always at someone else’s expense. Living better 
is at the expense of destroying the environment.

AMY GOODMAN: President Morales, what are you 
calling here­for here at the UN climate summit?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Defense of 
the rights of Mother Earth. The earth is our 
life. Nature is our home, our house. Happily, the 
United Nations have declared a Mother Earth Day. 
If the mother is recognized as Mother Earth, it’s 
something that can’t be sold, it’s something that 
can’t be­it can’t be violated, something sacred. 
This is nature. This is planet earth. And that’s 
why I’ve come here, to defend the rights of 
Mother Earth, to defend the rights to life, to 
defend humanity and saving Mother Earth.

AMY GOODMAN: What does climate debt mean, President Morales?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] After the 
destruction of Mother Earth, it’s important to 
recognize the rights of Mother Earth. And the 
best way to recognize this is by paying a climate 
debt. Second, it’s important to recognize the 
damages that have been done and attend to the 
people who have been affected by climate change, 
people who will lose their island homes, for 
example, people who will remain without water.

AMY GOODMAN: Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of 
State, said today, “We can’t look back; we have to look forward.”

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Looking 
forward means that we have to review everything 
that capitalism has done. These are things that 
cannot just be solved with money. We have to 
resolve problems of life and humanity. And that’s 
the problem that planet earth faces today. And this means ending capitalism.

AMY GOODMAN: The Secretary of State, Hillary 
Clinton, also said today that $100 billion would 
be promised if a deal were arrived at, not just 
by the United States, per year, but in a 
public-private partnership with a number of 
countries around the world, but only if a deal is 
arrived at. She would not say what the US would 
contribute to this. What do you say about the US 
spending on the issue of global warming 
versus­well, you talked yesterday about war.

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] The best 
thing would be that all war spending be directed 
towards climate change, instead of spending it on 
troops in Iraq, in Afghanistan or the military 
bases in Latin America. This money would be 
better directed to attending to the damages that 
were created by the United States. And, of 
course, this isn’t just $100 billion; this is 
probably trillions and trillions of dollars. How 
are we going to spend money to kill and not save 
lives? We have to spend money to save lives, not 
to kill. These are our differences with capitalism.

AMY GOODMAN: You called the war in Afghanistan 
terrorist. Are you saying President Obama is a terrorist?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] People who 
send their troops to kill outside their country, 
that’s terror. There’s not only civil­terrorists 
dressed as civilians; they can also be dressed in 
military uniforms. Worse still if they’re 
financed with the money from the peoples, from 
taxes. Of course, every country has the right to 
defend itself, just as every country can defend 
itself. But invading another country with 
uniformed people, that’s state terrorism.
Moreover, to establish military bases in Latin 
America with the objective of political control, 
and where their military base is an empire, 
that’s not respect for democracy. There is no 
peace, social peace. There is no development for 
those countries nor integration in those regions. 
This is what we’ve lived in South America and Latin America.

AMY GOODMAN: What is your message to President Obama at these climate talks?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] After 
listening to his speech at the heads of state 
Summit of the Americas, we were very hopeful that 
he would be an ally in addressing poverty. Now 
I’m not so hopeful. Rather, we’re disappointed. 
If something has changed in the United States, 
it’s the color of the president.
So I’ve been called upon, through administrative 
resolutions, to close unions, or to eliminate 
unions, when I’m doing exactly the opposite. 
[translator: “I apologize.”] In the report that 
was done regarding access to trade preferences 
under the ATPDEA program, it was charged that the 
Bolivian government has been involved in 
suppressing unions, when, in fact, quite the 
contrary, the government’s been very active in 
providing infrastructure and support to unions 
through improving the centers where unions meet, etc.
Even President Bush did not make any observations 
about the new clauses in the constitution of 
Bolivia, whereas under the new administration 
there have been observations and comments made 
about the new constitution that’s been drafted, 
in particular in relation to the management of 
the gas and oil sectors. This is a clear 
involvement in Bolivian internal affairs by the 
Obama administration. At the end of the day, it 
seems that they’re asking us to change the 
constitution. This is something that not even 
Bush did. If we just look at this, this makes 
Obama seem­look worse than Bush. And the documents are there.

AMY GOODMAN: I know you have to leave. My last 
question is: you’ve called for a climate tribunal; what do you mean?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Those who do 
damage to planet earth and those who do damage 
need to be judged. Those who do not fulfill the 
terms of the Kyoto Protocol should also be 
judged. And for those ends, we have to organize a 
tribunal for climate justice in the United Nations.

AMY GOODMAN: And one degree Celsius?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] That’s our proposal.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think it could be achieved?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Yes. Yes, 
otherwise it would be a lack of commitment to humanity.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think there will be a deal that comes out of Copenhagen?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] I doubt it. 
We’re developing other proposals for my intervention.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think it’s catastrophic that there’s no deal?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] No, it’s a 
waste of time. And if the leaders of countries 
cannot arrive in an agreement, why don’t the peoples then decide together?

AMY GOODMAN: We will leave it there. I thank you very much, President Morales.

AMY GOODMAN: The Bolivian President Evo Morales 
speaking to us here in Copenhagen. This is 
Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. It’s Climate 
Countdown. You can go to our website at 
democracynow.org to read the transcript of what 
President Morales had to say and also to see or hear the video podcast.

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