Photo: Jorge Luis González

Speech by the Secretary of the Council of State, Homero Acosta Álvarez, during the presentation ceremony of the José Martí Order to Evo Morales Ayma, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia in Havana, May 20, 2016, “Year 58 of the Revolution”.

(Council of State transcript / GI translation)

Compañero Evo Morales Ayma, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia;

Compañero Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba;

Distinguished members of the Bolivian delegation;

Compañeras and compañeros:

The Council of State of the Republic of Cuba, at the proposal of its President, has agreed to award the José Martí Order to compañero Evo Morales Ayma, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, by virtue of his outstanding achievements, his values and his commitment to his people and the integration of Our America.

From a very humble, campesino background, a trade union leader, member of parliament, protagonist of struggles against neoliberalism and the plunder of natural resources, brother Evo is a genuine representative of his people, of the indigenous, the campesinos, miners, workers and social movements that promote and defend the interests and aspirations of the masses.

For more than a decade he has led the Democratic and Cultural Revolution that has transformed his country, building, together with his people, a more just and sovereign homeland.

The Plurinational State of Bolivia, which he founded, is no longer the poorest nation in South America, in which a third of the population lived in conditions of poverty and neglect. Bolivia today has sustained growth rates and development, significant progress in terms of equity, health and education, and is an example of the successful application of inclusive social policies. For the first time in history, the many indigenous peoples and cultures that make up this nation, see their rights recognized, actively participate in political life and are an inseparable part of society and the state.

President Evo also stands out for his international leadership in the defense of the culture and rights of indigenous peoples worldwide and Pachamama or Mother Earth.

From our apostle José Martí, we learned that “Our America, must save herself through her Indians,” and that the good ruler would not be one “who understands how the Germans or the French govern themselves, but the one who knows with which elements his or her country is constituted, and how to guide them together.”

President Evo Morales has contributed and contributes greatly to the salvation of Our America, to the conquest of its definitive independence and to Latin American and Caribbean integration.

President Evo:

Cuba has been honored with your friendship since the difficult years when, as leader of the social movements, you faced the dangers that fighting for justice and the welfare of your noble people entails.

Your close friendship with the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, compañero Fidel Castro, is an expression of the historic and indestructible bonds of brotherhood and solidarity that unite our peoples and pay homage to the Bolivians and Cubans who fought together under the leadership of Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara.

Please accept, brother President Evo, the highest decoration awarded by our homeland, which bears the name of the National Hero of Cuba. May this recognition also serve as a sign of the respect and affection of the Cuban people for the Bolivian people, for Bolivia and for you.