Bolivia's Morales Urges EU to Drop Harsh Proposals on Migrants
June 14, 2008 -

By Alan Purkiss -

June 16 (Bloomberg) -- Bolivia's President Evo Morales said proposed European Union rules for expelling undocumented migrants, to be voted on by the European Parliament this week, infringe the human rights of Latin Americans.

Writing in the Guardian, he said such migrants, who take jobs that Europeans won't do, in public works, construction, cleaning, hospitals and domestic work, face a harsh regime of detention and deportation.

For countries such as Bolivia, he said, ``our emigrants represent help in development that Europeans do not give us.''

In 2006, he said, Latin America received $68 billion sent back from abroad, more than the total foreign investment inflow; Bolivia, for instance, received more than 10 percent of its gross domestic product in such remittances.

Until the end of World War II, he said, Europeans arrived in Latin America en masse, without visas or conditions being imposed on them, though ``they came to exploit the natural wealth and to transfer it to Europe with a high cost for the native population.''

The EU's proposed measures against migrants are accompanied by a campaign to persuade the Andean Community of Nations, which brings together Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, to sign an ``association agreement'' that would involve selling publicly owned water, gas and telecommunications undertakings to private commercial interests, Morales said.

He concluded that the social cohesion difficulties that Europe now faces aren't the fault of migrants, but result from a model of development imposed by advanced countries that ``destroys the planet and dismembers human societies.''

The draft EU proposals to be voted on would allow undocumented migrants to be held in detention centers for as much as 18 months and then be barred from re-entering the community for five years