Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said on Monday that the subcontinent must cease to be called Latin America and should be renamed Indo-America, to honor the roots of its native inhabitants.
“Let us start using this term ( . . . ); such concept of Latin America was imposed on us,” Chávez said. By saying Indian America or Indo-America “we are including the black American and the white European because we do not exclude anyone. ( . . . ) For that reason, everyday I speak less and less of Hispanic America, or Latin America. We are from Indo-America, from Afro-America. That is what we are, instead of any other name,” Chávez said.
The president made these remarks at the closing ceremony of the First Bolivarian and Indo-American Congress “Indigenous Young Warriors against Poverty and Imperialism,” which took place on Monday night at the Municipal Theater of Caracas, after three days of discussions.
The event was attended by a group of international delegates, whom the Venezuelan president urged to plan a Second Congress. He said that the Congress should be carried out every year in a different venue, from Canada to Argentina.
Chávez also suggested them to “make proposals, requests or petitions to the authorities (of their countries). That way,” he said, “we will commit to the needs of our indigenous peoples.” The Venezuelan head of state invited them to bring their proposals to international organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations (UN).
In a talk via satellite, Bolivian President Evo Morales thanked Venezuela for its support and solidarity. Chávez described his counterpart as a “regional leader.” “Evo must be declared the President of all the Indigenous peoples of this continent; he must be the leader of Indo-America.”
In another contact, Manuel Mariñas, the president of Simón Rodríguez University, said in an interview with the Venezuelan state-run TV channel Venezolana de Televisión (VTV) that the Venezuelan university is planning to create a campus in southern Amazonas state for indigenous communities.