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Cablegate: President Morales Blasts Neoliberal Model During

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SNAR PINR BO PE
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT MORALES BLASTS NEOLIBERAL MODEL DURING
PERU VISIT


1. (U) Summary: During his first visit to Peru as Bolivian
President August 1, Evo Morales met with President Garcia to
discuss bilateral integration, addressed Peru's Congress, and
met with local indigenous and labor leaders. In his speech
to Congress, Morales called for an end to discrimination,
railed against the neoliberal economic model and said he owed
his political ascent to the coca leaf. While public reaction
to Morales' visit was generally muted, his ideologically
no-holds-barred Congressional speech and his call to support
Cuba drew criticism from government and opinion leaders. End
Summary.

Goodwill Invitation
-------------------
2. (SBU) Evo Morales August 1 visit to Peru, his first as
President of Bolivia, simultaneously helped overcome and
probably added to the strain in bilateral relations.
According to MFA officials, the third time was the charm as
Morales finally accepted President Garcia's invitation, which
had been extended as a gesture of good will. During their
meeting, the two leaders reportedly discussed ways to enhance
ties through the bilateral integration agreement and also
pledged to strengthen cooperation against narco-trafficking
and terrorism. A Bolivian Embassy official and his MFA
counterpart told us the offical meeting was cordial in tone
and intended to clear the ground for future progress.

Fiery Speech to Congress
------------------------
3. (SBU) Morales' interventions in Congress and in public
were less conducive to smooth bilateral relations. During
his speech to Congress, Morales drew a sharp contrast with
his hosts' economic policies by praising the success of
hydrocarbon nationalization in Bolivia. Nationalization, he
said, had created the first fiscal surpluses in decades, and
should be followed by the nationalization of other resources.
He then blasted the neoliberal economic model, which he
argued had plundered the natural resources of whole countries
while benfitting small privileged groups at the expense of
the majority. "It is time to close the open veins of Latin
America," Morales said (quoting the title of Eduardo
Galeano's infamous dependency theory tract).

4. (SBU) Morales also lauded Bolivia's coca policy. Calling
the coca leaf an instrument for the sovereignty of the people
and crediting it with his political birth, Morales argued
that the only effective policy involved cooperation with
social sectors rather than forced eradication. Repeating
familiar refrains to the applause of deputies from Ollanta
Humala's Nationalist Party (PNP), Morales called for an end
to a "zero coca" policy in favor of "zero narcotrafficking,
zero cocaine". Morales later encouraged the Humala-led
opposition by saying his own party (the MAS) had taken more
than a decade to grow from four congressmen to the majority
he now controlled.

Meeting with Social Sector Leaders
----------------------------------
5. (U) Accompanied by the Cuban and Nicaraguan Ambassadors
and a Venezuelan representative, Morales then met with
Peruvian social movement representatives and labor leaders.
In an impromptu speech at that event, Morales criticized
U.S.-Latin American FTAs and called for continued struggle
against colonialism, imperialism, and neoliberalism. He also
praised Fidel Castro as a "father" and welcomed the presence
of Hugo Chavez's ALBA in Peru.

Subdued Public Reaction
-----------------------
6. (U) Public and government reaction to Morales's visit has
been critical but subdued. Local press focused on the
message of cooperation promoted by President Garcia, while
some editorial writers faulted Morales for his openly
challenging and divisive message. Prime Minister Jorge del
Castillo criticized Morales' lack of courtesy, and others
have noted that the kinds of statist policies promoted by the
Bolivian President had destroyed Peru's economy in the 1970s.
President Garcia publicly acknowledged his ideological
differences with Morales but said that both leaders wanted to
reduce poverty and that "the future will tell" which approach

worked faster. He added that radical experiments "will not
last long" and criticized governments that "throw rocks" and
"provoke confrontations."

Comment: Understanding the Context
----------------------------------
7. (SBU) The Peruvian leadership's measured response to
Morales' provocations should be understood in context. For
one, Garcia is keenly aware of the Bolivian President's roots
in social protest and sympathizes with his message of ending
poverty, social injustice and exclusion. It's the proposed
solution that causes grief. On this score, Garcia and his
government are like concerned parents listening to the
outraged antics of an adolescent child who is grappling with
the bitter realities of the world and suddenly wielding big
ideas for solving them. They understand but believe they
know better, having learned that much from their own past.
WUNDER

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