Cuban president meets with Bolivia's Evo Morales to strengthen bilateral ties

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Monday met with his Bolivian counterpart, Evo Morales, to strengthen political and economic relations between the two nations following the election last week of the new head of State of this Caribbean nation.

Morales, who arrived in the Cuban capital earlier Monday, was received by Diaz-Canel with military honors at the Palace of the Revolution and later held talks in private.

Both leaders agreed to deepen political and economic ties between the two nations.

Promoting continental integration in an adverse geopolitical context was also a topic of conversation among both heads of State.

Earlier, Morales paid tribute to the island's national hero, Jose Marti, with a flower wreath at Havana's Revolution Square.

In statements to the press, the Bolivian leader congratulated Diaz-Canel on his election as president last week and highlighted Cuba's solidarity with the world in particular with medical brigades in more than 60 nations.

"We are here to move forward a new bilateral agenda and continue Fidel (Castro)'s legacy," Morales said.

He also said that his visit to Havana also responds to promoting the process of union and integration in Latin America and the Caribbean with the new Cuban president.

"We came to discuss various issues of a commercial cooperation and in terms of integration, to revitalize the agenda of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac)," he said.

During his visit, the Bolivian president will also visit the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology west of Havana to learn first-hand about Cuba's scientific developments and bolster cooperation in this sector.

Morales is the second president to visit Cuba after the election of Diaz-Canel last Thursday by the National Assembly.

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro visited Havana this weekend and met with Diaz-Canel to set up an economic, cultural and political cooperation plan for the next ten years.

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President Evo Morales Visits Cuba

The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, arrived yesterday in Cuba for an official visit.

He will meet the highest authorities of the Caribbean country.

As planned, the Bolivian leader will place a wreath to the National Hero Jose Marti on Monday and afterwards, Morales will have his reception and the official conversations with Miguel Diaz-Canel.

In the afternoon,the Bolivian president will visit the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Havana.

Morales is the second foreign leader who has visited Cuba since last April 19 Diaz Canel substituted Raul Castro as president of The Councils of State and Ministers.

The revolutionary Cuban leader, who finished this week his second term as the Head of the State and Government of the Caribbean nation, will continue as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba up to 2021.

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Bolivia: Massive Rallies Launch Evo Morales' Reelection Bid

Massive rallies were held in four Bolivian departments on Wednesday to launch President Evo Morales' 2019 presidential candidacy. Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) organized the support rallies in collaboration with the Federation of Campesino Workers of Cochabamba, Cocaleros (coca leaf growers) and neighborhood assemblies.

In Cochabamba, Jhonny Pardo, leader of the campesino federation, addressed the crowd of roughly 50,000 MAS supporters saying “we will guarantee the continuation of the process of change, even if it costs us our lives, we will achieve the continuity our brother Evo Morales.”

In La Paz, Sandro Ramirez of El Alto’s neighborhood assembly rallied supporters in Plaza San Francisco and criticized the opposition. “The right-wing’s goal is for Evo (Morales) not to participate in the 2019 elections, of course, because they don’t have a candidate,” Ramirez said.

In the Tarija and Cobija departments, the MAS party organized separate rallies. Via Twitter Morales thanked his supporters.

"I thank the Bolivian people who demonstrated in several cities to support the Democratic and Cultural Revolution and the Process of Change. Your love makes me commit to continue working for our homeland," Evo wrote.

Morales's opposition also took to the streets in what they called a national civic strike. Alfredo Reda, a government official, said the demonstrations were a failure because “it didn’t generate sufficient impact to paralyze productive, service and commercial activities.”  

The Opposition has, however, vowed to continue their protest with street blockages, and "massive marches". Juan Flores, president of the civic committees, said “we will coordinate with all the institutions an indefinite national civic strike. A national march towards La Paz will follow to ask the president to obey the will of the people.”

Rolando Villena, a former Bolivian ombudsman, has also voiced opposition to Morales' candidacy stating that the group, who are opposed to it will request a hearing with the Inter American Commission of Human Rights (ICHR), to present their arguments for the lawsuit against the state.

"We are going to request a hearing so that we can know the state (of the lawsuit) and where we are and continue in this action because there has to be a report from the International Commission on Human Rights," Villena explained.

Opposition groups presented a lawsuit against the decision by Bolivia’s Constitutional Tribunal to allow Morales to enter as a candidate in the 2019 presidential elections after Bolivians narrowly rejected a proposed constitutional reform preventing re-election.

