In the Assembly of the City of Valladolid of December 14, 2011 a councilor of the municipal corporation made an unfortunate phrase, “From Maputo, honestly, I think we not have much to learn.”
A politician expressing this kind of opinion, in a public debate, it is very worrying, especially in these times.
Maputo is the capital of Mozambique, a country that after too many years of war, improuved as almost all the wars of the South by the northern powers, is trying to get ahead. World Bank reports inform it next to Vietnam as a country that is getting enormous efforts to reduce poverty and illiteracy rates. And this, despite being an oil importing country. Infant mortality has decreased, although still at too high levels, and schooling rates have increased.
Mozambique has benefited from debt relief initiatives, a debt which stifled their development potential. Under the leadership of its democratically elected government, donors have coordinated to provide direct budget support: that is, directly provide funds to your budget, no specific projects, small or large, but its state budget, under a strategy of poverty reduction made by the government. The priority of public spending has been the reduction of poverty through social programs. And the debt renegotiation.
We could learn much from the South, the resilience, the joy of the people when they celebrate, the energy and tenderness with which women feed their families, the daily efforts performed by millions of girls and boys to attend the school, the care with which it addresses the land, knowing that the colored papers to which we value so much in the North, not eaten.
We could learn too, from citizens, parliaments and governments, who one day decided that the debts that were strangling odious and illegitimate. They decided not to pay. And continued.
At least, from the inhabitants of Maputo we could learn to dance. And it is not trivial. In the midst of a financial crisis, prelude to a global energy and climate crisis that will challenge the very foundations of our society, and gripped by a pervasive sense of fear and anguish, dance, sing, celebrate, dream, laugh, and, in this way, imagine creative and human alternatives, may be the only way to find a new direction toward direct our steps.
Carmen Duce Diaz
Valladolid, January 8, 2012
Annex to see and hear: