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RUNASUR: continental organization Bolivia’s Morales intends to develop using Peru as headquarters

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The RUNASUR movement has been developing in Bolivia for a year and its first official event was the “Cochabamba summit” in December 2020.

Humanist Party leader Leonel Falcón Guerra, presided by Yehude Simon, says that during president Luis Arce’s inauguration (November 2020) he was invited to participate in the event to be held in the municipality of San Benito, in Cochabamba.

Bolivia’s former president Evo Morales will visit Cusco on December 19 to present RUNASUR. (photo internet reproduction)

“We were invited to an event to be held next month. The plan was to form a movement for a ‘Plurinational America’. That was the original name of RUNASUR,” Falcón says.

The meeting took place in a symbolic setting. It was held in the building erected to host the parliament of UNASUR, the organization that promoted the Bolivarian sphere since 2008, which once comprised 12 member countries and went into decline in 2018.

The meeting was attended by Bolivian President Luis Arce and 1,200 representatives of various indigenous and peasant farmer movements from Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina and Peru. Some of RUNASUR’s members are former Bolivian Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni, Bolivian Ambassador to Argentina Ramiro Tapias, Venezuelan Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lidice Altuve, and “Pachakutik” Ecuadorian political movement leader Javier Palmas.

It also includes several organizations such as the Argentine Workers’ Union, the Simon Bolivar Institute of Venezuela, representatives of Chile’s Mapuche and Paraguay’s Guarani communities, and other social movements from Uruguay, Colombia and Panama.

In the case of Peru, one of the organizations that make up RUNASUR is the Revolutionary Agrarian Federation of Cusco (FARAC).

“There were also trade unions and coca growers’ groups that follow Morales in Bolivia. On the Peruvian side there were groups of workers and peasants from Puno, Moquegua, Arequipa and Tacna. An action plan was approved there and it was agreed that the next meeting would be held in 4 months (April 2021),” Falcón notes.

The Humanist Party leader points out that, in the absence of funding, each guest had to pay their own travel to Cochabamba and once there the Morales led organization covered lodging and food expenses.

“What Morales is trying to do is create a transnational organization that will encompass several social movements, using the current moment of political unrest in the region. He wants to achieve an articulation of markedly indigenous organizations,” explains Óscar Vidarte, professor of International Relations at the PUCP.

The organizing committee met in Bolivia in April this year to draft the “ten principles” that will guide the organization. The meeting was attended by former Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza. At that time it was agreed that in addition to reviving UNASUR, one of its main principles would be to reject U.S. interference in Latin America and its economic sanctions.

Among its mandates, special emphasis is placed on promoting policies favoring the sovereignty of natural resources and the unity of “social movements, trade unions and progressive governments.”

At last April’s meeting, the organizing committee also decided that the new organization would be officially launched in the city of Cuzco. “We thought it was a good idea to do it in that city because at some point it was the heart of ancestral cultures and we thought that, after the ceremony, attendees could enjoy the historic sites and encourage tourism,” Falcón says.

Should the summit materialize, this will be Evo Morales’ 4th trip to Peru since Pedro Castillo won the elections last June. On each of his visits to Lima, Morales met with the president and also took part in a forum organized by FENATEP, the general teachers’ union founded by president Castillo.

However, according to Perú Libre sources, Cerrón’s meetings with Evo Morales were much more fruitful than with Castillo. Another signal that Cerronistas point to highlight the affinity between Cerrón and Morales.

Ex-prime minister Guido Bellido would be one of the guests of honor at the event to be held in Cusco next December.

“Last October, in Mexico, we met with Morales and he told us about his concern that president Castillo had approached center parties, the so-called ‘caviars,’ and had distanced himself from the party that led him to win the elections. These people are not concerned about the country’s real problems, but rather about legalizing abortion and the use of marijuana,” says a source who attended the CELAC summit in Mexico.

Other sources claim that Morales asked Castillo to rebuild bridges with Cerrón.

Last month, a Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS) branch was installed in Cusco, led by the Bolivian Isabel Ara Condori. Party sources assure that the aim is to expand to the remaining regions that make up the southern macro-region to attract new militants among Bolivians residing in the country.

Although leaders such as Leonel Falcón deny that MAS and RUNASUR are politically interconnected, this is not entirely true. The Revolutionary Agrarian Federation of Cusco (FARTAC), one of the organizers of the RUNASUR meeting in Cusco, also advocates for the presence of MAS in Peruvian territory. Its chairman Amílcar Huamán Huamán undersigned a letter from the MAS base in Cusco addressed to Bolivian president Luis Arce, requesting the appointment of Cecilio Ilasaca as “Bolivian consul” in the Imperial City. llasaca is one of Morales’ closest friends.

RUNASUR’s organizers in Cusco point out that president Castillo’s potential attendance to the launching of the new organization next month has not yet been confirmed. “We have made the invitation. It is open to anyone who wants to join,” Falcón said. The Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the event.

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