Monday, April 06, 2009

Morales Addresses G-20 Hubris

(LA PAZ) President Evo Morales had strong criticism for world leaders who met at the G-20 summit in London last week and called on the Obama administration to represent real change by breaking from past U.S. policies.

On Friday, Morales predicted that agreements reached by the G-20 would intensify the global crisis rather than solve it.

The one-day summit of the world’s largest industrialized nations was lauded by some as a "turning point" in the world economy. However Morales said the current economic model must be reformed in order to end “the free market and speculative capitalism" responsible for the crisis.

The elite group’s decision to infuse a $1.1 trillion stimulus into the International Monetary Fund was welcomed as a sign of hope even though the world’s leading economic powers still disagree on how best to revive the global economy.

An often critic of the current capitalist economic model, including the policies of the World Bank and IMF, Morales said, “It is not possible that countries which caused the financial crisis are now the solution, when more than 180 countries are suffering from this crisis.”

Morales called for serious reforms of the IMF and World Bank or the creation of different international economic entities.These international financial organizations have been criticized for their impacts on developing countries, in particular policies of loan conditionality that force nations to divest domestic spending on social programs and privatize essential industries such as water, electricity and telecommunications.

Bolivia's first indigenous leader said a global gathering at the UN should be held before the end of the year that included all nations, not just the largest industrialized countries. “They are talking of another G-20 at year's end, why not a summit of all the presidents?” Morales asked.

Real Change

Morales also had criticism for U.S. President Barack Obama who was enthusiastically received in Europe with his wife Michelle. In a challenge to Obama’s political rhetoric of “change”, Morales said the new U.S. president needed to break from current policies that reflect the ideology of his predecessor George W. Bush.

In particular Morales questioned the U.S. stance towards sending additional troops to the Middle East, the U.S. war against drugs, and the blockade of Cuba. “I am sorry that the policies of Bush remain in place,” Morales said.

While acknowledging the difficulty in overcoming these policies in a short period of time, Morales insisted that if Obama really wants change and to transform the U.S. it will not be easy. “It will cost a lot,” Morales said, noting his own experience of struggling for change in Bolivia over the past three years. But if Obama will rise to the challenge, he could be the critical catalyst needed to solve the economic crisis and help remedy other issues that people face around the globe.

Photos: ABI &



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