New President and Vice President Address People of Bolivia
November 8, 2020. Inaugural address by President Luis Arce.
TML Weekly is
printing for readers' information unofficial English translations of
President Luis Arce's inaugural address and the speech of Vice
President David Choquehuanca delivered at the Plurinational Legislative
Assembly on November 8. Links to videos of the speeches being delivered
in Spanish are provided at the end of the text.
Inaugural Speech of Luis Arce,
President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia
Honour and Glory to our ancestors who always
Honour and Glory to all the martyrs of the
Honour and Glory to the fallen in Senkata,
Sacaba, El Pedregal!
Honour and Glory to the heroes of the people who
Greetings to the Bolivian people, to brother Vice
President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia,
and President of the Plurinational Legislative
Assembly, brother, jilata David
To the brothers, King Felipe VI of Spain, Felipe
de Borbón and Grecia; President of the Republic of
Argentina, Alberto Fernández; President of the
Republic of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez;
President of the Republic of Colombia, Iván Duque
Márquez; President of the Council of Ministers of
Peru, Walter Roger Martos Ruiz; Second Vice
President of Spain, Mr. Pablo Iglesias.
To the foreign ministers of the Islamic Republic
of Iran, the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Republic
of Chile, Almuhamed Al Jasmi, delegate of His
Highness, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al
Nahayan, President of the United Arab Emirates.
To the parliamentarians from sister countries,
official delegates from other countries who are
with us today, General Secretaries of the CAN,
Parlasur; the Ibero-American General Secretary;
ALBA, Inter-American Development Bank;
representatives of international organizations,
the diplomatic corps accredited in Bolivia;
election observers; the President of the Senate;
the President of the Chamber of Deputies; to all
the senators and deputies.
National and subnational authorities of the
Plurinational State of Bolivia; authorities of the
organs of the State; High Military and Police
Command; democratic former presidents; religious
and spiritual authorities.
Executives of social, peasant, Indigenous and
workers' organizations; representatives of
political parties, the leadership and members of
the Movement Toward Socialism-Political
Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples.
Greetings to the family of our brother, jilata
David Choquehuanca, and a very special greeting to
my family -- for my mother Olga, my wife, Lourdes,
my children: Marcelo, Rafael, Camila.
My grandchildren and my entire family, whom I
thank today from this rostrum for all their
patience and support.
During the years that I was Minister of Economy
and Public Finance, I sacrificed many years with
you, to dedicate myself to serving our country,
and today I ask you for five more years of
patience and tolerance.
The De Facto Government
I greet with much affection all Bolivian women
and men who are accompanying us on this historic
day for the Bolivian people.
As of November 10, 2019, after 21 days in which
the popular will expressed at the polls was hidden
and they came up with a winner, Bolivia was the
scene of an internal and systematic war against
the people, especially against the most humble.
The two tasks that the de facto
government gave itself: pacification of the
country and an immediate election call were not
fulfilled, quite the contrary. Death, fear and
discrimination were sown, racism intensified, and
the pandemic was used to extend an illegal and
The persecution and criminalization unleashed by
the regime against leaders of the MAS-IPSP and
social movements, against humble women and men of
the people, resulted in deaths, injuries,
imprisonment, persecution, asylum and exile.
Sacaba, Senkata and El Pedregal are irrefutable
proof of the brutality of the regime, but they are
also a symbol of dignity and resistance alongside
men like Carlos Orlando Gutiérrez Luna, a great
mining leader who bravely fought for the recovery
of democracy and who will always live in the heart
of the people.
But, as Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz, that
socialist leader assassinated in another coup in
1980, would say, it is not hatred that drives our
actions, but a passion for justice.
A New Stage
This November 8, 2020, we begin a new stage in
our history, and we want to do so with a
government that is of all and for all, without
discrimination of any kind.
Our government will seek at all times to rebuild
our homeland in unity to live in peace.
On this path, democracy is a fundamental value of
the peoples and it is the one that unequivocally
expresses the will of the population and is also
an organizing axis of our institutionality and of
Democracy is not only the vote to elect
authorities at all levels, but also open, fair
elections. It is the participation of everyone
without the exclusion of anyone, even more so of
the social and national cultural majorities. It is
the protection of civil and political rights such
as freedom of expression and freedom of
organization. It is political pluralism.
