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Bolivian President Evo Morales at Cancún Climate Summit: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal “Diplomacy of Empire”

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Speaking at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, Bolivian President Evo Morales warned against throwing out the Kyoto Protocol, saying such a move could result in ecocide or genocide. Bolivia has become a leading critic of how the climate talks have developed and of last year’s U.S.-backed Copenhagen Accord. At a news conference, Morales also talked about U.S. dispatches on Bolivia unearthed by WikiLeaks and his response to recent criticism from Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa. [includes rush transcript]

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s climate countdown. We’re broadcasting from Cancún, Mexico. In a speech at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, Bolivian President Evo Morales warned Thursday against throwing out the Kyoto Protocol, saying such a move could result in ecocide or genocide. Bolivia has become a leading critic of how the climate talks have developed and of last year’s U.S.-backed Copenhagen Accord.

Soon after Morales spoke, I had a chance to ask him a question at a news conference. He was also asked to respond to recent criticism from Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! in the United States. A State Department cable was recently leaked by WikiLeaks that quotes a top White House official saying that countries like Bolivia and Ecuador and others need to be neutralized, co-opted or marginalized. I wanted to get your comment on this, on the fact that the U.S. cut off funding for Bolivia after you refused to sign the Copenhagen Accord, and where you think the Cancún accord is going and needs to go.

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Well, the topic of WikiLeak, the WikiLeak documents, WikiLeaks, we realize how espionage from the U.S. government takes place, before Obama and after Obama. Happily, we are not sorry, because there is a stop to this type of imposition — espionage, threats, intimidation — trying to break up the economies and the policies and also our identities. Happily and timely, we announce this constantly. I am happy to have started to provide dignity to the people of Bolivia, men and women.

In the fourth conference of the defense minister of America, where the Secretary of Defense of the U.S. was present in Santa Cruz last month, I decided two things. It’s Evo’s knee or the dignity of the people. I prefer the dignity of the people than Evo’s knee, to tell you the truth. And after that comes this information from WikiLeaks confirming everything that we denounced before that, that’s the diplomacy of the empire. They try to shut down, to persuade, by using some presidents from Latin America. I am certain that they have an intention, and their intention is to generate lack of trust — Evo with Cristina, Evo with Chávez, or Evo with Correa. At this time, we are no longer children, and we are not small. That will not generate any lack of trust. That will not generate any confrontation between presidents. I respect and admire Cristina, the president of Argentina, as well as our colleague Chávez, Correa, Lula.

They said that they had — he had a tumor on the nose because he had a problem in the nose, but not a tumor. I reached the conclusion that the intelligence agents from the U.S. lack intelligence. And they speak foolishness that I have a tumor. They want to cause damage. They won’t be able to do it. But these type of operations will continue, of course, although we have started to provide dignity to the people of Bolivia, men and women, no matter the fact that we are a country that is labeled as underdeveloped or developing, well above whatever our economic, cultural situation is. Above all of that, there’s our dignity.

And I’m not sorry for having expelled the U.S. ambassador at the time when we expelled the U.S. ambassador. Since then, there’s no conspiracy against democracy. There’s no more attempts of coup d’état. What our journalist friends have to know is that wherever the U.S. government has monopolic interests through their ambassadors, there’s no guarantee neither of democracy, there’s no guarantee for development, there’s no guarantee of the integration of peoples. Whether Obama accepts it or not, with the U.S., with the American empire, we are three to one, if we talk about democracy. We must recognize, with the coup d’état in Honduras, Obama beat us. But the empire has lost in Venezuela, in Bolivia and in Ecuador with their attempted coups d’état. That the Latin American people is beating the empire three to one goals, that’s good. They will always — we’ll always have one goal against us, but that’s the U.S.

And then WikiLeak is mentioned [inaudible]. They can do it; it’s their right. If we were not in government, we would also be organized to permanently fight against capitalism, neoliberalism, against colonialism. That’s our right that we have. But they are not even able to control their intelligence, their forms of control or their forms of espionage. I believe that even in that situation, the U.S. is decadent.

REPORTER: [translated] From Millennial paper in Mexico, Mario Vargas Llosa has just said that you headed a government which was a joke, you were the clown. He considers you a clown. Two, regarding the Kyoto Protocol, the Mexican chancellor and the United Nations secretary for the environment, they say that due to the polarization of the parties, that’s why they are trying to find a midpoint, so that the Kyoto Protocol doesn’t die completely. What do you think about these two positions?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Now, regarding Vargas Llosa, I believe that sometimes Nobel Prize laureates of economics — economy, physics, the Nobel Peace Prize laureates, those prizes are for people who are political dissidents. I don’t understand that a writer, a novelist, can make these type of comments, but indigenous peoples have always been victims of some educated people, some writers or some novelists. Patience, to be able to be resilient to discrimination — how can somebody receive a Nobel Prize, somebody who refers to me as a clown? If you talk about a person is a clown to my brothers at the grassroots, how will they see this writer? The world people should wonder what kind of people are receiving Nobel awards. We leave this for the debate and analysis of the peoples of the world.

We have learned how to [inaudible] country or death. It’s for country, and therefore, now we are no longer saying country, or that now it’s planet, or that either capitalism dies or Mother Earth dies. We were trying to find — if we try to find an intermediate exit is to try to make fools of ourselves, trying to find some kind of compromise using some indigenous brothers to convince with carbon bombs or with resources, that’s practically tried to cheat mankind and cheat the hopes that the peoples of the world have placed here in Cancún.

AMY GOODMAN: Bolivian President Evo Morales speaking yesterday at a news conference after his speech at the plenary of the U.N. summit on climate change. He was translated.

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