La Paz: A three-day conference on climate change in the central Bolivian town of Tiquipaya made more headlines for the striking comments by Bolivian President Evo Morales than any concrete proposals.
"The chicken we eat is full of female hormones," Morales claimed on Tuesday. "That is why men, when they eat this chicken, have deviations in their being as men," in a reference to homosexuality.
He said European men went bald because they ate transgenic products and predicted that "within 50 years everyone will be bald”. Morales charged that Coca-Cola was effective to clean blocked plumbing but harmful for human health.
Morales' spokesman Ivan Canelas complained on Thursday that the media had engaged in "exaggeration" of the statements and had highlighted the President's comments with "ill intent".
The comments indeed overshadowed the gathering's demands for clear measures by industrial countries to stop climate change. Delegates asserted in a final declaration that disastrous consequences will arise from a rise in average temperatures of just 1 degree Celsius - not 2 degrees, as international experts generally estimate the threshold for severe impacts.
"Either capitalism dies, or the Earth dies," Morales said on Tuesday, as he opened the summit.
More than 20,000 people from some 140 countries took part in the meeting that ended on Thursday, and many of them called for a socialist economic order as an antidote against climate change. Most participants were members of social movements and indigenous communities.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was the only government leader to join Morales at the gathering near the city of Cochabamba.
First Published: Friday, April 23, 2010, 14:56