Long live the Separation of Religions and the State in Bolivia!

Monday 23 February 2009
popularity : 1%

Press Release

The French National Federation of the Free Thought greets the Republic of Bolivia with a sense of joy and excitement. With a sense of joy because the Bolivian people have just adopted the new Constitution with more than 60 percent of voters, although four departments over eleven had voted against which is the sign of their separatist trend.

On January 25, 2009, President Evo Morales said: “Today a new Bolivia is born that gives equal opportunities to all Bolivians. The colonial State disappears”. He was only acknowledging the desire for deep change of the Bolivian people, the poorest in South America in spite of huge oil and mining resources which they did not benefit until now.

This Constitution is going to bring a genuine political and economic independence to a country which, like all the states of South America, has no experience of decolonization.

This was not achieved without difficulties and violence, as reactionary forces have put all their weight in the debate, to such a point that the Constitutional Assembly had to leave Sucre, the constitutional capital, and go to the mining town of Oruro where it was able to work in safety under the protection of youths, peasants and miners.

With a sense of excitement because this new Constitution has a number of provisions that the Free Thought can only approve:
-  Prohibition of foreign military bases,
-  Recognition of different types of ownership, including communitarian ownership, and at the same time a limitation for large estates called “latifundias”,
-  Prohibition of the alienation of natural resources for the benefit of foreign powers, companies or individuals, which is now regarded as a crime.

With a sense of excitement because this new Constitution separates Religions and the State and therefore Bolivia will be the first state in South America to adopt Secularism in its Constitution, since Mexico belongs to North America. Bolivia opens the road for all the peoples of Latin America.

We have to take into account the strong determination of this decision.

We have to bear in mind the weight of this measure in a continent which has been dominated by the Roman Catholic Church since 1492.

We have to consider this popular vote to be exemplary, because it is not an Assembly that made this decision, it is a whole people that democratically expressed themselves and according to the old slogan, decided: “The Church and the State shall have separate homes”.

With great difficulties, the other south-American States are trying to advance toward Secularism, seeking support, struggling against reactionary forces, publishing manifestos and books.

Bolivia decided.

The former right-wing President couldn’t help but declare that this Constitution was “a piece of paper that is worth as much as a piece of toilet paper after it has been used”. Everyone can see the obstacles the Members of the Constituent Assembly were facing. Everyone can see their determination.

President Morales rightfully declared at the end of the poll: “This is a great joy for me and for all the indigenous, labor, peasant and popular movement.”

The National Federation of the Free Thought shares this great joy and excitement because we can see the achievement of one of our ideals in a country so far away and yet so near our hearts.

Let President Morales and the Bolivian people know that the Free Thinkers from France are sharing their joy and that the National Federation of the Free Thought will always ba at their side in the fight for the establishment of secularism and its defense.

Paris, February 16, 2009


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