Evo Morales commenced his speech at the Faculty of Political Science at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid by reading the sentence handed down to Tupac Katari, a native who rebelled against colonial power. He was sentence to be quartered, or executed by being torn into four parts by his extremities. Reading the words that Tupac Katari spoke before dying, he said: “I die, but I shall return by the millions,” and, Morales added, “and the millions are now in Bolivia, at the head of the social movements.” The lecture was given a few minutes after the unveiling of a mural in that faculty in memory of the indigenous leader.
In a clear and direct speech, as is customary for him, President Morales proceeded to review his political project. While certain groups attempt to portray the Bolivian process as exclusively indigenous, he emphasized that it is an inclusive project, “The Multinational State of Bolivia is not just for natives, it’s for mestizos, for our Afro-Bolivian brothers and sisters, for everybody…”
Once again, during this visit to Spain, Evo highlighted a difficulty for the Bolivian process, an inheritance from colonialism according to Morales: people’s mentalities. “Help us change our mentalities,” he asked, “it is easy to change rules and procedures, but what we can’t change is each person’s individual mentality: selfishness, individualism, ambition, even corruption,… We study to make money, not to serve our countries.”
He admitted what everyone knew: he lacked a university education, but he elaborated: “I learn from contact with the people, from listening to the people, sharing in order to better serve the people of Bolivia. Governing is simple: it’s a matter of taking initiatives, of listening to proposals.”
The hard part, according to Evo, is responding to the economic demands of those who defend capitalism. “Look,” he stated flatly, “neoliberalism is not a solution for humanity.” Again he stressed an idea that he iterates in all of his speeches, which is one of his current priorities, the defense of Mother Earth. It is a priority conceived in the interests of future generations and which, at the same time, also links up with the deepest roots of Andean culture.
Morales concluded his speech with a pledge: “I feel that we are not alone in Bolivia, or in Spain, or Europe… This commits me to work harder not just for Bolivians, but also to foster collective policies to save Humanity.
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*(Translation provided by Patrick C. Yancey)*