Message to Bolivia: Nature’s Rights Are Also Human Rights


Eduardo Galeano – Znet

Message of the author of the Open Veins of Latin America to participants of the First World Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba from April 19 to 22, as an alternative to the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit.

Sadly, I will not be able to be with you. Hopefully, all that is possible, and also the impossible, will be done so that the Summit of the Mother Earth becomes the first phase towards the collective expression of people who do not direct world polices, but suffer from them.

Hopefully, we will be able to carry forward the two initiatives of companion Evo (Morales, President of Bolivia)— the Climate Justice Tribunal and the World Referendum against a system of power founded on war and on waste, which scorns human life and auctions our worldly goods.

Hopefully, we will be able to speak less and do much. The wordy inflation, which in Latin America is more damaging than monetary inflation, has done us, and keeps inflicting, grave damages. And also, and above all, we are fed up with the hypocrisy of the rich countries, which is leaving us without a planet while it delivers pompous discourses to conceal the hijacking.

There are those who say that hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue. Others say that hypocrisy is the only proof of the existence of the infinite. And the babble of the so-called “international community”, that club of bankers and war-makers, proves that both the definitions are correct.

I want to celebrate, for a change, the force of the truth that words radiate and the silences born of human communion with Nature. And it is not by chance that the Summit of the Mother Earth is being realised in Bolivia, this nation of nations that is rediscovering itself after two centuries of a life of falsehood.

Bolivia has just celebrated ten years of a popular victory in the water war, when the people of Cochabamba were able to defeat an all-powerful Californian company, owner of the water by the grace of a government which said it was Bolivian and was very generous to those from afar.

That water war was one of the battles that this land saves for the defence of its natural resources: that is in defence of its commonness with Nature. Bolivia is one of the American countries where indigenous cultures have been known to survive, and those voices now resound with more force than ever, despite the long period of rejection and persecution.

The world, bewildered as it is and stumbling like a blind person in a shoot-out, will have to hear those voices.

These tell us, mere humans, that we are part of Nature, related to all that have legs, feet, wings or roots.

The European conquest condemned the indigenous people who lived in that communion for idolatry and, for believing in it, were whipped, beheaded or burnt alive.

From the time of the European Renaissance, Nature was converted into a merchandise or into an obstacle to human progress. And till now, that divorce between Her and ourselves has persisted, to the point that there still are people of good faith who are moved by poor Nature, so badly treated, so hurt, but they see Her from the outside. The indigenous cultures see Her from the inside.

Seeing Her, I find myself. Whatever I do against Her, is done against myself. In Her, I find myself; my legs are also the road that it walks.

Well, we celebrate this Summit of the Mother Earth. And if only the deaf do listen: human rights and the rights of Nature are two names of the same dignity.


Translated by Supriyo Chatterjee

Source: Rebelíon

More reports on Latin America at


Share this article:

DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Comments are closed.