Bolivia and Paraguay agree to join forces to stop wildfires

La Paz, September 17 (RHC)-- A total of 5,500 men, 193 vehicles, 40 tanker trucks, 25 ambulances and 19 planes among other devices, including the sum of $15 million donated by the Bolivian government and other $2.2 million in international help, were to be mobilized in order to fight wildfires at the border between Paraguay and Bolivia, the governments in both states have announced. 

Last week, the Paraguayan congress declared an environmental emergency in Chovoreca, in the Department of High Paraguay, north of the country.  According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, since middle August 100,000 hectares of vegetation have been burned.

Meanwhile, fires have burned through 1.8 million of hectares throughout Bolivia, especially in Chiquitania, an area of transition between el Chaco and Amazonia, known for agriculture and agrarian purposes.

Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez said he has reached out to his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales to offer cooperation on the matter.  A day later, the Bolivian president announced that preventive measures in the area have stopped fires from spreading out at the triple-border with Brazil.

Over the past month, changes in wind direction have threatened Paraguay's forests with more fires, especially if the wind heads south.

Edited by Ed Newman
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Bolivia Orders World's Largest Air Tanker to Combat Amazon Fires

“We are no longer forced to submit to ‘international aid’...we can respond ourselves immediately’

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales announced on Wednesday that Bolivia had purchased a Boeing 747 ‘Supertanker’ to help extinguish huge forest fires in the Amazon have that spilled over from Brazil. By Wednesday evening, the government confirmed that the tanker is arriving in the country and will be operational on Friday.

RELATED: Bolivia's Evo Morales Visits Fire-Affected Eastern Region

The ‘Supertanker’ can carry more water than any other aircraft in the world, capable of flying with 115, 000 litres, equivalent to a 100 regular air tankers. Prior to the tankers arrival, the military will fly planes over the region to assess where exactly the tanker should focus. 

There will also be three new helicopters, working with the three already in operation, working to extinguish the fires. Other measures include the creation of an ‘emergency cabinet’ and the dispatch of an extra 500 troops on Thursday morning, as reinforcement for the firefighters on the ground. There will also be around 10 light aircraft, putting out fires by fumigation.

On the first day of the fires spreading to Bolivia, President Evo Morales visited the areas and brought two helicopters to evacuate affected communities, along with large shipments of emergency food aid. 

The new measures by the government come amid calls by right-wing opposition candidate Carlos Mesa to allow foreign aid to help put out the fires. 

Nevertheless, Bolivia’s government has long rejected calls for outside intervention for natural disasters, arguing that Bolivia’s economy has developed enough to provide sufficient resources to cope, and must deal with issues internally to protect sovereignty. Speaking earlier in the year when flash floods hit the Department of Beni, Vicepresident Alvaro Garcia Linera said “Bolivia has the resources...the era of begging [to outsiders] has passed, leave that to Carlos Mesa”.

Some have pointed to how international ‘emergency aid’ from the US often leads to militarization and occupation, such as that which took place in Haiti, following devastating earthquakes. There, relief operations were led by the US military’s Southern Command, and scholars have illustrated the subsequent role of USAID in working with US corporations in creating patterns of dependency in the country. One academic has described it saying. "USAID used the occurrence of the January 2010 earthquake tragedy to accelerate in Haiti the implementation of a neoliberal agenda congenial to the business promotion of multinational investors, particularly US multinational corporations."

Hoping to avoid such a scenario, President Morales reiterated on Wednesday that “We are no longer forced to submit to ‘international aid’...we can respond ourselves immediately’

The recent fires in the Amazon started in Brazil, though exact causes are unclear, organizations in the Amazon blame loggers and landed elites allied to President Bolsonaro, for deliberately starts fires to clear land for cattle ranching. The European Union's satellite program, Copernicus, showed how the fire then spilled over into Bolivia and Peru. The fire has devastated almost half a million hectares of Bolivia’s Amazon rainforest, largely affecting the historic Chiquitania area.

