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Congratulations to Evo Morales on election as President of Bolivia

Letter to H.E. Mr Evo Morales, President of the Republic of Bolivia, 31 January 2006

31 January 2006

Your Excellency,

It is with great joy and hope that I would like to offer you my congratulations
on your election and assumption of office as President of the Republic of Bolivia.

Your accession to the post reasserts the spiritual values of the indigenous peoples
of the Andes, as could be seen in Tihuanaco, and fills not only Bolivians with hope
but also millions of indigenous peoples in Latin America and around the world,
as well as all those who share the values expressed in your eloquent speech of
acceptance, when you spoke of "changing the course of history, ending the oppression,
injustice and discrimination of 500 years… without hatred or rancour."

Your recent gesture of making a significant reduction in your own salary shows
your responsible approach to your task as President. The effects of this will be felt
throughout the administration, in which we appreciate the appointment to senior
positions of Christians committed to the struggle for justice. The people of
Bolivia are longing for peace, justice and reconciliation and have confidence that
your government will make significant progress in this direction.

In November 2004 I had the opportunity to visit your beautiful country and
see at first hand the difficulties your people are living through, especially the
indigenous communities. Moved by this visit I sent a letter to the churches in
Bolivia in June last year, in response to the Ecumenical Pastoral Letter headed
"Let us all agree". This message said, "The exclusion of the indigenous peoples from the
social and political life of the country, which unfortunately happens in other countries as
well, is one of the obstacles to the building of a true and strong democracy." Your election
marks a historical turning point. We join our good wishes to those of all the people
of Bolivia and our brothers and sisters in Latin America who are hoping for
far-reaching changes in the years ahead to restore their violated dignity.
In two weeks time, from 14 to 23 February, the Assembly of the World Council
of Churches will be meeting at Porto Alegre, Brazil, on the theme "God in your
grace, transform the world". This will be the first time in the WCC's fifty-year
history that an assembly has been held in Latin America. Significant political
changes in the region, not least your election, will provide an eminently suitable
setting in which to think together about God who transforms the world by his
grace and to renew our commitment to peace, justice and reconciliation.

May I end by wishing you every success in the difficult task that lies ahead of
you, so that the dreams of millions of people in Bolivia, Latin America and the
world may become possible. You may be assured that the member churches of
the WCC will continue to work and pray for a future of greater justice and solidarity
in Bolivia.

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
WCC general secretary