Search in blog

[e-mail us]

The Sixth
La Sexta
Las Voces de La Otra Campaña
Ke Huelga
del rompecabezas
de la otra

Audios y textos por estado
visor hibrido de noticias
La Otra en La Jornada

Immigrant Solidarity Network
School Walkouts info
Detention Watch Network
Immigrant Rights @
NO HR4437 Network
Immigrant @ indybay
Migración @ La Jornada (México)
Los Angeles
Mujerez de Maiz
East Side Cafe
South Central Farmers
Casa del pueblo
Cop Watch
La Otra Orange County
La Otra en el Otro Lado
Estación Libre
Con Safos
Informate, Organiza, y Lucha
San Diego / Tijuana / Ensenada / Cucapás
Telesecundaria Cucapá (El Mayor)
La Otra Tijuana
La Otra Ensenada
Las Otra San Diego
Organic Collective
San Francisco
Chiapas Support Committee
Radio Zapatista
Caracol de la misión
Nueva York
Movimiento por la Justicia en el Barrio Notas en detod@s-paratod@s
Encuentro Gathering
Salón Chingón
La Otra Chicago
Otros en EE.UU.
Others in the US
El Kilombo Intergalactico
(Durham, North Carolina)
(Washington DC)
Chiapas 95
Accion Zapatista
Mexico Solidarity Network
Red de Solidaridad con México
Community to Community
(Bellingham, WA)
enlace zapatista
My Word is my Weapon
La Sexta
Palabra Zapatista
Centro de documentación sobre zapatismo
La Jornada
sin fronteras
The Sixth
Encuentro (NY)
Zapatistas in Cyberspace

Enlace Zapatista

La Jornada > Cobertura de "La otra campaña"

Nodos Comunes

.. Caosmosis ..

Rage One (blog)

viernes, junio 20, 2008

Letter by Evo Morales concerning the “Return Directive”

(Translated by Diogo Denczuk and Mario Galván)

Until the end of the World War II, Europe was a continent of emigrants. Tens of millions of Europeans left for the Americas to colonize, to escape from the famines, financial crises, and wars, or from the European totalitarianisms and from the persecution of ethnic minorities.

Today, I am following with concern the process of the so-called “Return Directive.” The text, validated last June 5th by the Ministers of the Interior of the 27 countries of European Union, has to be voted on June 18th in the European Parliament. I feel that it hardens drastically the conditions of detention and expulsion for undocumented migrants, whatever their time of residency in European countries, their labor situation, their family ties, and their efforts at integration.

Europeans arrived in the countries of Latin America and North America by the millions, without visas or conditions imposed by the authorities. They were always welcome, and they continue to be, in our countries of the American continent that absorbed the economic misery of Europe and its political crises. They came to our continent to exploit wealth and to transfer it to Europe, at an extremely high cost to the original populations of the Americas. As in the case of our Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain) of Potosí, whose fabulous silver mines permitted a flow of weath to the European continent from the 16th century until the 19th. The persons, goods, and the rights of the European migrants were always respected. Today, the European Union is the main destination of the migrants of the world, a consequence of its positive image as a place of prosperity and public freedom. The immense majority of migrants come to the EU to contribute to this prosperity, not to take advantage of it.

They occupy jobs in public works, construction, in human services and hospitals that Europeans can’t do or don't want. They contribute to the demographic dynamism of the European continent, maintaining the relationship between active and inactive that makes possible their generous social security systems, and energizing the internal market and social cohesion. Migrants offer a solution to the demographic and financial problems of the EU.

For us, our emigrants represent the help to our development that the Europeans don't give us – since few countries really achieve the minimum objective of 0.7% of their GDP in foreign aid to support development. In 2006, Latin America received $68,000 million in remittances, more than the total of foreign investments in our countries. At the global level, remittances reached $300,000 million, surpassing the $104,000 million given as foreign aid to support development. My own country, Bolivia, received more than 10% of its GDP in remittances ($1,100 million), the equivalent of a third of our annual exports of natural gas. In summary, migration flows are very beneficial for Europeans, and for us in the Third World as well, but to a lesser degree, since we also lose millions of our skilled workers, in whom one way or another our states, although poor, have invested human and financial resources.

