This is such a nice shot of Ollanta and Evo that I was tempted to save it for Friday. But the story that goes with it is too hot to sit on for three whole days, so here it is:
The president-elect of Peru, Ollanta Humala, said on Tuesday in Bolivia that he dreamed of one homeland, united, as it had been for centuries.
In a speech at a luncheon given by Bolivian president Evo Morales, along with representatives of government ministries, social organizations, the military and the diplomatic corps, the dignitary emphasized that he was talking about a single nation, a single country.
Humala also said that Latin America is changing thanks to its peoples and their new leaders — a continent, he said, with Amazonia, the largest freshwater reserve, but with unequal distribution of these and other natural resources.
In this spirit, Humala called upon Morales to work with him to create economic policies that create more integration, development, and to solve the principal problems of the sectors historically marginalized by previous governments.
Hours before returning to his country, Humala explained that the tour he had begun, which had previously taken him to Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, and which will take him in turn to Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and the United States, is to send a message of unity.
He said of his upcoming inauguration, slated for July 28, that he would only serve the people, and not the economic powers.
Humala criticized previous governments, who forged a state in republican days that only attended to 30 percent of the population and neglected the remaining 70 percent, who remained cut off and marginalized, mostly in rural areas.
He also praised the possibilities of Bolivia, demonstrated at that same luncheon, where indigenous dignitaries sat at the same table as uniformed officers, executive authorities, legislators and diplomats.
For his part, Bolivian president Evo Morales stated that the current successes in Bolivia were the result of the struggles of the social movements, much as would occur in Peru.
Morales wished Humala strength for the hard work ahead, above all against those who would try to derail the changes and transformations to come, as had occurred in Bolivia.
When you serve the people, the bases will defend you, Morales added, and remarked: “With the conscience of the people, we will overcome.”
Well. So much for those who think Ollanta will be just more of the same for Peru. Unity with Bolivia and other Latin American countries? A more equal distribution of wealth and resources? More integration and inclusion for the marginalized indigenous? This is definitely not another Twobreakfasts García we’re talking about here, kiddies.
And I don’t think he’s going to be another Lula, as the English-language bizmedia have been trying to position him, either. Lula’s most notable failure? Improving things for the landless peasants of Brazil, who’ve been left to carry on their struggles without him (although things ARE looking up now that former guerrilla Dilma Rousseff is at the helm). Ollanta is definitely sending the message that he’s going to take his cues from his neighbor, Evo, who has succeeded at the so-called impossible.
And the parallels are hard to miss: A poor, marginalized, largely indigenous majority, set against rule by a minority which is mostly white and all of it rich? The situation of both countries was the same for a long time, until Evo broke with it. Bolivia is now on the verge of exiting the poor-country category and entering a solid middle ground. Peru has yet to get there.
But here’s no coincidence: 70% of Peruvians were marginalized. Guess what Ollanta’s current approval rating is? The exact same figure. We know who approves of him already: That same excluded majority. Their reasons for approval are varied, but I think they’d probably like it if he were more like Evo. They can’t have missed the evidence that Bolivia is pulling ahead of Peru in many respects.
I don’t believe there will be an actual dissolution of the borders between Bolivia and Peru, but if the latter can take its cues from the former, it will certainly look as if the two are one.