|80th President of Bolivia|
January 22, 2006
|Vice President||Álvaro García Linera|
|Preceded by||Eduardo Rodríguez|
|Leader of Movement for Socialism|
January 1, 1998
|Born||Juan Evo Morales Ayma
26 October 1959
|Political party||Movement for Socialism|
|Religion||Religion of Pachamama and Roman Catholicism|
Juan Evo Morales Ayma, (born October 26, 1959), popularly known as Evo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈeβo]), is a Bolivian politician and activist, serving as President of Bolivia since 2006. Morales began his political career as a Cocalero trade union organizer. His administration has focused on the implementation of leftist policies, poverty reduction and combating the influence of the United States and transnational corporations in Bolivia.
Born to an Aymara family of subsistence farmers in Isallawi, Orinoca Canton, Evo undertook a basic education before mandatory military service, in 1978 moving to Chapare Province. Growing coca, he joined the cocalero trade union, rising to prominence in the campesino (rural laborers) union, campaigning against the United States and Bolivian government's attempts to eradicate coca as a part of the War on Drugs. Entering electoral politics in 1995, he became the leader of the Movement for Socialism (MAS), focusing on issues affecting indigenous and poor communities, advocating land reform and redistribution of gas wealth. Gaining increasing visibility through the gas conflict and the Cochabamba protests of 2000, in 2002 he was expelled from Congress, though he came second in that year's presidential election.
Elected president in 2005, he instituted land confiscation, redistribution and nationalisation of key industries. He scaled back U.S. involvement in Bolivia while building relationships with other nations in the Latin American Pink Tide and joining the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas. Winning a recall referendum in 2008, he instituted a new constitution before being re-elected with a landslide in 2009, furthering leftist policies and joining the Bank of the South and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
Morales has received international acclaim for his support of indigenous rights and anti-imperialism, and has been named "World Hero of Mother Earth" by Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, then-President of the United Nations General Assembly.
- 1 Early life and activism
- 2 Early political activity
- 3 Presidency
- 4 Political style
- 5 Popular culture
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Early life and activism
Childhood, education and military service: 1959–1978
Morales was born in the small rural village of Isallawi (which is now burned down) in Orinoca Canton, part of western Bolivia's Oruro Department, on 26 October 1959. One of seven children born to Dionisio Morales Choque and Maria Mamani, only he and two siblings, Esther and Hugo, survived past childhood. His mother almost died from a postpartum haemorrhage following his birth. Ethnically a Mestizo (confirming mixed European/Local Indian heritage), much of his ancestry came from the indigenous Aymara people, and in keeping with Aymara custom, his father buried the placenta produced after his birth in a place specially chosen for the occasion. His childhood home was a traditional adobe house, and he grew up speaking the Aymara language, although later commentators would remark that by the time he had become president he was no longer an entirely fluent speaker.
Morales's family were farmers and from an early age he aided them in planting and harvesting crops and guarding their herd of llamas and sheep, taking a homemade soccer ball to amuse himself. As a toddler, he briefly attended Orinoca's preparatory school, and aged 5 began schooling at the single-room primary school in Isallawi. Aged 6, he spent 6 months in northern Argentina with his sister and father. There, Dionisio harvesting sugar cane while Evo sold ice cream and briefly attended a Spanish-language school. As a child, he regularly travelled by foot to Arani province in Cochabamba with his father and their llamas, a journey lasting up to two weeks, in order to exchange their salt and potatoes for maize and coca. A big fan of soccer, aged 13 he organised a community soccer team with himself as team captain. Within two years, he had been elected training coach for the whole region, gaining early experience with leadership.
After finishing primary education, Morales attended the Agrarian Humanistic Technical Institute of Orinoca (ITAHO), completing all but the final year. His parents then sent him to study for a degree in Oruro; although he did poorly academically, he finished all of his courses and exams by 1977, earning money on the side as a brick-maker, day labourer, baker and a trumpet player for the Royal Imperial Band, the latter of which allowed him to travel across Bolivia. At the end of his higher education he failed to collect his degree certificate. Although interested in studying journalism at university, he didn't have the aptitude to pursue it as a profession. Morales served mandatory conscription in the army from 1977 to 1978. Initially signed up at the Centre for Instruction of Special Troops (CITE) in Cochabamba, he was sent into the Fourth Ingavi Cavalry Regiment and stationed at the army headquarters in La Paz. These two years saw "one of Bolivia's politically most unstable periods", with five presidents and two military coups, led by General Juan Pereda and General David Padilla respectively; under the latter's regime, Morales was stationed as a guard at the Palacio Quemado (Presidential Palace).