Regrettably, the “Return Directive” complicates this reality terribly. If we conceive that each State or group of States can define its migratory policies in complete sovereignty, we cannot accept that the fundamental rights of persons are refused to our countrymen and Latin American brothers and sisters. The “Return Directive” holds out the possibility of up to 18 months imprisonment of undocumented migrants before their expulsion or “estrangement”, according to the terms of the directive. 18 months! Without trial nor justice! As it stands today, the proposed text of the directive clearly violates Articles 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights of 1948. In particular, Article 13 of the Declaration says:

"1. Every person is entitled to circulate freely and to choose their
residence in the territory of a State.
2. Every person is entitled to leave any country, even their own,
and to return to their country."

And, worst of all, the possibility exists of imprisoning mothers and children, without taking into account their family or school situation, in these internment centers where we know that depression, hunger strikes, and suicides happen. How can we accept without reacting that our undocumented countrymen and Latin American brothers and sisters are concentrated in these camps, the immense majority of whom have spent years working and becoming part of their new society? On what side today is the duty of humanitarian intervention? Where is the "freedom of circulation", the protection against arbitrary imprisonment?

At the same time, the European Union is trying to convince the Andean Community of the Nations (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) to sign an “Agreement of Association” that includes a Free Trade Treaty, of same kind as those that the United States imposes. We are under intense pressure from the European Commission to accept conditions of profound liberalization of trade, financial services, intellectual property, and of our public services. In addition, in the name of “legal protection” we are pressured over the process of nationalization of water, gas and telecommunications carried out on World Workers Day. In that case, I ask, where is the “legal security" for our wives, adolescents, children, and workers that look for better horizons in Europe?

To promote the freedom of circulation of goods and finances, while we see before us imprisonment without trial for our brothers and sisters that tried to circulate freely... That is to negate the fundamentals of freedom and democratic rights. Under these conditions, were this “Return Directive” to be approved, we would find it ethically impossible to continue negotiations with the European Union, and we reserve the right to impose on European citizens the same visa obligations that they have imposed on Bolivians since the first of April 2007, according to the diplomatic principle of reciprocity. We have not exercised it up to now, in the hope of receiving good signs from the EU.

The world, its continents, oceans, and poles know global important difficulties: global warming, contamination, the slow but sure dwindling of energy resources and biodiversity, while hunger and poverty increase in all countries, weakening our societies. To make of migrants, documented or not, the Judas goats of these global problems, is not a solution. Nor does it correspond to any reality. The problems of social cohesion that Europe suffers are not the migrants' fault, but rather the result of the development pattern imposed by the North, that destroys the planet and dismembers the societies of men.

In name of the people of Bolivia, of all my brothers and sisters of the continent and other regions of the world, like the Maghreb and the countries of Africa, I make a call to the conscience of the leaders and European deputies, to the peoples, citizens, and activists of Europe, so that the text of the “Return Directive” is not approved. As we know it today, it is a directive of shame. I also call on the European Union to elaborate, in the coming months, a migratory policy that respects human rights, that maintains this dynamism that is profitable for both continents, that repairs once and for all the tremendous historical, economic and ecological debt that the countries of Europe have with most of the Third World, and that closes at the same time the still open veins of Latin America. You cannot fail today in your “policies of integration" like you failed with your supposed "civilizing mission" in the Colonial Period.

We send you all, authorities, European lawmakers, compañeras y compañeros, fraternal greetings from Bolivia. And especially, our solidarity to all the "clandestinos".

Evo Morales Ayma
Presidente de la República de Bolivia

Printer friendly
Version para Imprimir

From Spanish:

Del inglés: