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 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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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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Bolivia's Evo Shows Support for US Presidential Hopeful Sanders

President Evo Morales says he has the utmost confidence in Bernie Sanders's candidacy bid for the 2020 election.

Bolivian President Evo Morales is ready to back U.S. 2020 electoral hopeful, Bernie Sanders, a supportive tweet revealed Sunday.

RELATED: Bernie Sanders Gets Personal as He Prepares For 2020 Election

Morales cheered Sanders from social media, writing, “We salute the brother @BernieSanders. The media claims he is taking great strides toward the presidential candidacy #EEUU.

“We are confident that this progressive politician will have strong support from the American people. The Democratic revolution is done with votes,” the Bolivian president wrote.

This Saturday Sanders launched his election campaign during a rally in New York, promising economic, racial and social justice as part of a necessary political revolution in the United States.

Sanders tweeted, “Today, I want to welcome you to a campaign which says, loudly and clearly, that the underlying principles of our government will not be greed, hatred and lies. It will not be racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and religious bigotry. That is going to end. #BernieInBrooklyn.

"Our campaign is about creating a government and economy that works for the many, not just the few," Sanders said in the email, asking for 1 million people to sign up to start the effort.

Sanders, a political independent and democratic socialist who caucuses with Democrats in the Senate, said he would push in his campaign for many of the same issues that powered his 2016 bid and resonated with younger voters, including universal healthcare, raising the minimum wage, and free public college tuition.

The senator from Vermont launched his insurgent 2016 candidacy against Clinton as a long shot, but ended up winning 23 state primary contests and pushing the party to the left, generating tension between its establishment and liberal wings that has to now still not entirely abated.

This time around, Sanders has been among the leaders in opinion polls of prospective 2020 candidates, but he faces a field more heavily populated with other liberal progressives touting many of the same ideas he brought into the party mainstream. That could make it harder to generate the same level of fervent support as four years ago.

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Evo Morales Wishes Daniel Ortega a Happy Birthday

La Paz, Nov 11 (Prensa Latina) Bolivian President Evo Morales on Sunday wished his Nicaraguan peer, Daniel Ortega, a happy birthday, and ratified his support for the struggle by that Central American country against political destabilization efforts.

'We send a strong hug to brother Daniel Ortega on his birthday. Happy birthday, comrade, and remember that you are not alone in the struggle against imperialism and the elites that are attempting against the Sandinista Revolution that liberated #Nicaragua', Morales wrote on his Twitter account.

Ortega was born on November 11, 1945, in the city of La Libertad, in the department of Chontales, some 175 kilometers from Managua.

The Nicaraguan Government and people are currently struggling for peace, stability and the security of productive, economic and commercial activities, after a failed coup d'état by the right wing that caused deaths, destruction and terror in the country.

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Bolivia's Morales: US VP Pence Leading Campaign Against Leftist Latin American Governments

Morales expressed concerns about the covert tactics implemented by the United States government to undermine governments in Latin America.

Bolivian President Evo Morales spoke to RT the United States' campaign against Latin American governments who dared to stand against the country’s hegemony and imperialism Tuesday.

RELATED: Maduro Calls on UN to Investigate Assassination Attempt

"There are no military coups taking place in Latin America anymore, as coups are now happening through congresses and courts. It's yet another mechanism used by the United States to deal with presidents fighting against imperialism," Morales said.

If these measures falter, Morales says, the U.S. resorts to provocations and talks about military intervention when it cannot bend Latin American governments and leaders to their will. According to Morales, an example of this can be seen in the U.S. treatment of Venezuela, where they have called for a military intervention claiming that democracy and democratic principles have been undermined.

"And this has been happening throughout our history. That's how they (the US) invaded Libya and Iraq. This is the same for all coups on different continents. Therefore, we must protect sovereign states and our natural resources," the Bolivian leader explained.

On Friday, Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State said that the U.S. is preparing to take a series of actions to increase pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

“You’ll see in the coming days a series of actions that continue to increase the pressure level against the Venezuelan leadership folks, who are working directly against the best interest of the Venezuelan people… We’re determined to ensure that the Venezuelan people get their say,” Pompeo said in a reference to the May 2018 elections which Maduro won but the Trump administration refuse to recognize despite assurances by international observers who were present during the electoral process.

Since then, the U.S. government imposed multiple unilateral economic and financial sanctions on Venezuela forcing the country to face an unprecedented economic crisis.  