All these requirements to qualify a system as
democratic were mutilated in one year of a de
facto government. For months their mouths
were filled with democracy for some, while trying
to outlaw not only the MAS, but the people as a
Since the recovery of democracy in Bolivia in
1982, which was the product of the Bolivian
people's struggle, never until now has there been
evidence of a democracy mutilated of its central
contents. An immense multinational majority faced
the danger of proscription, criminalization and
Social movements, peasants and Indigenous
peoples, and workers were stigmatized. We were
called savages, seditious, terrorists. Women in polleras
were humiliated, our Wiphala burned, which is like
burning ourselves, like burning our roots. From
minority sectors of the population, as was evident
in the elections last October, they wanted a
democracy only for a few.
In fact, these minority sectors raise the flag of
democracy only when it suits them, and when not,
they resort to destabilization, violence, and coup
d'états to seize power.
Unfortunately, some groups want to return to an
exclusionary democracy, mutilating our
plurinationality, in which those majorities who
with the effort of their work make the Bolivia of
every day possible, do not participate.
However, despite these adverse conditions,
despite the fact that the people's participation
was threatened by the violence of the de facto
government and paramilitary groups in the
October 18 elections, we obtained a historic
victory at the polls with more than 55 per cent.
"We Are the Majority"
We are the majority. This means that the Bolivian
population voted for peace and stability, for hope
and dignity, for the reunion of all Bolivian women
That 55.10 per cent vote does not belong to Luis
Arce or David Choquehuanca. This vote is the
product of the consciousness and organization of a
people that does not want freedom for a few, but
It is the vote of a people that does not want
wellbeing for a few, but for all; who does not
want happiness for a few, but for all.
We assume this mandate that the population gives
us -- the people -- to work tirelessly and humbly
for the reconstruction of our Homeland, and we
commit to rectify what was wrong and to strengthen
what was right.
In October 2020, intercultural democracy
triumphed, democracy that permits deliberation and
organization from below triumphed, and democracy
that translates that will, that creative force
through voting, triumphed. But democracy is also
the materialization of the rights contained in our
Political Constitution of the State.
It is useless to elect the authorities by voting
if, at the same time, the people to whom democracy
is owed are deprived of fundamental rights, such
as access to health, education, work, income and
Democracy is having the right to enjoy the wealth
that is for everyone and not for a few, as we
upheld during 14 years and that we are going to
deepen in our Government: the redistribution of
income. The bonds will always go hand in
hand with our economic policy.
We are going to work together to recover the
growth levels that the de facto government
shattered, and we will do so by reducing poverty,
as well as economic and social inequalities. These
are the principles that guide our productive
community social economic model to which we will
The "Triple Crisis"
Today our country faces a triple crisis that
began in November 2019 with the coup d'état and
deepened with the pandemic.
The political crisis generated by a government
that did not come out of the ballot box or respect
the regulations of the Plurinational Legislative
Assembly, much less its adherence to the Political
Constitution of the State.
The health crisis resulting from the emergence of
the global COVID-19 pandemic in Bolivia, and to
which the de facto government was unable to offer
an adequate comprehensive response.
The economic crisis derived from the inability of
the Government to generate stability and growth
with social justice. In one year all the gains of
the Bolivian people receded.
There are those who have argued that the current
situation is solely and exclusively the product of the action of that
silent enemy called COVID-19, but wanting to blame the pandemic for this
situation is not right. The crisis had been forming on the horizon
since the coup d'état, after the abrupt change in economic policy and
was exacerbated by the effects of the health crisis.
Today our national economy is in the middle of a
deep recession; currently there is a drop in the
GDP of 11.1 per cent.
According to data published by the National
Statistical Institute, in the second trimester of this year our country
went from leading the economic growth of South America for six years in
the period between 2006 and November 2019 to presenting the biggest fall
in the economy in the last almost 40 years. In the same way the fiscal
deficit projected for 2020 reaches 12.1 per cent and becomes the highest
since the period of the UDP [Popular Democratic Union]. The deficit of
the financial public sector as of September already reaches 5.6 per
For its part, the General Treasury has budgeted
for a deficit of 8.7 per cent, mainly explained by
the increase in current spending, since the
current deficit of the Treasury has reached 8.1
per cent in the current administration. These
figures show that in only one year of economic
management by the de facto government
things went from an economy that privileged public
investment and income redistribution, to having
the need to contract public debt to pay the wages
and salaries of the public sector. There was also
a drastic increase in the public debt.
