August 6th is the date that marks the anniversary of the independence of Bolivia in 1825. On this special occasion, ambassador of Bolivia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Mr. Roberto Calzadilla Sarmiento, welcomed other ambassadors and fellow diplomats, representatives of international organizations, Dutch state officials and also native Bolivians to the national day reception.
Presentation of a diversity of good Bolivian wines of altitude and traditional sweet and savory foods were served, while the lovely summer day was brightened by the colorful traditional dancing group, Alma Latina and a classical music ensemble called La Plata. The guests could admire a special photography exhibition by Fransisco Claure “Ajayu” and paintings of Elizabeth Lizaso.
In his welcome speech, the ambassador said to his guests: ‘Today, we are only two years away to celebrate our Bi-centennial, in 2025. We are working for the good relations between Bolivia and the Netherlands but, also in the framework of our multilateral organizations based here in The Hague, the capital of peace and justice.
The Bolivian State is promoting the principles and values of culture of peace and diplomacy of living well’. He mentioned that Bolivia is actively promoting human, economic, social, cultural, ethnic and environmental rights, with repudiation of all forms of racism and discrimination, harmony with nature, protection of biodiversity and promotion of food security and sovereignty.
‘Bolivia, as a pacifist and peace supporting country, considers that the only alternative to guarantee a just and lasting peace in various conflicts must be carried along by the use of dialogue and negotiation. Bolivia rejects every war of aggression as a means of resolving differences and conflicts between states.’
The ambassador appreciated the new approach and enhanced attention in the relations between Europe and Latin America, mentioning the recent EU CELAC summit of Heads of State in Brussels (the first in the last 8 years).
‘Today we are experiencing profound changes at the global level, with great risks and challenges, but also with opportunities. We firmly believe that we can and must build better relationships: fairer, more balanced and cooperative, to improve the lives of our people. Bolivia recognizes the important cooperation work developed by the Netherlands in Bolivia during the last decades and this also constitutes an important basis to continue towards a positive and fruitful relationship that has been undertaken in many sectors.
We have started a renewed dialogue and agenda on alternative energy, critical raw materials trade, water, promoting processes of sustainable integral development for life and the promotion of harmony with nature and Mother Earth. During last year it was decided to continue the dialogue for cooperation on energy issues and the importance of lithium, and it was agreed to carry out a process of joint work to establish a reference framework through an updated Agreement that includes synergies between the two countries’.
While mentioning the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute, the ambassador said that Bolivia finally ended, 7 months ago, at the International Court of Justice, the dispute regarding the status and use of the Silala Waters, initiated by Chile in 2016.
Bolivia has been working together with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to implement the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The last chemical weapons from the stockpiles declared by all States Parties were destroyed on July 7th 2023 in Kentucky, a major achievement for a peaceful world and also a historic success of multilateralism in the field of disarmament, as work of a full generation of diplomats and experts, over the past 26 years.
When talking about Bolivia’s economic achievements, Mr. Calzadilla Sarmiento proudly mentioned Bolivia’s exports of natural gas, silver, zinc, lead, tin, gold, quinoa, soybeans, lithium carbonate and potassium chloride, which reached almost 14 billion USD, attaining record levels.
The Social Community Productive Economic Model and the measures that have been implemented and have made it possible to return to the path of economic grouwth with social justice.
In this sense, it is important to highlight the following data: the growth of the Bolivian economy in 2022 reached 3.5%. The Nominal GDP increased from $US40,703 in 2021 to US$ 44.315 in 2022. GDP per capita reached $US 3,691 the highest in Bolivia’s history.
With 23 million tonner, Bolivia has become the world’s largest lithium reserve of the planet. For the next few years, the Government is guaranteeing an accelerated investment of around 3 billion dollars.
As President Arce at the recent Summit of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Bolivia is open to foreign investment, but on the basis of a sovereign model that guarantees control of resources and industrialization in our country for the fair distribution of fincome in favour of the whole country.
There are times of commemoration and celebration, but, above all, of commitment to the deepening of democracy, social justice, the rule of law and the search for developement, and better days for all.
On little more time, in just two years, on August 6 2025, Bolivia will celebrate the bicentenary of its independence with the challenge of building a country for all, more inclusive, participatory, participative and all, more plural, diverse, without exclusions, divisions, confrontations, social polarisation, and racism. It its 200 years of independence life, we will have to reflect on what country we want for all of us, for our children and to guarantee a sustainable future, with a fairer access to Vivir Bien to rights, to natural resources and in harmony with Mother Earth.”
The evening was a nice and merry celebration of international friendship. Cheers to you, Bolivia.