5:30 p.m. May 2, 2008
Bolivia’s Foreign Minister, David Choquehuanca asked the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OEA) for unconditional support of the constitutional government of President Evo Morales and democratic institutions, and that it censure the May 4th referendum in Santa Cruz, as an act incompatible with the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which could provoke a rupture in Bolivia’s constitutional order and territorial integrity.
In an extraordinary session of the Permanent Council which took place in Washington D.C., Choquehuanca delivered a message to the OAS delegates from President Evo Morales: We’ve believed, we believe and we will continue to believe in the OAS.”
The Bolivian Foreign Minister asked for support for the country’s constitutional government and democratic institutions and requested a declaration in defense of Bolivia’s territorial integrity.
Choquehuanca said that the Morales government hoped to find a peaceful exit to the political crisis and believed that the efforts of the OAS, in a third attempt, could open the doors to dialogue before the May 4th referendum pushed by the Prefecture and the Santa Cruz Civic Committee.
The government also believed that the word of the Catholic church would be listened to; that the efforts of friendly countries in the region and the declarations of the international community, the voices of CAN (the Andean Community), UNASUR (Union of South American Nations), the European Union, the Rio Group, the Non-Aligned Countries and personalities around the world could help initiate a dialogue.
“Everyone has expressed their concern for the unconstitutionality and illegality of the referendum promoted by the Prefecture and the Civic Committee, over the danger of approving a statute that violates the constitution and puts the democracy and stability of Bolivia and the region at risk,” but the intransigence of the opposition sectors blocked a rapprochement, Choquehuanca stressed.
Reiterating that the Morales government would always be prepared to respect life, democracy and its institutions, and viewed dialogue as the only way to resolve problems. But in Bolivia a new and dangerous political phenomenon is taking place, which is the attempt to use a popular referendum to achieve an anti-democratic and anti-constitutional objective whose result would negate every principle of the institution of democracy, with dire consequences for democracy.
The OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, recognized that Sunday’s referendum in Santa Cruz could lead to undesirable consequences.
He and other regional representatives are concerned about three serious dangers: that the conflict could lead to a division of the country; that the conflict could generate a break with democracy, the basis of the principles in the Inter-American Democratic Charter; and that this process could lead to a prolonged period of violence.
Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.