Between November 2019 and October 2020 the
transition government indebted the country for more than 4.2 billion
dollars between the internal and external debt. Of particular note is
its contracting of a debt with the Central Bank of Bolivia for
approximately $1.9 billion and 800 million through public auctions of
General Treasury bonds. In the area of foreign debt, foreign credits
were incurred for more than $1.5 billion. To close the year, they
programmed an additional debt of 4.4 billion bolivianos in the domestic
Net international reserves decreased by $881
million between November 2019 and October 2020,
representing a fall of approximately 13 per cent
as of November 2019.
International reserves stood at $6.459 billion,
and as of October of this year they are only
$5.578 billion. Only in the month of October the
reserves decreased by $777 million.
The de facto government leaves an
economy with figures that were not seen even in
one of the worst crises that Bolivia suffered in
the UDP government in the decade of the '80s of the
last century; unemployment, poverty and
inequalities have increased. We have before us the
great challenge of rebuilding our economy, of
generating certainty, of generating growth with
income redistribution, of reducing economic and
social inequalities, but we are sure that working
together with the people we will once again
A Message of Hope
Today we are here to send a message of hope to
all the nations that make up Bolivia, to those brave women and men who
go out every day to fight to overcome this difficult situation. They are
the example for a political class that must turn this dark page of its
history, to look at the present with responsibility and commitment and
the future with optimism, focusing on a single objective: that each and
every Bolivian can live well.
That is why we will give continuity to the
construction of a plural and diverse economy that
recovers, strengthens and promotes all the
potential that we have, initiatives and capacities
of Bolivia from the community of native peoples
and peasants, the State, the private sector,
cooperatives and the broad cultural diversity.
For months we have planned a series of actions to
activate our economy and stimulate the internal
economy. We have great projects that we are going
to gradually launch in the coming months, thus
fulfilling our campaign commitment with the
people, because every day that passes without
taking action, is a day that the situation in
Bolivia becomes more complicated.
Our country today more than ever requires effort
and synchronized mobilization between civil
society and all State organs, between the public
sector and the private sector; just like between
the different political groups.
Despite the differences, we are obliged to
measure up to the people, who demand unity, peace
Unity and complementarity between east and west,
between the country and the city. We are all
Bolivia, we must put an end to fear in Bolivia.
I believe in justice, not in fostering an
environment of resentment and revenge, that does
not respect diversity of thought, where being from
another party or political colour makes you the
object of hatred.
That must end. I believe and support the
reinforcement, the institutional framework of the
State and in generating a safe and stable
environment where the only ones who should be
afraid are the offenders, criminals, violent
people and those who commit acts of corruption.
Our government will work oriented in the present
and future, serving the Bolivian people, for
collective interests and not individual petty
"We Are a Sovereign Nation"
From this rostrum where the democratic will of
our people is concentrated, I also want to address
the international community, the sisters and
brothers from other countries who visit us today.
We are a sovereign nation, with a government born
in the ballot box and our will is to work for a
multipolar world, in which there is no supremacy
of any power and in which all States and human
beings live without fear, without wars, without
hatred, without looting our natural resources;
without exploitation, without racism and
discrimination; without threats, without pressure
of any kind.
We strongly assume today more than ever the
principles of self-determination of peoples,
non-intervention, the non-alignment and full legal
and political equality of all States without any
form of subordination.
We are committed to an emancipatory and
non-subordinate integration that considers all
areas of life, from health and education to
We demand South-South integration in a globalized
world that does not impose designs from the North.
We advocate the political unity of the diversity
of Latin America and the Caribbean. CELAC is the
best way to realize such a noble and historic
We are once again in keeping with our CELAC
resolution of 2014, when we declared Latin America
and the Caribbean as a territory of peace.
We raise the flag of the peoples' diplomacy for
life and a world without walls. We must put an end
to everything that prevents us from recognizing
ourselves as equals, as sisters, as brothers.
In our sub-region, we propose the recovery of
Unasur as a space for integration and a mechanism for political dialogue
in which we all participate, regardless of the political orientation of
"I Assume the Presidency with Humility"
Dear Bolivian people, I am in front of all of you
today with great emotion, but with an enormous
sense of responsibility that is born from the love
I have for our country, our roots and the people,
but also the promises made before this political
campaign. That is why I want to reaffirm from here
my commitment to honour each one of them.
I assume the Presidency of the Plurinational
State of Bolivia with great humility, with great
honour and with great gratitude for the trust
placed in us.
We will govern with responsibility and inclusion,
representing all of you, facing the necessary
changes with the aim that Bolivia return to the
path of stability as soon as possible.
