Evo Morales

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Evo Morales is the President of Bolovia. He won the December 18, 2005 presidential election as the candidate of the Movimento Al Socialismo (Movement to Socialism) or MAS. He took office in January 2006.

Early estimates suggested that he won 51% of the vote against his nearest rival, Jorge "Tuto" Quiroga, who received 31-34% of the vote. His election campaign promised the decriminalization of coca gorowing and the nationalization of economic rent producing natural resources, including oil, gas and other minerals. Decriminalization of coca, a traditonal crop in the Andes from which cocaine is produced, would be accompanied by promotion of the export of coca leaf tea to China and Europe. According to the United Nations, there are 27,700 hectares of coca in Bolivia, 10,100 hectares in Chapare, 17,300 in the Los Yungas region of La Paz and 300 hectares in Apolo, north of La Paz.

Born in 1959 in the tin mining town of Orinco in Oruro district in the Altiplano, Morales's ethnic Aymara family was part of the large migration of unemployed miners in the 1970s and 1980s to the lowlands, where coca gowing provided incomes. Heavy handed "military syle" Bolivian government drug eradication efforts funded by the United States government sparked a popular opposition among coca farmers called cocaleros and Morales emerged as one of its leaders. The U.S. government wasted some $150 million on coca-eradication efforts in Bolivia in 2004, a year that still saw the Bolivians produce 60,500 acres of the crop.

First elected to the Bolivian Congress in 1997, Morales ran for president in 2002 and surprised observers by coming in second. Since 2002 popular protestsd have forced the resignations of two presidents. That is why the presidential election was moved forward from 2007 to 2005.

References

  • 'Joel Brinkley. "U.S. keeps Wary Eye on the Next Bolivian President." The New York Times. December 21, 2005.
  • Patrick McDonnell. "Jubilant Morales Vows to be Another Thorn in the Side of US." The Sydney Morning Herald. December 20, 2005.
  • David Reieff. "Che's Second Coming?" The New York Times Magazine. November 20, 2005. Pp. 72-77.
  • "Evo Morales's Party in Bolivia Plans to Legalize Coca; Export Coca Tea to China." BBC. November 24, 2005.

External Links

  • Corte Nacional Electoral
  • Democracy Now News Article
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