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Evo Morales

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Evo Morales, December 2009.

Evo Morales Ayma (b. 1959), is the current president of Bolivia. He was democratically elected on December 18, 2005, as candidate of the Movement for Socialism (MAS). Morales is known as a member of what has been called "Latin America's new left axis" or "Pink tide", along with Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, Ecuador's Rafael Correa, Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Uruguay's Tabaré Vázquez, Chile's Michelle Bachelet, Paraguay's Fernando Lugo and Argentina's Néstor Kirchner.[1]

[edit] Overview

Morales, the son of poor indigenous peasants, is a long time defender of the Quechua people. He began his rise to power in 2001, with his leadership of the coca growers union and his high-profile opposition to the U.S.-funded eradication of the coca crop. He helped to lead the street demonstrations by Indian and union groups that toppled the country’s last two presidents. He has described the "new face of Latin America" as "nationalist, indigenista, and leftist."

President Morales certainly wasn't well seen by the Bush administration [2], with the argument that he's "a drug-funded leftist who's turned the support of coca growers into a political movement that threatens the country's wobbly democracy." [3] Morales has proposed a new Constitution that includes, for the first time since independence, rights for the indigenous people and to enshrine his policies of nationalization and land redistribution. Some criticize his policies as "unfocused", and in a referendum in July 2006, the MAS failed to win a majority in the Constitutional Assembly. In November, Morales signed into law a land-reform bill that called for the seizure of unproductive lands from absentee owners and their redistribution to the poor. [4]

An unauthorized biography of Evo Morales, published in 2008 as "Jefazo" (The Big Boss), describes him as "precarious, pro-Indian, anti-American, stubborn and distrustful whose administration attracts more than one and that challenges the colonial history of Latin America." The book argues that Morales has been forced to make some concessions. [5]

[edit] Footnotes

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