Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, the Argentine human rights campaigner who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980, has proposed that former Bolivia president Evo Morales be granted the same distinction.
The humanitarian leader formally nominated the Bolivian leader, who currently lives in Buenos Aires, to the Nobel Committee of Norway, through a statement posted on his website.
"It is an honour for me to present before this Committee the candidature of a union and social leader, the first indigenous President of Latin America, who managed to successfully implement programmes to fight poverty, inequality, climate change and, therefore, to foster peace," wrote Pérez Esquivel.
“The country model of equality, social justice, and sovereignty that Evo led must be recognised internationally,” he affirmed.
Peréz Esquivel was distinguished by the Nobel committee 40 years ago for his human rights work and his opposition to Argentina's brutal 1976-1983 military dictatorship, during which he was detained, tortured, and held without trial for 14 months.
Morales resigned the Bolivian Preisdency on November 10 under pressure from the Armed Forces and amid protests, after reports of fraud in the Bolivian elections where he won re-election. Ahead of new elections called for May 3, Morales sought to run for office as a senator, but his candidacy was rejected by the Supreme Electoral Court.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee accepts all proposals submitted by the January 31 deadline by one of the thousands of individuals able to launch a candidacy. These include parliamentarians and ministers from all countries, some university professors, and current or past members of the committee.
The Bolivian leaders "fight against poverty and inequality has made of Bolivia a country that was building a sustainable and lasting peace," said Peréz Esquivel, decrying Bolivia's "elites" who "attempted on several occasions to overthrow the legitimate and legal government of Evo Morales."
The human rights leader declared in his letter that Morales' removal from power was a "coup d’ètat" and he praised the Bolivian leader for resigning "in order to avoid a confrontation."
"I am convinced that the Nobel Peace Prize for Evo Morales Ayma will be a fair recognition and an incentive in the struggle for inclusion, for the eradication of poverty and for sustainable development," he concluded.