Castro Hails Bolivian President-Elect's 'Historic Victory'

By Sherrie Gossett | July 7, 2008 | 8:17 PM EDT

( - Cuban President Fidel Castro hailed Bolivian president-elect Evo Morales' election as the "emancipation" of a people whom "colonialism and racism wanted to crush and wipe out."

Castro's message, posted in Spanish last week on Cuba's state-run newspaper site,, called the outcome "the hour of the true discovery of America," which came after "half a millennium of genocide."

The "true discovery of America" is one of "indigenous America, of Black America, of mestizo America, of the America of Bol?var and Mart? that today is everywhere proclaiming its definitive and unrenounceable independence," Castro wrote.

The Cuban leader cited "tremendous obstacles" and "pressures of empire" that were allegedly brought to bear on the election to "frustrate the will of your people."

Those culpable wanted to "continue to strip Bolivia of its immense natural resources" and are "responsible for the tremendous misery, oppression and discrimination imposed for centuries on a noble and rebellious people that has never stopped fighting for freedom and justice," he added.

Castro wrote that millions of Quechuas, Aymaras, Guaranies, Chiquitanos and other native peoples of Bolivia had always been excluded from a political system that was the legacy and continuation of colonial servitude.

The Cuban leader called on all people to "reject imperialist threats" while praising the election outcome as a "historic victory" and proof that "a better world is possible."

The message was written and posted after the Cuban parliament unanimously agreed on Dec. 22 to send a congratulatory message to the Bolivian president-elect. The letter was signed by Castro and Ricardo Alarc?n, Cuba's vice president and president of its national assembly.

The staff of the Daily Journal, a Caracas, Venezuela-based source of English-language news for the communities of Andean Pact countries, translated the letter into English.

Morales, who has described himself as an admirer of Castro, is scheduled to visit Cuba on Friday.

An Aymara Indian coca farmer and former protest leader, the 46-year-old Morales won election with approximately 54 percent of the vote. Final results will be confirmed on Jan. 13, and Morales will begin his term nine days later.

Eight more presidential elections are slated to take place in Latin America this year, and some political analysts are predicting the region will continue to shift to the left. Countries that will hold presidential elections in 2006 include Costa Rica, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

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