President Evo Morales is scheduled to address the General Assembly this week in New York and he may be attracting quite a following. The two previous Bolivian presidents, Eduardo Rodriguez and Carlos Mesa both spoke in 2005 and 2004, respectively. The sea revindication issue was usually at the top of the list of topics for Mesa, where he said:
Finally, I would like to mention an issue that we continue to insist upon during our presentations in front of the world here in the heart of the international community – the fact that Bolivia is landlocked has been a factor that has halted our development.
Two years later and Bolivia is no closer to gaining soverign access to the sea. Many hope that the UN is the vehicle to acheive this feat, but no one is holding their breath.
Many more eyes will be on Evo as he makes his first address at the UN. One has to wonder whether he will come with prepared speech in hand or whether he will wing it. According to La Razon, the subject of his talk will be the rights of indigenous communities for self-determination.
One also has to wonder whether Evo, fresh off of his visit to Cuba and the Non-Aligned Countries conference, will rail against the United States and neoliberalism. However, there is also some hope that the pragmatic and conciliatory Evo will show up. The (forced?) resignation of the Minister of Hydrocarbons Andres Soliz Rada because he was a little too radical for the government’s tastes may show a little more realism by this adminstration. Already, Evo has met with former U.S. president Jimmy Carter and is an invited guest at the Clinton Global Initiative.
This upcoming speech is one of the most important of Evo’s tenure as President. Just today, the U.S. released a report criticizing Bolivia’s cooperation on the “War on Drugs”. Even though, as the CIP reports, that the amount of cocaine seized has increased, the control on erradication continues to be lacking. Will the world continue to be fascinated by this phenomenon or will a potentially aggressive address cause many more doubters?