CARACAS – Bolivian President Evo Morales delivered 50 tons of humanitarian aid over the weekend for those left homeless by the rains in Venezuela, where his counterpart, Hugo Chavez, signed his first decree using his new special powers.
Accompanied by Morales, with whom he flew over the Guajira Peninsula in Venezuela’s extreme northwest, one of the areas hardest hit by the rains, Chavez announced Sunday the creation of the Simon Bolivar Fund for Reconstruction worth 10 billion bolivars ($2.32 billion).
This is the first time the president has made use of the special powers granted by the National Assembly on Dec. 17 that allow Chavez to govern by decree for the next 18 months free of any control by the legislative branch, among other reasons to deal with the meteorological emergency.
In this first decree, since it is being issued under an organic law, the Supreme Court must confirm that it is in line with the requirements of such legislation.
During his visit of a few hours to the Guajira, Morales spoke of the problems caused by climate change, which he blamed for the rains that in recent weeks have left an official toll of 38 dead and more than 130,000 homeless in Venezuela.
“These disasters are caused by global warming, which is part of a structural problem that is worldwide in character and is causing great problems,” Morales said, noting that Bolivia is suffering frost and floods without precedent in history.
“We have to live in harmony with Mother Nature. Human beings cannot live without Mother Nature, but Mother Nature can perfectly well live without human beings. The crisis of capitalism will not only affect the world’s poor people but will affect the world itself,” Morales said.
Chavez thanked Morales for the 50 tons of rice, flown in on a Bolivian plane that landed soon after the Bolivian’s leader’s aircraft arrived, that are to be distributed among Indians of the Guajira Peninsula.
Chavez also announced the free distribution of electrical appliances of the Chinese brand Haier for those left homeless by the rains, and the arrival of cement from Cuba, whose first vice president, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, will visit Venezuela on Jan. 2.
Morales was paid tribute on his visit to the Guajira, which has the nation’s biggest indigenous population, mostly Wayuus and Añus, a branch of the same ethnicity.
The principal ceremony of the visit took place at Fort Mara, where Morales was awarded the Order of Cacique Yaurepara by his Wayuu and Añu “brothers.”
“I was surprised by this honor of the Order of Yaurepara awarded by my indigenous brothers. It is in truth an honor for all the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the world who are organizing to demand their social and economic rights,” Morales said. EFE