Despite the results of 2016 referendum, several international organizations, groups, and political leaders have proclaimed their support for Morales.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, a former Spanish president, said while speaking to gathering in Bolivia on Wednesday: "I'm here because I've seen Bolivia change, improve... If there has been a great president that is Evo Morales." Zapatero comments were supported by, Alberto Garzon a Spanish politician, economist, and member of United Left said: "We are twinned, the fight of Evo is the struggle of the peoples and workers of the whole world."

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Bolivian Government Provides Aid for Rain Victims

Deputy Minister of Civil Defense Carlos Brú affirmed that the Bolivian government guarantees assistance to all those affected by the heavy rains that affect several departments of the country.

Brú added that the exact damages of the emergency are not still quantified because it is a developing phenomenon, while reiterating the government's willingness to help the victims.

He commented that, along with other institutions, the Vice Ministry of Civil Defense helps with the delivery of food, habitable tents and supports the deployment of the Armed Forces troops in the affected areas.

The official highlighted the timely disaster response system in Bolivia which is organized from the municipal, departmental and national levels.

In his appearance in the program El pueblo es noticia of Bolivia TV, he reiterated the call to the population made by the president, Evo Morales, that the first thing is to save life and then material goods.

The latest report from the authorities estimated that the families affected by the floods and landslides stands at 14,900.

Likewise, the main departments affected are La Paz, Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, Potosí and Tarija.

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New Documents of Che's Diary in Bolivia Delivered to Cuba

Juan Ramon Quintana, Bolivia's ambassador to Cuba, said the delivery of the newfound documents helps us to understand the past and present.

A more complete version of Ernesto "Che" Guevara's diary in Bolivia was delivered to Cuba by the Bicentennial Library Project of the Martí Studies Center in La Paz, Bolivia. 

RELATED: Bolivia Commemorates Tania the Guerrilla, Revolutionary Who Fought Alongside Che in Bolivia

The book includes improved newspaper photocopies, five public statements written by Che — one of which was published on May 1, 1967 in Prensa Libre newspaper in Cochabamba — maps, covers of several notebooks, a biographical synthesis of guerrilla members and other important documents.

Juan Ramon Quintana, Bolivia's ambassador to Cuba, said the delivery of the newfound documents represents a vital step in understanding the past and present of the the Andean country, according to Prensa Latina. He added that the transfer held special meaning for both the people of Bolivia and Cuba.

“A solidary and internationalist Che lives in all of us. This is closely linked to our economic liberation process, to our achievements in health, education, social programs that benefit the population,” Quintana said. He went on to affirm that Che's legacy lives on in the past 12 years of Bolivia's government, headed by President Evo Morales, where the people overcame the alienation of its majority Indigenous population, foreign domination, manifest destiny penned in Washington and other groundbreaking experiences.

After his speech, Quintana also delivered some additional notebooks kept by Che, as well as several newspaper facsimiles published at the time.

Cuba historian Froilan Gonzalez thanked the gesture “at a time when the 165th anniversary of the birth of (Cuba's) national hero, Jose Marti, is being celebrated.” He also recalled that the original publication of Che's diary, in 1968, represented a serious blow to the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, which tried to introduce lies into the text, as if Che had written them himself, by employing a team of graphologists.

Frolian added that the newspaper clips show “the true support of the Bolivian people to the guerrilla effort.”

Over fifty years ago, Che launched a guerrilla movement in the South American country aimed at overthrowing the right-wing military regime of Rene Barrientos and establishing a socialist state. In doing so, he helped create the Ñancahuazú Guerrilla, also known as the National Liberation Army.

After months of fighting against the U.S.-trained and supported Bolivian Army, Che was captured and executed on Oct. 9, 1967 at age 39 after refusing to divulge information while being interrogated. It is widely believed that Barrientos' regime was instructed by the CIA to hunt down and kill Guevara.

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Evo Morales Highlights Cuba's Resistance to U.S. Hostility

Bolivian President Evo Morales has highlighted Cuba's resistance to the hostility of the U.S. government, which has maintained the economic, financial and commercial blockade against Cuba for more than 50 years.

In a message on his Twitter account, the Bolivian leader praised the dignity and sovereignty of Cubans in the face of U.S. interference.

He recalled events that mark the historical relations between the Caribbean nation and the U.S., marked by interference and an unsuccessful imperial logic.

He mentioned the rupture of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba on January 3, 1961 and the first defeat of imperialism in Americas at Playa Girón -- the Bay of Pigs -- in April of the same year.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares

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Evo Morales Reaffirms Bolivia's Support for Cuba vs. U.S. Blockade

President Evo Morales reaffirmed yesterday Bolivia's support for Cuba in the struggle against the economic and financial blockade imposed by the United States on the Caribbean island for more than 50 years.