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Bolivia’s Right-Wing Opposition Split Amid Racism Accusations

“Citizens Community is a lie, they haven’t let even one Indigenous women be a candidate, I was used and was part of propagating a lie"

Bolivia’s right-wing opposition faced a new round of internal splits, leaving them weakened ahead of upcoming presidential elections, in which leftist President Evo Morales is well ahead in the polls. Leading opposition candidate Carlos Mesa had a number of key allies resign from his party on Monday, accusing him of racial discrimination, and undemocratic conduct.

RELATED: Bolivia: Main Opposition Candidate Accused of Taking US Funds

Carlos Mesa’s right-wing ‘Citizens Community’ party is facing allegations of racism after a high profile resignation from Cristina Mamani, an Indigenous woman used by Mesa in a number of campaign ads. Mamani resigned her membership in Citizens Community after the party announced its list of candidates for the legislature, which include not a single Indigenous woman, despite Mamani being used in campaign ads to deflect accusations that Mesa is part of the white elite. 

Mamani said on Monday, “Citizens Community is a lie, they haven’t let even one Indigenous woman be a candidate, I was used and was part of propagating a lie...they call themselves Citizens Community, do they know what that means? Because I haven't seen any community for the Indigenous in the party”

Also on Monday, a number of social organizations in the city of Cochabamba resigned their affiliation from Carlos Mesa’s’ party, due to what they say was the undemocratic form in which local candidates were selected. In a statement reported by Abya Yala TV, a spokesperson for the social organizations in Cochabamba said, “We see it as necessary to distance ourselves from Citizens Community, we will not be part of the failure that they’re going to turn out to be” 

The splits within Citizens Community follows the failure of the right-wing opposition to present a united ticket to challenge Evo Morales. Despite calls for unity, the opposition has presented more than 5 different parties, splitting the right-wing vote. 

In the face of these splits, Evo Morales has surged in the polls, as Mesa and others have fallen. In December 2018, Carlos Mesa was leading opinion polls, at 34%, whilst Evo Morales lagged behind at 29%. However, a poll published a week ago in opposition media showed Morales at 39%, and Mesa at just 22%. 

Bolivians head to polls on October 20th. If Morales maintains his current lead then he is likely to win a first-round victory, under Bolivian law a first-round victory requires 50% of the vote, or 40% if the winner is 10 points ahead of the runner up. 

Bolivia is currently the fastest growing economy in the region, which analysts say is due to Evo Morales’ strategy of nationalization of natural resources and strategic industries, Morales will be hoping that a buoyant economy will be enough to deliver reelection in October.

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Cuba Congratulates Bolivia on 194th Anniversary of Independence

Cuba´s government congratulated on Tuesday the Bolivian people on the 194th anniversary of Independence, and seized the opportunity to express admiration for the success of the process of change led by Bolivia´s President Evo Morales.

'A greeting to the government and people of Bolivia on the 194th anniversary of their Independence. We admire their defense of the democratic-cultural revolution led by our brother the President and his fight for sustainable development and social justice,' tweeted Cuban FM Bruno Rodriguez.

President Evo Morales today called for the people to join in and defend freedom, dignity and sovereignty reached in this country as part of the process started in 2006, benefitting all nationals.

Independence Day is celebrated on August 6, to commemorate the Declaration of the act that ended Spanish domination in 1825, and proclaimed the Republic of Bolivia, granting the country its autonomy.

The 13 years of the Morales government have stood out for their achievements, such as improving Bolivians´ quality of life, political and social stability, and economic successes acknowledged by international organizations.

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Bolivia Defends National Dignity, Economic Sovereignty

The Government of Bolivia has defended national dignity and sovereignty in all aspects of life, including economic life, with a view to becoming a regional and world power.

In this sense, the Minister of the Presidency, Juan Ramon Quintana, told the press about the work of President Evo Morales and his ability to transform Bolivia into an economic power.

Official data reveals that the economy of this South American nation has grown on average 4.9 percent from 2006 to 2017, a period in which more than three million people were lifted out of poverty.