Early cocalero activism: 1978–1983
Following his military service, Evo returned to his family, who had escaped the agricultural devastation of 1980's El Niño storm cycle by relocating to the Tropics of Cochabamba in the eastern lowlands. Setting up home in the town of Villa 14 de Septiembre, El Chapare, using a loan from Evo's maternal uncle, the family cleared a plot of land in the forest to grow rice, oranges, grapefruit, papaya, bananas and later on coca. The arrival of the Morales family was a part of a much wider migration to the region; in 1981 El Chapare's population was 40,000 but by 1988 it had risen to 215,000. Many Bolivians hoped to set up farms where they could earn a living growing coca, which was experiencing a steady rise in price and which could be cultivated up to four times a year; a traditional medicinal and ritual substance in Andean culture, it was also sold abroad as a key ingredient in the illicit drug cocaine. Evo joined the local soccer team, before founding his own team, New Horizon, who proved victorious at the August 2nd Central Tournament. The El Chapare region remained special to Evo for many years to come; during his presidency he often talked of it in speeches and regularly visited.
In El Chapare, Evo joined a trade union of cocalero (coca growers), being appointed local Secretary of Sports. Organizing soccer tournaments, among union members he earned the nickname of "the young ball player" because of his tendency to organise matches during meeting recesses. Influenced in joining the union by wider events, in 1980 the far-right General Luis García Meza had seized power in a military coup, banning other political parties and declaring himself president; for Evo, a "foundational event in his relationship with politics" occurred in 1981, when a campesino (coca grower) was accused of cocaine trafficking by soldiers, beat up and burned to death. In 1982 the leftist Hernán Siles Zuazo and the Democratic and Popular Union (Unidad Democrática y Popular - UDP) took power in representative democratic elections, before implementing neoliberal capitalist reforms and privatizing much of the state sector with US support; hyperinflation came under control, but unemployment rose to 25%. In 1983, Evo's father Dionisio died, and he temporarily retreated from his union work to organise his father's affairs.
Fighting their War on Drugs, the U.S. government hoped to stem the cocaine trade by preventing the production of coca; they pressured the Bolivian government to eradicate it, sending troops to Bolivia to aid the operation. Angered by this, Evo returned to cocalero campaigning; like many comrades, he refused the $2,500 compensation offered by the government for each acre of coca he eradicated. Deeply embedded in Bolivian culture, the campesinos had an ancestral relationship with coca and didn't want to lose their most profitable means of subsistence. For them, it was an issue of national sovereignty, with the U.S. viewed as imperalists; activists regularly proclaimed "Long live coca! Death to the Yankees!" ("Causachun coca! Wañuchun yanquis!"). From 1982 to 1983, Evo served as the General Secretary of his local San Francisco syndicate, before serving as Secretary of Records from 1984 to 1985, and then General Secretary of the August Second Headquarters in 1985.
General Secretary of the Cocalero Union: 1985–1994
By 1985, Morales was elected general secretary in a union of coca farmers and by 1988 was elected executive secretary of the Tropics Federation. He retains this position to this day, even while serving as president of Bolivia. Around this time the Bolivian government, encouraged by the US, began a program to eradicate most coca production. By 1996 Morales was made president of the Coordinating Committee of the Six Federations of the Tropics of Cochabamba. Morales was among those opposing the government's position on coca and lobbied for a different policy. This opposition often resulted in him being jailed and in an incident in 1989, beaten near to death by UMOPAR forces (who, assuming he had been slain, dumped his unconscious body in the bushes where it was discovered by his colleagues).
In his speeches, Morales presented the coca leaf as a symbol of Andean culture that was under threat of extinction from the imperialist oppression of western culture, in particular that of the U.S. In his view, the U.S. should deal with their domestic problems of cocaine abuse without interfering in Bolivia, arguing that they had no right trying to eliminate coca, a legitimate product with many uses which played a rich role in Andean culture. Furthermore, he presented the coca growers themselves as victims of a wealthy, urban social elite, who had bowed to U.S. pressure in implementing neoliberal economic reforms to the detriment of the majority of Bolivians, in this way arguing that the representative democratic system in Bolivia failed to reflect the true democratic will of the majority.
