Evo Morales Promulgates Law That Lowers Retirement Age

Bolivian President Evo Morales, this Friday, promulgated the Law of Pensions whose content was, for the first time in the history of Bolivia, concretized by workers and representatives of social movements.  The Bolivian leader declared that the promulgation of this new law is evidence of the deepening of democracy in the nation.

“What is most important to highlight is the fact that, when we bring together workers with their experience and our ministers and our experts, it is possible together to formulate, propose, and develop a law for the benefit of the Bolivian people,” Morales said this Friday in a speech at the Bolivian Workers’ Center (COB).

The text of the law, passed a week ago by the Plurinational Legislative Assembly, ensures that long-term social security be provided by a Comprehensive System of Pensions and that lowers the retirement age for both men and women from 60 to 58 and that of miners to 56.

The Bolivian leader emphasized that the passage of the new pension law “is proof that Bolivia is in a new era of deepening democracy in which citizens are protagonists who make decisions” that are taken.

Morales said that the ceremony to celebrate the new pension law is of historic significance “not only for the presence of leaders, of ministers, of the Military High Command” at the COB headquarters, but also because “unlike other governments the Bolivians are developing our own rules for the benefit of the people.”

“In the past, millions and millions of dollars were wasted on some regulatory reforms.  Consultants were hired, IMF experts and hired experts came, invited by the World Bank to impose rules against the interest of the Bolivian people,” said Morales.

The Bolivian head of state stressed that his country “no longer needs millions of dollars and IMF and World Bank experts to draft and pass new laws.”

“Much still remains to be done in Bolivia and the world, but we are now a major international benchmark,” said Morales.

In his speech, Morales told a story of his trade union life and said that Bolivian workers “are a big family” who have historically fought for democracy and social change in this Andean country.

Morales saluted the Bolivian trade unions, saying that they came into the “government to begin to change Bolivia, to represent Bolivia, to establish sovereignty.”

COB Executive Secretary Pedro Montes affirmed that the pension law “is not a gift, but a recognition of the struggle of workers.”

The COB leader remembered that in the past the laws came from “the offices of bureaucracy and the bourgeoisie,” whereas today “consensus with citizen representatives is sought and found.”

The new Law of Pensions marks a new stage of inclusion ensuring that all citizens have the rights established by the 2009 Political Constitution of Bolivia.

This year, the pension issue roiled France after the French government promulgated a controversial law that raised retirement age from 60 to 62.  That provoked fierce protests all over France.

The original article “Evo Morales promulga ley que reduce edad de jubilación” was published by TeleSur on 10 December 2010.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (@yoshiefuruhashi | yoshie.furuhashi [at] gmail.com).

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