Debt, La Reconquista

An excellent, and, as a friend put it, extremely cathartic, bit of imaginative speech-writing on behalf of Evo Morales:

A European brother, a customs officer, asks me for a written paper with a visa to be able to discover those who discovered me.

A European brother, a usurer, asks me for payment of a debt contracted by Judas, whom I never authorized to sell me.

The European brother pettifogger explains to me that all debts are to be paid with interest, even when human beings and whole countries are sold without asking for their consent.

I am discovering you now .

I, too, can demand repayment, and can also demand interest.

In the Archives of Indies, there is written, page after page, receipt after receipt, signature after signature, that between the years of 1503 and 1660 alone,185,000 kilograms of gold and 16 million kilograms of silver were brought from America to San Lucas de Barrameda.


I will not believe that!

Because that would mean thinking that the Christian brothers betrayed their Seventh Commandment.


Save me Tanatzin, from supposing that the Europeans, like Cain, would kill, and deny the blood of their brother!


That would mean to credit the slanderers, such as Bartolome de las Casas, who define the encounter as the destruction of the Indies, or to extremists such as Arturo Uslar Pietri, who affirms that capitalism and the present European civilization derive from the flood of precious metals!


Those 185,000 kilograms of gold and 16 million kilograms of silver must be considered as the first of many friendly loans from America, destined for the development of Europe.

To say otherwise would be to assume the existence of war crimes, which would give us the right not simply to demand their immediate return, but also indemnification for damages.

I, Evo Morales, prefer to opt for the least offensive of these hypotheses.

Such fabulous exportation of capital was nothing more than the beginning of a “MARSHALLTESUMA” plan to guarantee the reconstruction of barbarian Europe, ruined by her deplorable wars against the learned Moslems, who had created algebra, polygamy, daily baths, and other superior advances of civilization.

This is why, celebrating the Fifth Centenary of the Loan, we can ask ourselves:  Have our European brothers made a rational, responsible, or at least a productive use of the funds so generously advanced to them by the International Indo-American Fund?

Full speech here:

So, the next time the usurers from the IMF or the World Bank show up, ask them to negotiate the return of the wealth of your country plundered during the colonial area.


If you’re from the “Jewel in the Crown“, ask for Tipu Sultan’s throne, the Kohinoor (the Mountain of Light) diamond, the Peacock Throne and all the gold, silver, miscellaneous diamonds, rubies, emeralds, as well as the coal, wheat, cotton, jute, tea and coffee (and God knows what else!) that the British looted from us. In case that sounds obscure to you, let me remind you that one of my friends comes from a village in Sindh, where up until the generation of his great-grandparents, they were all weavers in his family. All of the weavers had their thumbs cut by the British (Pax Brittanica, anyone?) around the turn of the previous century as a means of forced de-industrialisation, so that Indians would be forced to buy the more expensive, much poorer quality and less-suited cloth being produced by the Manchester textile mills – from cotton that was, in any case, taken from India under “trade” arrangements that make the WTO look saintly in comparison. Something very similar happened in Sylhet,  Bengal. Of course, that’s just one illustration, from two small parts of India, concerning one sector of the economy.


These days, as the West is pushing to physically re-conquer its former colonies (France in Mali, NATO still in Afghanistan, the Alliance of the Willing in control in Iraq, another alliance controlling Libya), its consumer-driven economy not satisfied with the returns from the debts it has had the Global South trapped in since nominal independence, it’s generally a good idea, if you don’t live in the West, to be scared, very scared. And to strap up.


If you do live in the West, and wonder what the hell is going on, please don’t fool yourself that yours or, in case your country doesn’t actually have that kind of muscle, the American military can or even needs to save the world or reform any “Oriental” or “backward” or “indigenous” culture. If you really, truly want to act in solidarity with the oppressed and exploited, I’d recommend starting here:

  1. Reduce your consumption, especially of manufactured goods, especially those that use ingredients/components far away from where you live. Good for Mother Earth, good for those hanging on in the Third World.
  2. Join a Consumer-Supported Agriculture (CSA) cooperative and/or take other steps to get close to nature and to the processes by which your food ends up in your plate. In Lausanne, have a look at Le Jardin Potager, or Le Panier Bio A Deux Roues. There are quite a few others. And it’s a concept that’s even more popular in other European countries. Explore, compare and join up! If you’re wondering why, have a gander at some of the films in this list.
  3. Join consumer boycotts of grossly unethical companies like Nestlé, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Nike, McDonald’s. For starters, that is. You might also want to read up about big pharma and the struggle in South and South-East Asia to establish independent pharmaceutical industries and produce cheaper generic medicines.
  4. Use alternative financial institutions, e.g. the Alternative Bank in Switzerland. Wikipedia contributors have compiled this non-exhaustive list.
  5. Work for the replacement of the WTO regime with something more along the lines of Mercosur.
  6. If you like travelling, serve as human rights observers, for example, in Palestine, in Honduras or with the Chiapas in Mexico. For example, with PeaceWatch or with the ISM.
  7. If you’re not into travelling, join campaigns against discrimination within your democratic Western society, whether based on sexual orientation, origin, sex, age or any other factor.
  8. Support or join squatters as a way of learning and practising the crucial self-reliance and self-organisation needed for freedom from too-large structures. Because:

    As project, as design for a different, less-ugly “world”, the dream is as necessary to political subjects, transformers of the world and not adapters to it, as – may I be permitted the repetition – it is fundamental for an artisan, who projects in her or his brain what she or he is going to execute even before the execution thereof.   That is why, from the viewpoint of the dominant class interests, the less the dominated dream the dream of which I speak, in the confident way of which I speak, and the less they practice the political apprenticeship of committing themselves to a utopia, the more open they will become to “pragmatic” discourses, and the sounder the dominant classes will sleep.

  9. Hence, also worth considering, worker cooperatives.
  10. Join campaigns for basic reforms that would eliminate speculation from commodity markets, crucially in the agricultural and food sectors, while retaining the mechanisms needed to ensure a minimum of predictability for primary producers and wholesale importers.
  11. Think of better ways of socialising than via instant messenger or Facebook. Better ways of living, actually. This experiment, for example, shows lots of promise.
  12. Work on ways to deny access to your life to anonymous commercial or government or even not-for-profit, non-governmental organisations.

And, while you’re at it, you might want to try to push the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, la Republique française, el Reino de España, República Portuguesa, la Repubblica Italiana, het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, le Royaume de Belgique, the United States of America (e.g. , the “Red Indian” tribes, the Philippines, Panama, Cuba, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq) and the Zionist occupation of Palestine, among others, to repay their historic debts. That would be kind of sweet 😉

Meantime, down south, these guys have some interesting ideas and information to share: Antanas Mockus, Paulo Freire, Aimé Césaire, CLR James


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