“To address current global crises, everyone has to play a role and we must build and strengthen policies of complementarity that are born from the civilizing horizon of the indigenous peoples, such as “Living Well”. – Bolivian Vice-President
During his visit to the Netherlands, Vice-President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia H.E. Jilata David Choquehuanca Céspedes spoke about the multiple crises affecting our planet, chief among them the environmental crisis. “If humanity does not wake up, there is no future” – he said, pointing at the role that every individual can have in reversing the current trends.
The message delivered by the Bolivian Vice-President was one that mixed realism and hope. On the one hand, Mr. Choquehuanca Céspedes made it clear that the current circumstances are not easy ones. “Everyone knows that things are not going well, that we are going though multiple crises. The upcoming COP meeting in Egypt will tackle one of the most important ones, that of the environment, which is also tightly linked to others crises like those of food and energy”. On the other hand, however, the Vice-President also sought to convey a message of hope, stressing that “everyone knows that there is now an opportunity to change things, to move away from this path that is leading us to death”.
Bolivia is one of the countries that are most affected by the climate crisis, despite having contributed little to it. “The current global crises – Mr. Choquehuanca Céspedes stressed – are rooted in the implementation of a Western capitalistic developmental model. Developed countries need to take responsibility for their actions. In international fora, as Bolivia we have brought up proposals in this regard”.
Asked about what individuals could do in order to address the current crises, the Vice-President stressed that “We all need to speak out, we cannot stay silent anymore. In Bolivia, for instance, due to the effects of global warming, we have lost a huge part of our mountain glaciers over the last 10 years. Scientists had foreseen this, but no one listened to them, and now that it happened, no one talks about it. We need to talk about these issues, we need spaces for discussion, debate, exchange of experiences, cooperation and creation of new knowledge. These discussions need to start at the local level, at the level of neighborhoods.”
Addressing the current global crises, including the environmental one, is set to be no easy task, as a wide array of actors have vested interests in the current model. Yet, this does not mean that we should not try our best, Mr. Choquehuanca Céspedes stressed. “The stakes are very high. Everything is now at risk, our plants, our mountains, mother earth, life. If the catastrophe is global, everyone will lose – actually, the ones who have the most will also be the ones who lose the most. Our planet is like a plane. Some people are in first class, others in economy class, but if the plane goes down, we all go down with it. We need to awaken everyone’s consciousness, rich and poor people alike. If humanity does not wake up, there is no future”.
Vice-President Choquehuanca Céspedes stressed that there are already active movements that seek to counter the dominance of the current global economic model and its disastrous effects on the planet. “In many places, people are implementing what is called a circular economy – that is, an economy of non-accumulation, of redistribution. This redistribution should involve not only wealth, but also power: power needs to flow around and circulate, it cannot be concentrated into the hands of a few”.
In these efforts, the Vice-President stressed, “everyone has to play a role”. “In the past, there was discrimination and exclusionary dynamics, as people thought that men were superior to women, that city dwellers were better than peasants, that Europeans were better than Southern Americans, or that educated people were better than non educated people.
They had us believe these lies, but we know that these are lies. In reality, no one is superior to anyone else – we all are how we are, and we are all complementary, we all need each other. When one is alone, he or she cannot be complete. In Bolivia, a cultural and democratic revolution is ongoing, where we are doing away with all these forms of discrimination. We are doing away with colonization, with patriarchy. We all have the same responsibilities” – and we all need to work together towards solving the crises that are currently threatening our planet.
Capitalism has created a wasteful, consumerist, exclusive, clientelist civilization that generates opulence and misery, which we urgently need to transform. The planet and humanity are in grave danger of extinction. Forests are in danger, biodiversity is in danger, rivers and oceans are in danger, the earth is in danger. The Plurinational State of Bolivia, echoing the voice of the indigenous peoples of the world, assumes an ethical obligation towards the planet and proposes the need to recover the sense and awareness of unity and belonging to Mother Earth. We are at a crucial moment for the definition of the future of our planet. In our hands and in our consciences lies the responsibility to agree on the path we will follow to guarantee the eradication of poverty and the redistribution of wealth, as well as the creation and strengthening of our social, material and spiritual conditions to live in harmony and balance with nature.
We must build and strengthen policies of complementarity that are born from the civilizing horizon of the indigenous peoples, such as “Living Well”. Our vision of Living Well is based on rights and not on the market, it is based on the full realization of the happiness of the people, of the peoples and populations, through the integral fulfillment of the rights of peoples, persons and Mother Earth, in a complementary, inclusive and interdependent manner.