In 2018, this country had the highest growth in the region for the fifth consecutive year, with its economy expanding by 4.2 percent and inflation by 1.5 percent.

Quintana said opposition political organizations lack the capacity to turn Bolivia into an economic power, as President Evo Morales points out.

Bolivia's option with a view to the general elections in October is to become an economic power or move backwards like a crab, the Minister said.

In his opinion, with Evo Morales as president until 2025, the Plurinational State is set to become the biggest power in Latin America.

Explaining that the concept of power is related to the size of the country, the population and the extent of its economy, he added that a new Morales term will improve access to health, drinking water, gas and energy coverage, among other benefits.

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Cuban Music Warms Up Bolivians

The craftiness of ''guaracha'' and ''son'' performed by the Cuban singer songwriter Tony Avila rose the low temperatures in La Paz this weekend, placing him among the favorite musicians for the Bolivian public.

In an interview with Prensa Latina, Avila thanked the Ministry of the Presidency for the invitation that responds to a tour of this country to strengthen cultural ties.

There are two things: one, our premiere in Bolivia, and the other, we are here because Minister of the Presidency Juan Ramon Quintana proposed us to return because people liked our performances, the musician said excitedly.

We visited Santa Cruz, Potosi and Sucre, and now La Paz, where I think we will return to give Bolivia a different musical flavor with the new album, he said.

The universality of music allows everything to be enclosed in a same CD; that is why, the next album defines a symphonic line, without abandoning our essence, Avila said. (PL)

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Bolivian Opposition Insists on Attacking Evo Morales

La Paz, May 27 (Prensa Latina) Bolivian opposition is insisting on its attack on the reelection of President Evo Morales in the general elections in October, although it has not presented a concrete government proposal to voters.

'A government plan cannot built in the time left (to present proposals), which is one and a half month, the government plan is deeper,' House of Senators Speaker Adriana Salvatierra said recently on the program Polemica, broadcast by Bolivia TV.

The lawmaker noted that the actions by opposition leaders and politicians seek international support, especially from the United States and neoliberal governments in the region, to prevent the candidacy of President Morales.

'They have made slogans and hatred a political stance,' said Salvatierra, who pointed out that so far, no one knows a single proposal from those opposition candidates to develop the country.

On the contrary, as denounced by the speaker of House of Deputies of Bolivia, Victor Borda, they repeatedly violate national dignity and sovereignty by resorting to international bodies and other States with the only interest of returning to power.

'That is to underestimate our capacity, our dignity as Bolivians,' Borda told reporters.

For his part, Presidency Minister Juan Ramon Quintana assured that the right wing comes from the 19th-century oligarchy, which mutated into the 20th century, an antinational oligarchy with a class expression that has historically looked down on the people of this South American nation. All 13 years of the Evo Morales Government constitute his biggest strength for the elections, because he shows achievements such as the improvement of the quality of life of Bolivians, the country's political and social stability, and economic accomplishments recognized by international agencies.

On October 20, people will decide on Bolivia's destiny in the polls. Bolivians, and only they, must bet on the continuity of the Democratic and Cultural Revolution headed by President Evo Morales, or on the return to a past of corruption and poverty.

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Largest Library in Bolivia with 62,000 Books

La Paz, Apr 11 (Prensa Latina) A total of 62,000 books on educational subjects and pedagogy were offered in a new library by the Ministry of Education of Bolivia, now considered the largest of its kind in the South American country.

Roberto Aguilar, Head of the Ministry of Education, reported that the population will have access to 1,490 publications of the Ministry in digital format, and 3,500 projects from private universities, during the opening of the library on Tuesday night.

Aguilar highlighted the availability of 23,517 systematizations and another 5,566 final works of the professional graduates of the Teacher Training Program, as well as 240 publications for the complementary preparation of this sector.

He pointed out that the library has books by national and international authors, educational statistics, and books on Alternative and Special Pedagogical Works, Collection of Literary Works, among other subjects.

It will also allow registered users to purchase books online, as well as review other content.

  • Published in Culture
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