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Evo Morales in His Own Words

The Bolivian President, in his first visit to Washington, talks about visible change

WASHINGTON - n his first visit to Washington, Bolivian President Evo Morales, addressed the Organization of American States (OAS) and a standing-room only audience of diplomats, scholars and students at the American University. Central to his talks were the nationalization of oil revenues and the effective management of natural resources as a stimulus to social/educational programs.

In ground breaking policy changes Morales has shifted the distribution of oil revenue to 82% for the state and 18% for the companies, a change that he says has "improved the national economy". In 2005 the state received $300 million in oil and gas revenue as a result of his shift, last year they received 2 billion dollars. "This money allows us to increasingly solve our problems (by) distributing (it) in local governments, municipalities and public universities," says Morales.

Speaking on environmental matters, Morales sees South America as a possible example for the international stage if they can unite on the effective management of natural resources. Morales states, "Latin America can be a source of hope for humanity. If we organize ourselves to take care of the Amazon rain forest, Latin America will be a solution for humanity on this planet."

He announced with conviction and pride for his country that he came to speak in the U.S. to "thank the international community for recognizing (that) we were right in Bolivia."

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