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Bolivian President Evo Morales says the hayday of empire is over--a daring statement, as the US angles to overthrow the government of neighboring Venezuela.
Meanwhile, in Bolivia, they're anxiously watching what's happening in Venezuela.
Here's our special correspondent, Stas Natanzon, reporting from La Paz.
It's 4.30 a.m., and we've come to the presidential palace of Evo Morales. He's about to arrive. We were immediately asked to not wear formal attire; the president doesn't like ties and starts working at 5 a.m. every day.
- Greetings, Mr. President! We're going to spend this day together.
- Yes, this will be a great day.
The day began with a series of working meetings. Here are members of a women's union asking for support. Here are construction workers reporting on the readiness of a new airport.
Evo Morales, President of Bolivia: "Ordinary workers come to me, workers from trade unions. And I meet with them starting at 5 a.m. It's a bit difficult, of course, to do it so early, but this is democracy."
Here it is, the entire presidential kitchen - literally in one cooler bag. This is the food that Evo Morales carries around. It mostly has water, beverages.
- And what is this?
- This is mate tea. The president drinks it twice per day.
All of a sudden, we quickly went to the airport. Evo Morales went to inspect one of the construction sites. This airport in Cochabamba was an American military base until 2006. But when Evo Morales came to power, he kicked the Americans out of here.
- At this American military base, they prepared an assassination attempt on me. Earlier, our presidents used to be changed with coups. When we removed the base, the coups stopped.
- Everyone in Bolivia calls you "brother president."
- How may I address you?
- Clearly, we've all come from dust and to dust we shall return We're children of the earth.
As the first Indian president, Morales seems to never forget about Mother Earth which is "pacha mama" in the language of the local tribes. Here, he's pouring a couple of drops from the proposed glass to the gods. They dressed him in a traditional poncho and hat. They put vegetable beads on his chest - the gift of the same pacha mama. And they started dancing.
Evo Morales, President of Bolivia: "Today, the Russian ambassador also became a native. The ambassador visited me to inform about one important thing. Through his ambassador, the president of Russia, our brother, invites us to come to Russia with an official visit in July.”
Both in Bolivia and in Latin America as a whole, they've been talking about Russia more and more often in recent years. That's what the ambassador said after he got into more casual clothes.
Vladimir Sprinchan, Ambassador of Russia to Bolivia: "In the conditions of a very difficult situation in the region, Bolivia views Russia as a strategic partner to maintain the balance of power, prevent interference in internal affairs."
- We heard the words of the Russian president, which are now supported by China and many other countries on every continent. Your country is now protecting democracy, multiculturalism, and human rights, while the Americans are preparing an invasion on our continent, war, bloodshed, woe for Venezuela.
- In early February, you met with Nicolas Maduro. What's his attitude?
- I had a good, long talk with Nicolas Maduro indeed. He's full of energy and believes in his people. The Venezuelan people are the heirs of Bolivar. They're Chavistas, anti-imperialists. I made sure of it once again.
- Can Bolivia send troops to help Venezuela in case of an invasion?
- According to the Constitution, our country is a supporter of peace. We want to conduct a dialogue. And it's time for the United States to understand that the time of their constant invasions has passed. We live in the 21st century. This is the age of people, not empires.
We talked about Venezuela near the former home of Evo Morales. The president himself showed how to get here to the helicopter pilot. He spent all of his adolescence in this barn.
Evo Morales: “I used to sleep up there. We had a kitchen garden here, and I played soccer here, too.”
Now, Morales has his own presidential team. They play mainly at the openings of school soccer fields. Under him, soccer fields have appeared in every village. Here's him opening yet another one.
- Tell me, why you play under the number 10?
- It's been this way since I was a child. Everyone called me number 10, and it's too late to change it.
- Maybe it's because you wanted to become Maradona?
- No. But actually, if I had trained more, I could have become a professional soccer player. I tell you, if I could just play soccer or just play music, I wouldn't want to be president.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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