Today we face the enormous challenge of having to
write together with the letters that will define
the next five years of our history, hoping to be
remembered as the government in which the Bolivian
people rose to recover democracy, dignity, peace,
growth and social justice.
We will work tirelessly, serving the Bolivian
people. We will defeat the pandemic, we will
triumph over the crisis as we have done in
previous years, because we are a fighting,
persevering and courageous people who look without
fear and with optimism and with the strength of
knowing that we are capable of achieving.
In my travels through all of Bolivia, together
with brother jilata David, I have felt the pain,
but also the hope of millions and millions of
I will never forget the tears, the hugs, the
smiles, the words of strength that they gave me at
all times, nor the personal stories that they
shared with me in each place I passed through.
We will not forget the hopes of those who have
been so affected in this fateful year marked by
the blow to democracy and by this cruel pandemic.
Their faces, their voices, their love and hope
will always be present with me today and will
accompany me at all times for the next five years.
By your mandate, dear sisters and brothers, I
assume with great humility and responsibility the
Presidency of the Plurinational State.
I look at the past, everything we have lived
through and overcome. I lift my eyes and see that
a better Bolivia is possible, with the
participation and work of each and every Bolivian.
Let's walk in peace, side by side to achieve it.
We will move forward!
Long live the Plurinational State of Bolivia!
Honour and glory to the Bolivian people!
Thank you very much.
Inaugural Speech of David Choquehuanca,
President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia
With the permission of our gods, of our older
brothers, of our Pachamama, of our ancestors, of
our Achachilas, with the permission of our
Patujú, of our rainbow, of our sacred coca
With the permission of our peoples, with the
permission of everyone present and not present in
Today I want to share our thoughts in a few
It is an obligation to communicate, an obligation
to dialogue, it is a principle of living well.
The peoples of millenial cultures, of the culture
of life, have sustained our origins since the dawn
of ancient times.
We children have inherited an ancient culture
that understands that everything is interrelated,
that nothing is divided and that nothing is
That is why they tell us that we all go together,
that no one is left behind, that everyone has
everything and no one lacks anything.
And the well-being of all is the well-being of
oneself, that helping is a reason to grow and be
happy, that giving up for the benefit of the other
makes us feel strengthened, that uniting and
recognizing ourselves in everything is the path of
yesterday, today, tomorrow and always, from which
we've never strayed.
The Ayni, the Minka, the Tumpa,
our Colka and other codes of ancient
cultures are the essence of our life, of our Ayllu.
Ayllu is not only the organization of a
society of human beings, Ayllu is a system
of organization of life, of all beings, of
everything that exists, of everything that flows
in balance on our planet or Mother Earth.
During centuries the civilizing canons of Abya
Yala were destructured, re-semanticized and many
of them exterminated; original thought was
systematically subjected to colonial thought.
But they could not extinguish us, we are alive,
we are from Tiwanaku, we are strong, we are like
stone, we are kalawalla, we are cholke,
we are sinchi, we are Rumy, we are
Jenecherú, the fire that never goes out; we are
from Samaipata, we are jaguar, we are Katari, we
are Ainus, we are Maoris, we are Commanches, we
are Mayans, we are Guarani, we are Mapuches, we
are Mojeños, we are Aymara, we are Quechuas, we
are Hopis, and we are all the peoples of the
culture of life who awaken our Larama --
Larama that is equal, rebellious, with
A Transition Every 2,000 Years
Today Bolivia and the world are living through a
transition that is repeated every 2,000 years,
within the framework of the cyclicity of the
times, we go from no time to time, beginning the
new dawn, a new Pachakuti in our history
A new sun and a new expression in the language of
life where empathy for the other or the collective
good replaces selfish individualism.
Where we Bolivians see one another as equals, and
we know that united we are worth more, we are in
the times of being Jiwasa again: it is not
me, it is us.
Jiwasa is the death of egocentrism, Jiwasa
is the death of anthropocentrism and it is the
death of eurocentrism.
We are in the times of returning to being Iyambae,
it is a code that our Guarani brothers have
protected, and Iyambae is the same as a
person who has no owner. Nobody in this world has
to feel they are the owner of anyone or anything.
Since 2006 in Bolivia we began hard work to
connect our individual and collective roots, to
return to being ourselves, to return to our
centre, to the taypi, to the pacha, to
the equilibrium from which the wisdom of one of
the most important civilizations of our planet
We are in the process of recovering our
knowledge, the codes of the culture of life, the
civilizing canons of a society that lived
intimately connected with the cosmos, with the
world, with nature and with individual and
collective life; to build our Suma Qamaña,
from our Allin Kawsay, from
our Suma Akalle, which is to guarantee the
individual good and the collective or community
We are in times of recovering our identity, our
cultural roots, our sapi. We have cultural
roots, we have philosophy, history, we have
everything, we are persons, and we have rights.
