UNITED NATIONS - There was no democracy at the United Nations, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was “the economic instrument of the United States”, Bolivia’s leftist–populist president Evo Morales has said. Speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters in New York on late Wednesday, he said it was not possible for all member states to be subjected to the Security Council, the world body’s power centre.

“What Security Council?” the Bolivian leader asked.  “It was an in-security council for mankind around the world,” he said, adding that would have to be discussed at another time.

President Morales also pointed to the US blockade against Cuba, saying that all the countries in the world, except two, were in favour of lifting it, so why not enforce those resolutions?  Israel and the United States rejected it, and all countries were subjected to their will. “What democracy?” he asked again.

Morales was at the United Nations as part of a day of events to inaugurate 2013 as the “Year of Quinoa,” a campaign to raise awareness of the high nutritional value of quinoa, an ancient plant of the Andes that has become one of Bolivia’s most profitable export crops. Morales said even some lawyers in Bolivia had become quinoa farmers.

The Bolivian Government, with the backing of Argentina, Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Georgia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, together with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), had spearheaded the initiative, approved by the General Assembly in 2011.  Following that, in 2012, Morales was named Special Ambassador to FAO for the Year’s observance. To a question about some large multinational companies having tried to block the International Year, the Bolivian leader said he had enormous differences with the capitalist system, adding that when there was competition there was poverty and unfairness. His main difficulty with the capitalist system was the colonization of so-called developing or underdeveloped countries, especially in Latin America.  “When we started to recover our own natural resources, only then through nationalization of fossil fuels did Bolivia’s economy start to recover.” Whereas raw materials had previously been exploited, now investment was growing, the president said.  Imagine how much the neo-liberals had stolen from Bolivians, due to the imposition of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which he called “the economic arm and the economic instrument of the United States”.

The economic policies of certain countries and multinational corporations set conditions, he said, and when they felt like it, they left people without food.  Those corporations were being used as an instrument of capitalism at the behest of the United States Government, which only led to poverty and hunger. 

To additional questions, he said that if the transnational companies wanted to be Bolivia’s partners, they were welcome, but they “cannot be our bosses or pillage our natural resources”.  That was occurring in Africa, and he urged them to get back their natural resources and sovereignty, as that would change their national economies. He attributed the recent nationalization of Bolivia’s three airports, which were operated by foreign companies, to their failed investment plans, saying that the companies involved were harvesting money, not investing it.  The manager of one particular company earned $18,000 per month. 

“That’s what I earn in nine months,” the President said.  Morales was asked several more questions, ranging from what one correspondent called the “Iranian nuclear problem with the Americans” to the situation in Syria.