Morales is hoping to persuade Bolivian opposition legislators to allow a new electoral law that would give more political power to indigenous groups and likely benefit his power-base.
Yesterday the Latin American Herald reported Morales telling Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that he would miss the summit, and the preceding meeting of the leftist Latin grouping, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) in Caracas, Venezuela.
Morales made his disclosure during a phone call from Chavez, broadcast “live” on a Bolivian state television. Chavez gave Morales his nod. Reuters reported that former Cuban President Fidel Castro also called the television station to give his support.
Morales said, “I decided not to travel to either the ALBA summit or to the Summit of the Americas. We’re going to fight this battle, which in any case is between the oppressed peoples and the oligarchic groups.”
Reporters met Manning and his wife, Hazel Manning, yesterday touring the Summit Village near the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Newsday asked about Morales’ likely absence.
Manning replied, “I notice we have not had official communication yet but I notice the statement that he made on the BBC this morning. You know what is going on in Bolivia at this time.”
However Manning said he was watching to see how things work out.
“It is possible that things could change, that allow him to come. He is the only leader that has indicated his inability to attend so far, and that has not yet been formally done.” Would he contact Morales? Manning replied: “We probably will. Yes.”
Newsday humorously asked if some Trini delicacies could be offered to try to tempt Morales to come to Trinidad.
Manning, in the sprit of the question, quipped, “Yes, yes. A crab and callaloo should set him right. Together with a corn soup, eh? And if that’s not enough, then a bake and shark.”