MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md., July 13, 2013 — One of the most incredible and embarrassing actions in the last decades occurred when Boliva’s President Evo Morales was denied passage over most of the European countries.
He was on his way back to Bolivia after a meeting in Russia. He was finally allowed to refuel in the Canary Islands on June 30, 2013. This action was taken on the suspicion that Edward Snowden had been hidden in the president’s plane.
Whether the U.S. had something to do with this violation of International Diplomacy has not been revealed. Many believe that the denial had been inspired or suggested by the U.S. government.
The least that can be done after this gaffe is for all countries involved to offer a public apology to President Evo Morales as head of state of a sovereign country. He also happens to be the first Native American to have been elected to the presidency in modern times.
On the same day, June 30, President Morales gave a speech in Spanish to the representatives of the European Union that has been widely circulated in Latin American countries. In simple words and without fanfare, he gave an alternative view (a Native American view?) of the economic relationship between the Americas (mostly South and Central America) and Europe. Evo’s speech appears to be based on others that he has given and/or on speeches by other Native American leaders.
He concentrated on the 185,000 Kg. of gold and 16,000,000 Kg. of silver that the Europeans extracted from the Americas between 1503 and 1660. This period started only eleven years after Columbus “discovered” the Americas. (Columbus was rescued by Native Americans on October 12, 1492 when lost, almost without provisions and facing a revolt. European public relations turned the rescue into a discovery.)
Evo sees this unimaginable fortune as a loan that Native Americans, who had been in this hemisphere for 40,000 years, gave to the Europeans to help them recover “barbaric Europe” from internal wars. He calls it “MARSHALLTESUMA.” He figures that even at relatively low interest and forgiving two hundred years of the loan term, the Europeans owe the Native Americans an amount that would need “300 digits to write”.
President Evo Morales admonishes his fellow Latin Americans to sue Europe for these sums in the International Courts. Maybe the Europeans hoped to stop the whole movement by causing havoc with Evo’s plane home.
He also indicates that he would not mention the word “genocide” but many think that Europeans and their descendants did commit genocide of the Native American population. Some even think it was worse than superficially believed. Other good references are in previous 21st Century Pacifist columns on the Mapuche and Potosí.
Anyone familiar with history also knows that the Americas gave Europe other items that have been to their extreme benefit like potatoes and corn.
Of course some would say that the loans that the bookkeepers in Europe want to collect from poor countries in the Americas (and for that matter all over the world) don’t have anything to do with how badly Native Americans were treated by their ancestors. One could liken these retribution payments to those on the Nazis after WW2, on Castro after he nationalized American companies and on American slave owners. Of course, none of these were paid.
I leave it up to the readers to determine in their minds whether Morales has a point. Is there any obligation on current Europeans to repay the economic gains attained during the conquest of the Americas?
Please read the 21st Century Pacifist’s musing in Communities or visit him in Facebook (Mario Salazar) or on Twitter (@chibcharus).
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