Morales also expressed his dismay over the international reaction to moves against the governments of Cristina de Kirchner in Argentina, Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, and Rafael Correa of Ecuador. At present all the three countries are led by U.S. backed governments and the ex-leaders are facing various charges.

"There are some serious problems in Latin America. In Argentina, Brazil, and Ecuador, the presidents, who used to be the guarantors of the sovereignty and dignity of the people, are now being subjected to political persecution," Morales said.

Last week, leftist legislators of Eurolat, Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly issued a 25 point statement from Vienna rejecting the imperialist intervention by the U.S in Latin American countries.

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Bolivia's Evo Morales: 'We Are Close to Returning to The Sea'

President Evo Morales considers that Bolivia's demand, for a sea access, at The Hague's International Court of Justice is "on track."

Bolivian President Evo Morales spoke, in a keynote address in Villa Tunari in Cochabamba, addressing Bolivia's maritime request submitted to The Hague's International Court of Justice (ICJ), stressing that the world's social movements supported the country's bid.

RELATED: Bolivia's Morales Asks for 'Just and Accurate' Ruling in Sea Access Claim

"We are very close to our return to the Pacific Ocean, thanks to the Bolivian people. We hope this unity will continue in the battle to recover what is ours," said Morales, also noting that Chile must comply with the promises made so Bolivia could have a sea access.

President Morales said that "between October, November, maximum December there will be a ruling and any failure of the ICJ will be in compliance if we are States that recognize rights." During the event, former President Eduardo Rodriguez Veltze, Bolivian representative at The Hague's ICJ, was also made remarks.

Pdte. @evoespueblo desde Villa Tunari:"Recuperamos los recursos, recuperamos la patria, tenemos la nueva Bolivia. Ahora nos toca recuperar la salida al mar con soberanía y estamos muy cerca". — Min. de Comunicación (@mincombolivia) August 26, 2018

President Evo Morales from Villa Tunari: "We recovered the resources, we recovered our motherland, we have the new Bolivia. Now it is the time to recover the sea with sovereignty and we are very close."

The president stated that Chile violated Bolivia's sovereignty in 1879 invading Bolivia's territory and stealing over 400 kilometers accessing the Pacific Ocean. In addition, he clarified that Chile failed to comply with the Treaty of 1866 that recognized the exit to the sea for Bolivia.

"We are with the truth, we are asking for justice to be done". Morales also welcomed the work of the international legal team and the experts who are championing the cause.

In 2013, Bolivia submitted the request at the ICJ in an attempt to restore part of the territory and garner "sovereign access" to the waters it lost. The action aimed to force Chile into negotiations, arguing that they had previously offered talks which were later retracted. 

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Evo Morales Rejects Militarization of Bolivia-Argentina Border

On August 17, the Argentine Government set up a military base in the border city of La Quiaca, near Bolivia, framed in the plan for a reform of the Armed Forces.

On Thursday, Bolivian President Evo Morales rejected the militarization of the Bolivia-Argentina border that President Mauricio Macri has ordered. The Bolivian president said that the Argentine Government seeks to intimidate and frighten the Bolivian people, but noted that this action does not scare them.

RELATED: Bolivia's Evo Morales: 'The US Is An Interventionist State'

Morales said that Argentina's move aims to rattle Bolivia. "They will try to scare us; We are not going to be scared, we are a united people, with social forces. They will try to intimidate us, they will not be able to," he said during a Public event in Chuquisaca, Bolivia.

The president said that he does "not agree with what Argentina did these last days, militarize the border with Bolivia, in La Quiaca, in front of Villazon." 

On August 17, the Argentine Government set up a military base in the border city of La Quiaca, near Bolivia, framed in the plan for a reform of the Armed Forces which is promoted by the country's executive to carry out internal security tasks. However, the Argentine Ambassador to Bolivia, Normando Alvarez, confirmed that an Argentinian military base will be installed in Abra Pampa, Jujuy Province, 70 kilometers away from the border with Bolivia.

Social and other media reports claimed that the United States had planned to open a military base in Argentina, near the border with Bolivia, in order to fight against drug-trafficking and terrorism. But, the Argentinian Government has denied the allegation.

"No, they are inventions; why do we need the United States military if we have professional military forces that can calmly develop their task," the ambassador remarked.

"NATO and U.S. military bases are synonymous with theft, synonymous with looting, confrontation, war. We have profound differences with the capitalist system, with North American imperialism, but for that we need unity. If we are united nothing is going to stop our process of change," Bolivian President Morales commented.

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