It was 11am and Evo Morales had turned a football stadium into a giant classroom, marshalling an array of props: paper plates, plastic cups, disposable raincoats, handcrafted gourds, wooden plates and multicoloured ponchos. All came into play to make his main point: to fight climate change "we need to recover the values of the indigenous people".
Naomi seems to think this pearl of deep thinking, just sums up how great Evo is. Evo's indigeneous values? They owe more to the Cuzco Emperor's -whose scorched-earth tactics finally brought what then was known as Kollasuyu into the Inca' Empire-, than with the worship of a benign Gaia-like Pachamana, imagined by New Agers and Environmentalists.
Not content with that, she says that Bolivia's rhetoriticians can offer us real solutions to the crisis of "failed democracies" and "global warming".
So how can Bolivia be an example for the World? Is Klein thinking of Evo's version of State-Capitalism? His "neo-extractivism" comes with the usual environmental oversight and transparency common to the old Eastern block countries. Environmentally sound? Evo's Cocalero allies are chopping down trees in national forests to grow coca, run-off from the increased coca processing plants is polluting even Lake Titicaca. Democracy? His version of democracy seems to have more to do with centralist dirigismo and "smashing oligarchs" than it does with "grass roots" ground-up democracy.
With the Cochabamba summit, Bolivia is trying to take what it has accomplished at the national level and globalise it, inviting the world to participate in drafting a joint climate agenda ahead of the next UN climate gathering in Cancun. In the words of Bolivia's ambassador to the United Nations, Pablo Solón: "The only thing that can save mankind from a tragedy is the exercise of global democracy."
If he is right, the Bolivian process might save not just our warming planet, but our failing democracies as well. Not a bad deal at all.
Forget the world, Bolivia's neighbors Peru, Chile, and Brazil pointedly avoid most of the Evo-agenda. They all seem to do rather well economically with their forms of social-democratic capitalism, while avoiding the messy authoritarianism and cult of personality around Morales. For all Klein's rants against the Washington Consensus, countries that have followed the "Caracas Consensus" policies advocated by Chavez and Morales have done pretty bad, a fact that she would never concede. Anyways.
Ironically, many affected indigineous people were shut out of the conference. Seems they might have issues with some of the State's development ideas. And Evo sure made Naomi prouder, by going on about gays, chickens, and bald people to everyone's amusement. Except for proud neo-Stalinist Naomi, who is too stupid to get it.