Liborio Flores Enriquez – Ambassador of Bolivia to Argentina
The ambassador of Bolivia to Argentina reviews his tenure in the country and elaborates on the common history of both countries which is based on constitutional freedom and equality of its people.
What were your immediate major goals upon assuming position as ambassador?
“Our president entrusted each ambassador of Bolivia with one underlying task: to communicate Bolivia’s process of change towards our respective counterparts.”
When I assumed my position as Ambassador of Bolivia to Argentina I had a multitude of tasks to accomplish while having to defend to interests of the Bolivian state. Moreover, our president entrusted each ambassador of Bolivia with one underlying task: to communicate Bolivia’s process of change towards our respective counterparts, spread the Bolivian democratic and cultural revolution which defined a new Bolivian dignity thus forming a solidarity state in central south America with strong ambitions for the future.
Could you please outline the new state policy?
We follow a policy which aims at recovering the people’s dignity through economic and social growth admits political and cultural inclusion. Above all, we aim at protecting the effective action of the new pluractional state which protects our people and allows the majority to exercise all their rights by taking direct action into state decisions; rights which in the past were forgotten, excluded and despised.
Did the old system exclude many Bolivians?
The Neoliberal governments of the past excluded a vast past of the Bolivian population; it did not take into account the needs and demands of our people but rather obeyed foreign power which had nothing to do with reality and did not mind the welfare of our nation. Today, however, we have initiated a democratic and cultural revolution whose process focus on the inclusion and participation of all Bolivians! This direction is already expressed in our constitution which recognized the 36 first nations and equal rights for all Bolivians, which aims at achieving human development while individual rights and ancestral cultural values are being respected. Prior to Evo Morales being elected as President approximately 70 percent of the population was excluded from the formal system of the state structure. Evo Morales took it upon him to carry the banner of true liberation and internal revolution which began with reassessing our indigenous people as foundational root of our nation state; these are the people which are the vrey basis of our history and the essence of the Bolivian identity!
How would you define the political philosophy behind this revolution?
Bolivia follows a very progressive political philosophy with the goal of social economic development, minding a range of community, solidarity, social and postmodern look, as opposed to the capitalist guidelines which have no country, community or flag, but simply private economic interests. That is evident when transnational corporations from developed states come to ours to plunder and exploit our natural resources irrationally while wreaking havoc with their extraction activities whether it be the mining, oil, forestry or privatization of basic services and polluting deteriorating the environment. Evo Morales made Bolivia a new plurinational State based on a new geopolitical and philosophical proposal of living well.
What does “living well” mean to you?
Living Well is not the same as the consumerist and individualist concept of “living better” with greater access to all kinds of material goods alone, but is a new qualitative category of living in peace and balance with our neighbors or in the community with solidarity values that respect our cultural differences revaluing human dignity. It is based on principles and traditional values of our ancient native people who have managed to live through times in equilibrium with each other while respecting mother nature. In this regard, all people of the world have common goals but with features, capabilities and diversity, whose potentials are very similar yet different. That is why we respect and value these differences in order to know more, because nobody can love what he does not know. In that sense, we must integrate more and more to live in mutual understanding and tolerance towards true peace.
Would you consider the integration of both people as part of your mission?
Argentina and Bolivia, are two brother nations which were born of the same womb of liberation, as a result of bold action warrior heroes and common intellectuals like Juana Azurduy, Manuel Ascencio Padilla, Jaime Zudáñez, Bernardo Monteagudo, Manuel Belgrano, Mariano Moreno, etc. In other words, we were born with common ideals to be free and independent of inhumane Spanish colonialism. Argentina conceived its ideas of independence in the Royal Court of Charcas –which is now in Bolivia—, where 14 congressmen signed the independence declaration of 1816 in Tucuman. The cradle of the liberating philosophy was the “Chuquisaca doctrine”. This was the base from which came these new ideals of independence and freedom, which eventually led to the independence of Argentina and Bolivia. Therefore, if we assume that we have a common history, and complementary interests in the region, it is a duty to seek a common historical destiny to contribute effectively to the integration of all Latin America.
How significant is the Bolivian community in Argentina?
