The Canadian New Humanism

May 01, 2008 07:00 ET

Humanists Call on Bernier to Declare Canadian Support for Bolivian Unity

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - May 1, 2008) - In a letter sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, humanists in Canada have asked Minister Maxime Bernier to make a public statement in favour of Bolivian unity at a critical time in that country's process of democratic transformation.

Powerful economic interests in the resource-rich Santa Cruz department of Bolivia are provoking a division of the country through a fraudulent Referendum for "Autonomy" to be held this Sunday May 4, 2008. While the Bolivian Constitution allows for the organizing of referenda, the National Electoral Court has ruled that the Santa Cruz referendum is totally illegal. Nonetheless, the "referendum" is going ahead.

While the EU, the USA and the Organization of American States have all made statements on the referendum and the crisis it is provoking, Canada has been silent.

"More than a call for 'autonomy', the event on May 4 is is essentially a call for secession - a transparent attempt to retain sole control over the resources that exist to benefit all Bolivians," notes Roberto Verdecchia, Spokesperson for New Humanism in Canada.

"We feel that by speaking out, Canada can make a positive contribution towards a peaceful and constitutional resolution to the current crisis. Canada can certainly speak with some authority on matters of referenda for autonomy and separation."

In spite of Bolivian President Evo Morales having called for dialogue and asking the Church to facilitate, civic leaders in Santa Cruz have refused, preferring to push the country towards confrontation and breakup. With threats, media disinformation and even physical violence, they are circumventing democracy and all legal process.

Faced with these challenges, President Morales has been an inspiring example of non-violence, insisting on dialogue, and adhering to Bolivia's democratic laws.

The letter concludes: "The response that Canada gives now to Bolivia is very important. The Bolivian people need to see that their democracy is respected at the international level. More than just an internal matter of State, the crisis in Bolivia should be of concern to all who believe in democracy, social justice, and the right of the people to choose a new future through non-violent means."

Iin 2005, with an overwhelming 54% majority, Evo Morales became the first indigenous President of Bolivia, the poorest country in South America.

Contact Information

  • The Canadian New Humanism - Toronto
    Roberto Verdecchia
    The Canadian New Humanism - Montreal
    Anne Farrell