The president posted on his Twitter account @evoespueblo: 'We reiterate our solidarity with the sister Republic of Cuba, which for more than 50 years has heroically faced the U.S. criminal blockade, hardened by a government determined to impose its arrogance, pride and racism at the expense of world peace and the people's peaceful coexistence.'

Morales criticized the measures adopted by Washington and described them as 'the worst attack on the principles of sovereign equality of the States.'

He also called for non-intervention and non-interference by the United States in internal affairs, because 'they violate the rights to freedom of commerce and navigation,' he said.

On November 1, during the presentation at the United Nations of the draft resolution entitled 'Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America on Cuba', the permanent representative of Bolivia, Sacha Llorenti, asked for the total lifting of that measure.

Llorenti affirmed that the blockade of Cuba is unjust, immoral and illegitimate, and an example of the United States' unilaterality.

'The United States imposes a blockade that contravenes the UN Charter, undermines the principles of sovereignty and attempts to undermine the Cuban people's self-determination,' he stressed.

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Guevarist times

The encampment of thousands of people, mainly youngsters from all over the world, at Vallegrande, Bolivia, very close to the place where Che Guevara passed to immortality, symbolizes the ever-lasting influence and need in the world of the example and ideas of the Cuban-Argentinean revolutionary. Among those encamped was President Evo Morales, main organizer of the dozens of cultural and political activities that have been held there to recall the heroic guerrilla half a century after his fall in combat and subsequent assassination ordered by the CIA. Along with Evo were Che’s children and brother Roberto, as well as Commander Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, a heavyweight within Cuban leadership and close comrade of Guevara in the Sierra Maestra, the invasion of the West and the Battle of Santa Clara.

It could have been very hard for a revolutionary Indian to reach the presidency and refound Bolivia without the antecedent of Che’s guerrilla, the moral example he laid down, and the cycle of popular struggles that he inspired from then on in the territory of what is today a Plurinational State. Together with Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Cuba too are living experiences of social transformation in which the fresh and renovating thinking of Che is evident. But in many other places in the world, popular struggles find incentives in that thinking and example.

The fervor that Che arouses in Neozapatism, in the universities of Latin America and among young people across the planet is well-known.

Che spoke in Cuba last October 8th through the speech of its First Vice-President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who evoked the validity of his thinking before the mausoleum, where his remains rest, and remarked, as essential in Cuba’s foreign policy, that unforgettable phrase by the guerrilla fighter at the UN General Assembly, in which he warned that “We cannot trust imperialism in the tiniest bit, absolutely nothing”. Díaz-Canel outlines the difficult and uncertain situation humanity is facing with the new forms of accumulation of neoliberal capitalism, the military interventions, the attempts of cultural colonization and standardization, the danger of a nuclear war and climate change as a threat to the survival of mankind. In a guevarist-tone speech he stressed Cuba’s internationalist policy and in the face of the threats and sanctions against Venezuela reiterated "The unconditional solidarity of Cuba toward the Bolivarian and Chavista people, their civic-military union, and the government headed by constitutional president, comrade Nicolás Maduro Moros".

The island’s first vice-president underlined that faithful to the legacy of Fidel and Che “Cuba will not make concessions essential to its sovereignty and independence, nor will it negotiate its principles or accept conditions. The changes needed in Cuba are solely being decided by the Cuban people”.

It’s pertinent to recall at present that Guevara, who wrote in his Bolivian diary on the 14th anniversary of the attack on Moncada Barracks, “Rebellion against oligarchies and revolutionary dogmas”, granted exceptional significance to the study of the revolutionary theory in its original sources. To its permanent enrichment by means of the critical analysis of the reality that is being transformed. To the generation of a new socialist and communist awareness called to be built and surpassed daily in the revolutionary practice. To the indomitable will of struggle with the greatest attachment to principles.

To unprejudiced unity of all real revolutionaries regardless of their initials or labels of origin and to the free exercise of internationalism, indispensable requirements as much to the overthrow of capitalism as the rise of the people to the political power, and the construction of the new society.

Along with Fidel, he stood out in his practice as one of the leaders of the Cuban revolution and in the study of the experiences prior to the road to the elaboration of a veritable theory of the socialist construction, almost nonexistent when Cuba embraced that hope. The self-transformation of the human being into a “new man” as core aim of socialism and the main role of the will to produce and speed up the revolutionary transformations are probably the most valuable contributions to the revolutionary thinking of these two great men of all time.

Twitter:@aguerraguerra

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

 

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