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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU congratulates President Evo Morales

14 October 2014

The Congress of South African Trade Unions congratulates socialist Bolivian President Evo Morales on his third overwhelming election victory on Sunday 12 October 2014.

Comrade Morales, a former farm worker and indigenous leader, won over 60 percent of the vote to win his third term in power since 2006, against only 25 percent for his main opponent, businessman Samuel Doria Medina.

The landslide win by his Movement Toward Socialism party will confound all those conservative forces who say that policies of expanding the state`s role, nationalising key industries like oil and gas, building new roads and schools and reducing poverty through welfare programmes would be doomed to failure and growing unpopularity.

On the contrary he has done all these things and at the same time delivered economic growth averaging above 5 percent a year, and has even won praise from Wall Street bankers for running fiscal surpluses. The number of Bolivians living in extreme poverty has fallen to one in five from more one in three of the population in 2006.

His campaign posters carried the slogan “With Evo we`re doing well”. His popularity was illustrated by Flavia Nunez, a 50-year-old office clerk, who told Reuters news agency: “I voted for Morales. These other right-wing candidates would take us back in time. I don`t want that.”

Morales now intends to extend his ‘indigenous socialism’ programme. He declared to cheering supporters from the balcony of the presidential palace: “This was a debate on two models: nationalisation or privatisation? Nationalisation won, with more than 60 percent. This win is a triumph for anti-imperialists and anti-colonialists” - and he dedicated his victory to Cuba`s former communist leader Fidel Castro.
After his second victory in 2008, COSATU called on the world working class, the unions, and progressive organisations “to express immediate, effective and strong solidarity with the people of Bolivia, who democratically elected Evo Morales as the country`s President”. We can repeat that call today with even greater force.

Bolivia is one of seven major Latin American countries now governed by left or centre left governments; the others are Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, and Peru. Increasingly this bloc of progressive states (despite some differences between them) is characterised by:
- A rapidly expanding state role in the economy, with strategic ownership of key sectors, and an active industrial policy;
- Active promotion of social ownership, particularly through a huge increase in co-operatives;
- Pursuit of more expansionary macro-economic approaches;
- Progressive interventions to transform the labour market, by formalising employment, combating atypical work, raising wage levels and increasingly, promoting collective bargaining.
In South Africa these achievements are a conclusive answer to all those conservatives and liberals who keep arguing that COSATU’s call for a radical transformation of the economy, a national minimum wage, comprehensive social security and an end to the two-tier service delivery system is unrealistic, has never worked anywhere else and is bound to fail here.
Evo Morales victory is conclusive proof that they are wrong and it will inspire COSATU to campaign with even greater vigour to take this programme forward.
Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Streets

P.O.Box 1019
South Africa

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339
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E-Mail: patrick@cosatu.org.za