Media Center

Press Release


  September 26, 2003

Bolivian Vice President Carlos Mesa Gisbert today outlined before the Organization of American States (OAS) Permanent Council the deep economic recession and the social and political tensions his country is facing.

He stressed that there are certain hurdles to overcome in order to deal with Bolivia’s structural crisis and explained that his government is pursuing reforms in such areas as the judicial system, the fight against corruption and institutional strengthening.

Mesa Gisbert said his country’s 8 percent fiscal deficit stems from factors such as business shutdowns and the fallout from international economic crises in countries including Japan, Russia and Argentina. These, among other factors, are exerting serious pressures on the economy, he added.

The Bolivian Vice President underscored the urgency of resolving issues related to natural gas sales to the United States and Mexico and securing agreement by the political and social groups in Bolivia on a gas export route through Peru or Chile. He pointed to moves by the government to sensitize Bolivians to the urgent need to resolve this question. Thanking the international community for its solidarity, the Vice President also appealed for its support in pursuing dialogue and popular consultation to resolve the problem.

Vice President Mesa Gisbert thanked the OAS, and particularly Secretary General César Gaviria, for providing support during the events of last February in his country, on which the Organization prepared a report. “The OAS has reaffirmed the importance of the Democratic Charter in defending the democratic system in our countries,” he noted.

Presiding over the special session to honor the visiting Bolivian dignitary, Permanent Council Chairman Ambassador Raymond Valcin of Haiti lauded Bolivia’s policy on indigenous people, saying it reflects the perspectives identified by the important OAS working group to draft an American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “Citizen participation, political harmony and the multicultural and pluriethinic perspective that is central to your government’s policy program are elements crucial to the strengthening democracy and the hemispheric agenda,” he stated.

A number of member state delegates lauded the presentation by the Bolivian Vice President, reiterating as well their respective governments’ support.

Reference: E-184/03