One of the unshakeable canons of our civilization
is the inherited wisdom around the Pacha.
Guaranteeing balance in all time and space is
knowing how to manage all the complementary
energies, the cosmic one that comes from the
heavens, with the earth that emerges from under
These two telluric cosmic forces interact,
creating what we call life as a visible (Pachamama)
and spiritual (Pachakama) totality.
By understanding life in terms of energy we have
the possibility to modify our history, matter and
life as the convergence of the Chacha-warmi
force, when we refer to the complementarity of
The new time that we are beginning will be
sustained by the energy of the Ayllu, the
community, consensus, horizontality, complementary
equilibriums and the common good.
Historically, revolution is understood as a
political act to change the social structure, in
order to transform the life of the individual.
None of the revolutions has managed to modify the
conservation of power, to maintain control over
"Our Revolution Is the Revolution of Ideas"
It was not possible to change the nature of
power, but power has managed to distort the minds
of politicians; power can corrupt and it is very
difficult to modify the strength of power and its
institutions, but it is a challenge that we will
assume from the wisdom of our own peoples. Our
revolution is the revolution of ideas, it is the
revolution of equilibriums, because we are
convinced that to transform society, the
government, the bureaucracy, the laws and the
political system, we must change as individuals.
We are going to promote opposing coincidences to
find solutions between the right and the left,
between the rebelliousness of the young and the
wisdom of the grandparents, between the limits of
science and an unyielding nature, between creative
minorities and traditional majorities, between the
sick and the healthy, between those who govern and
the governed, between the cult leadership and the
gift of serving others.
Our truth is very simple: the condor takes flight
only when its right wing is in perfect equilibrium
with its left wing. The task of forming ourselves
as balanced individuals was brutally interrupted
centuries ago, we have not concluded it and the
time of the Ayllu era, community, is
already with us.
It requires that we be free and balanced
individuals to build harmonious relationships with
others and with our environment, it is urgent that
we be beings capable of sustaining equilibrium
for ourselves and for the community.
We are in the times of the brothers of the Apanaka
Pachakuti, brothers of change, where our
fight was not only for ourselves, but also for
them and not against them. We seek the mandate, we
do not seek confrontation; we seek peace, we are
not from the culture of war or domination; our
struggle is against all kinds of submission and
against the single, colonial, patriarchal thought,
wherever it comes from.
The idea of the encounter of spirit and matter,
heaven and earth, of Pachamama and Pachakama,
allows us to think that a new woman and man will
be able to heal humanity, the planet, and the
beautiful life that is in it and return the beauty
to our Mother Earth.
We will defend the sacred treasures of our
culture from all interference, we will defend our
peoples, our natural resources, our freedoms and
"We Will Return to Qhapak Ñan"
We will return to our Qhapak Ñan, the
noble path of integration, the path of truth, the
path of brotherhood, the path of unity, the path
of respect for our authorities, for our sisters,
the path of respect for fire, the path of respect
for the rain, the path of respect for our
mountains, the path of respect for our rivers, the
path of respect for our Mother Earth, the path of
respect for the sovereignty of our peoples.
Brothers and sisters, in conclusion, Bolivians
must overcome division, hatred, racism,
discrimination among compatriots, no more
persecution of freedom of expression, no more
judicialization of politics.
No more abuse of power, power has to be to help,
power has to circulate, power, as well as the
economy, has to be redistributed, it has to
circulate, it has to flow, just as blood flows
within our body, no more impunity, justice,
brothers and sisters.
But justice has to be truly independent. Let us
put an end to intolerance, to the violation of
human rights and of our Mother Earth.
The new time means listening to the message of
our peoples that comes from the bottom of their
hearts, it means healing wounds, looking at one
another with respect, recovering the homeland,
dreaming together, building brotherhood, harmony,
integration, hope, to guarantee the peace and
happiness of the new generations.
Only in this way can we achieve living well and
For the full video in
Spanish of the inaugural speech of President
Luis Arce click
here and for that of Vice President and
President of the Plurinational Legislative
Assembly, David Choquehuanca click
This article was published in
Volume 50 Number 44 - November 14, 2020
New President and Vice President Address People of Bolivia