The Humanist Movement of the United States strongly condemns the recent statement by U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg claiming neutrality with regard to the illegal secessionist referendum of the Bolivian department of Santa Cruz, on the pretext that is an internal matter.
The US is using the pretext of neutrality to disguise its covert support for the secessionists. The truth of the matter is that the US is already funding the opposition through USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy, and subverting the democratic process in Bolivia.
The current Government of Bolivia was democratically elected in 2005 with 54% of the votes with the next largest party gaining 29%. Since the very beginning, the opposition has boycotted the elected government, evidently because the process launched by the new Government threatens the privileges of the wealthy minority that has been exploiting the Bolivian people for centuries. Now they have called for an illegal referendum for “autonomy” which is really a call for secession, so they can regain control over what belongs to the whole country.
How would the United States react if a minority did not accept the democratically elected government and instead of participating in a process decided by the majority of people, tried to divide the country? Imagine if a small group of New Yorkers decided to separate from the country and unilaterally called for a vote in defiance of the electoral (Supreme?) court. How would the U.S. Government react, if such a minority were to try to block the process of a Constitutional Assembly, using every available means, including physical violence and the spread of hatred and misinformation?
As U.S. citizens and Humanists, we demand that our government stop interfering and respect the integrity of the democratic process in Bolivia. Among other achievements, this process aims to end the centuries-long exploitation of this country by the European and North American powers, and we believe that it is a historical debt that the U.S. now has the chance to repay. But the disingenuous declaration of the Ambassador, coupled with U.S. support for the secessionist elite, shows that the U.S. is not interested in real democracy and human rights, but in continuing its policy of exploitation of the people of Bolivia. Beyond recognizing the legitimacy of the Morales government, the U.S. should keep its hands off.
The process led by President Evo Morales would have made the Founding Fathers proud. In only two years, he has kept every one of his campaign promises. He has recovered control of the country’s resources, placed the needs of the people as the top priority and given a model of Non-Violence to the entire world by constitutionally renouncing War as a way of resolving conflicts. Instead of supporting yet another anti-humanist dictatorship in Latin America, why not learn from this example of non-violent, democratic change? Why not support an advanced humanist movement (not advanced in technology, but in human terms) that shows a new path for redressing age-old wrongs and opens the way to a more just, peaceful and secure future for all.