With approximately 1.5 million Bolivian residents throughout Argentina it is the second largest community after the Paraguayan community. It is very important to note, that Bolivian migrants are recognized and valued in this country for its industriousness and human values, besides having a great impetus for progress and labor supply bringing cash to the Argentinean economy in a variety of areas such as textiles, construction, family medicine and even in agriculture. On the other hand, Bolivians had the virtue and courage to position themselves throughout Argentina’s geography representing their culture and identity in a very proud fashion.
What were some of the most significant bilateral agreements accomplished during your tenure?
Bolivia and Argentina’s bilateral relationships are of great important in the region, for instance the strategic provision of to Argentina. We are complementary countries and under the new policy of our plurinational State that relationship is reinforced with solidarity and integrating Bolivia’s vision. Our economic relationship should be only commercial competitive. But now we have other strategic projects of major importance for the growth of our countries which are on track to be signed in the area of provision of electricity from renewable energy sources such as hydro, solar, wind and geothermal energy sources. Possession and consumption of energy is synonymous with growth and development and Bolivia has the capacity and effective potential to be the major distributor of electricity to all neighboring countries. We have also made several agreements in the areas of social security, education, health, border control and combating international crimes. Something that is very pleasing to note is, that we have instituted a recognition award for outstanding academic results of Bolivians in Argentina. Being aware that our students reached high rates of academic achievement, we took the initiative to create this award that seeks to motivate and encourage the study and academic development of future generations of Bolivians and children of Bolivians in Argentina. For example, in 2014 we awarded more than 80 students and in 2015 the awards surpassed the 370 best students; we believe that this management will eventually overcome a thousand students. This award is an important new motivation program for future human resources and our intention goes even further as we already plan to reach the universities. This initiative has been so successful that the Ministry of Education of Bolivia is replicating this award in other countries where we have Bolivian migrants.
What is the prize that students receive?
The official recognition of the plurinational State of Bolivia and the Argentinean republic through the Ministries of Education with two diplomas of honor, plus a special present from our Embassy.
Your tenure is coming to an end…
That’s right, my duties as ambassador in this beautiful country end on October 31. 2016. It was a great honor to have had the opportunity to represent my country and President Evo Morales, a leader and statesman of global stature, in a very important country for Bolivia and the region. I had the satisfaction of having done my training here in Argentina; when I arrived in 1977 I went to the Military Aviation School in Cordoba, where I gained not only the fundamental knowledge and skills to effectively serve my Air Force, but I learned to appreciate and love my people and my country from Argentina.
Reviewing your time in Argentina, what would you see as your accomplishments?
It has been a very positive experience to work with the Argentinean authorities in order to improve and intensify our relations. In addition, due to the historic moment in Bolivia it was very important to work within the new guidelines and implement our democratic and cultural revolution in all its aspects. We try to implement the practice of modern diplomacy horizontally to gain effective and respectful relationships.We had direct contact with our compatriots and with the Argentine people and its institutions, we have offered an embassy with open doors for all our compatriots and the Argentinean brothers. Above all, we participated actively and inclusively to all our compatriots defending their rights and dignity as a fundamental value of my mission. That has been the transverse axis of my work during my tenure. An important milestone in this time has been the inauguration of the monument to the bi-national heroine Generala Juana Azurduy de Padilla, in the heart of Buenos near Casa Rosada, and reassessing our common history and leaving a legacy to future generations; much Bolivian blood was shed for freedom and independence in Argentina.
Which goals do you leave behind for your predecessor to accomplish?
I can certainly say that the fundamental proposition of my mission has been fulfilled, however, when one is reaching significant achievements, there are always new challenges, such as achieving further progress in the sub regional and regional integration. Global dynamics require more cohesive participation in South America, we must work harder to make Latin America a true zone of peace, resolving our outstanding problems and closing our wounds properly to reboot as true brotherly countries to the world. No single country will have an impactful dialogue and even less and impactful negotiation, however, if it does the solid voice of the entire region, it will be recognized and identified as a unit of outstanding universal value. And finally, before retiring, I wish to express my gratitude to the great Argentine people, my compatriots and especially President Evo Morales for allowing me to work with my highest conviction and dedication to strengthen our bonds of friendship in a very important moment in our binational and regional history.