Evo Morales: the Desire for more

Эво Моралес: Стремление к большему

The last decade was not the most successful of those leaders in Latin America that professed leftist views and allow themselves to openly challenge the dominant region of the United States. In some countries, these leaders have shifted during the elections, where they died under not clear circumstances, as, for example, driven to despair by external pressure and mistakes in the internal politics of Venezuela for nearly a year, as on the verge of revolution.

But in the continental part of Latin America there is a country whose leader continues to firmly hold on to power and there is not the slightest indication that he can lose it.

Who is Evo Morales? As ruling the country one of the most stable Latin American presidents and why he wins over and over again?

Fourth term

With nearly 14 years of the presidency of Bolivia, Evo Morales is one of the longest current leaders in Latin America at the moment. After the decision of the constitutional court of the country, by many considered controversial, the abolition of limiting the number of presidential terms, held on October 20 elections, he was elected for the fourth time in a row.

Evo Morales – the first in the country’s history, an ethnic Indian, won the presidency. The winner, he was declared despite the protests of opponents and allegations of rigging.

He got 47.1% of votes and his main opponent (historian, journalist and former President of Bolivia Carlos Mesa) — of 36.51%. At the same time to win in the first round a candidate must gain more than 50% of the votes or at least 40%, but with a separation from the nearest rival by 10%.

Opponents of Evo Morales is suspected of power in an attempt to affect the outcome of the vote, after the evening immediately following the close of voting the electoral Commission for some time suspended the counting of votes, and it happened in the moment when preliminary results gave the incumbent President 45% and the month – 38%. The country erupted into protests dissatisfied with the decision of the electoral Commission. However, they quickly subsided. And at the moment, despite the refusal of Carlos Mesa to admit defeat, we can say that Evo Morales is again the President of Bolivia.

Coca leaves

Evo Morales was born in the countryside in the Western part of the region of Oruro, in the family of Indians of the Aymara people.

Political credibility he earned as the leader of the Union of Coca growers. I must say that Coca (plant-based cocaine) has been used in the Andes for eight thousand years for religious purposes, but also to combat altitude sickness and as a mild stimulant. The Americans attempted to limit its production led to mass resentment of the indigenous population in the Wake of which and became a politician Evo Morales.

For the first time he ran for President in 2002, promising to govern in the interests of the indigenous peoples of Bolivia, who for centuries have suffered from marginalization and discrimination. And, despite the first setback, he was able to win a crushing victory on his second attempt in December 2005. After coming to power, he supported a new Constitution that officially declared Bolivia a “Plurinational and secular”, to better reflect the interests of many ethnic groups in the country.

He also, as before the election, continued to fight for the rights of farmers growing Coca, while maintaining the legitimacy of its cultivation and introducing measures to regulate its turnover, despite pressure from the United States with the aim of complete destruction of this culture. In 2011, he even restored an old recipe for Coca-Cola produced in the territory of Bolivia, Coca entering into its composition.

The US authorities accused him that he is not doing enough to stop the production and trafficking of cocaine, while he insisted that he fights with the total criminalization of the industry, allowing you to grow small amounts of Coca in religious and cultural purposes. The relationship of Evo Morales with the United States have been strained throughout his presidency. In 2008, he expelled U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, accusing him of plotting against his government, and suspended the activities of the American Management on struggle against drugs in Bolivia.

In 2013, he was also expelled from the country by the us Agency for international development (USAID), accusing him of supporting the Bolivian opposition.

The distribution of wealth

Evo Morales was part of the so-called “pink wave” of leftist leaders, which came to power in South America in the early 2000-ies. The same wave, which to date has almost disappeared. But then she was in power. A staunch socialist Evo Morales after taking office has cut his own salary and the salaries of the members of his government. This was his first step.

He then began the process of re-nationalization of the oil and gas industry. Increased tax revenues have allowed Bolivia to increase significantly their public investment and contributed to an increase in foreign exchange reserves of the country. The government invested heavily in public works projects and social programs to combat poverty. Since his coming to power, the level of extreme poverty fell from 38% in 2006 to 17% in 2018. However, his critics point out that in the last two years, extreme poverty has again increased.

Left-wing politics of President Evo Morales harassed and in some cases antagonized many Bolivians from the middle class, who considered him too radical.

It is not surprising that the opposition is particularly strong in the wealthy Eastern lowland province of Santa Cruz, which is the economic hub of Bolivia.

His critics also accuse Evo Morales of failing to fight corruption, which many Bolivians call their top issue in the presidential election of 2019. However, this problem is common to all countries in the region.

Defeat

One of its greatest defeats was the inability to provide Bolivia an outlet to the sea in a territorial dispute with neighboring Chile, which is a matter of national pride for many Bolivians. The country lost its access to the Pacific ocean in 1884 after the war with Chile and has since been trying to restore it. In October 2018 the international court of justice ruled in favor of Chile, which was a major failure personally to President Morales, who assured Bolivians that the victory was “very close.”

Besides, Evo Morales is regularly performed at international climate conferences where he advocated greater respect for “Mother Earth”. However, it was not always possible to balance this intention with economic development. One of the most controversial issues of his presidency concerned the plans to build a major road through the Amazon, which, as claimed by the indigenous groups of Indians will open their territory to illegal logging of the jungle and land seizures. Large-scale protests led to violent clashes and forced the government to retreat in 2011. But the project gained new momentum in 2017, when Mr. Morales has rejected international concern as a form of “colonial environmentalism”.

Recently, in 2019, Evo Morales has faced protests over the fires that raged in the protected Eastern part of the country. The protesters urged him to cancel the decree, which allowed “controlled burning of a forest” for assistance to farmers with large plots for growing crops.

There is no alternative

59-year-old Evo Morales voters credited with the fact that he brought economic and political stability of Bolivia, which before its coming to power in 2006, five years there have been five presidents.

Then, 14 years ago, he promised assistance to the most disadvantaged and neglected segments of the population, and kept his word by writing in the Constitution, a significant expansion of the rights of indigenous peoples.

He has successfully used the global economic conjuncture (boom of commodity prices, particularly for natural gas) of Bolivia providing long-term growth. Since 2006, the number of Bolivian citizens living on less than $ 2 a day declined by two-thirds: up to 6% of the population.

Of course, those economic conditions is finite. International analysts warn that the model of past success was based on factors that no longer exist. Authorities are trying to encourage private investment in industry, especially in plastic recycling and manufacture of lithium batteries, but while the public sector remains the main investor. “Bolivia wants to join the first industrial revolution, but the world has long been in fourth or fifth,” says Bolivian economist the views of the opposition Gonzalo Chavez.

However, any real alternative to the Evo Morales Bolivian fragmented opposition could not provide. In addition, the voters of Bolivia sees the results of a return to power Pro-American forces in countries such as Brazil and Ecuador. And it is more than evident watching the first three decades of the “liberal Paradise” in neighboring Chile. And just doesn’t want to abandon what has guaranteed, in favor of someone else’s promises. According to Bolivia, the Evo Morales always was the quality that determined most of his actions — the desire for more. And now it is there in all of Bolivia, even though some economic stagnation are seeing now. And in the background surrounding its total despair that prevails in neighboring countries, this in itself is a powerful argument in favor of, to cherish such a leader like Evo Morales. What, in General, Bolivians and demonstrated.

From their point of view, there is no alternative.

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