Morales soon led a 600 km march from Cochabamba to the Bolivian capital La Paz. While they were often attacked by law enforcement officers, they managed to proceed by sneaking around their control posts. They were often greeted by supporters who gave the marchers drink, food, clothes and shoes. They were greeted with cheers by supporters in La Paz and the government was forced to negotiate an accord with them. After the marchers returned home, the government reneged on the deal and sent forces to harass them. According to Morales during this time in 1997 a United States Drug Enforcement Administration helicopter strafed farmers with automatic rifle fire, killing five of his supporters. He has also recounted how he was grazed by assassins' bullets in Villa Tunari in 2000. He was recognized in 1996 by an international coalition against the "War on Drugs". Morales then found an audience in Europe for his positions and traveled there to gain support and to educate people on the differences between coca leaves and cocaine. In a speech on this issue, he told reporters "I am not a drug trafficker. I am a coca grower. I cultivate coca leaf, which is a natural product. I do not refine (it into) cocaine, and neither cocaine nor drugs have ever been part of the Andean culture."
Early political activity
The ASP, IPSP and MAS: 1995–1999
Members of the sindicato social movement first began suggesting that they move into the political arena in 1986. This suggestion brought much disagreement, with many fearing that a move into politics would lead the social movement to be co-opted for personal gain by politicians, who were widely mistrusted by the activists. Evo Morales began supporting the formation of a political wing in 1989, although a consensus in favor of its formation only emerged in 1993. On March 27, 1995, at the seventh congress of the Unique Confederation of Rural Laborers of Bolivia (Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia - CSUTCB), such a "political instrument" - a term intentionally employed over "political party" - was finally founded, named the Assembly for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (Asamblea por la Sobernía de los Pueblos - ASP). The ASP soon held its first congress, at which the CSUTCB participated along with three other Bolivian unions, the FNMB, CSCB and CIDOB, representing miners, peasants and indigenous peoples respectively.
Nonetheless, the National Electoral Court (Corte Nacional Electoral - CNE) prevented Morales or any of his fellow activists running for political office under the ASP banner by refusing to recognize it, citing minor procedural infringements. The coca activists circumvented this problem by instead running under the banner of the United Left (IU), a coalition of leftist parties that had been founded in 1988 and which was headed by the Communist Party of Bolivia (Partido Comunista Boliviano - PCB). They went on to win landslide victories in those areas which were local strongholds of the movement, producing 11 mayors and 49 municipal councilors. In the subsequent national elections of 1997, the IU/ASP gained four seats in Congress, obtaining 3.7% of the national vote, with this rising to 17.5% in the department of Cochabamba. Morales was among the four activists elected to Congress, representing the provinces of Chapare and Carrasco, and carrying 70% of the votes in his electoral district.
Rising electoral success was accompanied by factional in-fighting, with a leadership contest emerging in the ASP between the incumbent Alejo Véliz and Evo Morales, who had the electoral backing of the social movement's bases. Morales and his supporters subsequently split from Véliz and the ASP and formed their own party, the Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (Instrumento Político por la Soberanía de los Pueblos - IPSP). The movement's bases soon defected en masse to the IPSP, leaving the ASP to crumble and Véliz to join the centre-right New Republican Force (Nueva Fuerza Republicana - NFR), for which Morales denounced him as a traitor.
Morales came to an agreement with David Añez Pedraza, the leader of a defunct yet still registered party named the Movement for Socialism (MAS); under this agreement, Morales and the Six Federaciónes could take over the party name, with Pendraza stipulating the condition that they must maintain its own acronym, name and colors. Thus the defunct right wing MAS became the flourishing left wing vehicle for the coca activist movement known as the Movement for Socialism – Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples. The MAS is described as "an indigenous-based political party that calls for the nationalization of industry, legalization of the coca leaf ... and fairer distribution of national resources."
Morales and the MAS went on to contest the local elections of December 5, 1999.
Expulsion from Congress
While Morales was a Member of Congress, the governments of Hugo Banzer and Jorge Quiroga broadened the eradication campaign through Plan Dignidad. The coca producing region of Chapare which Morales represented was beset with hundreds of police and military officers who were seen by Morales as "committing an innumerable amount of abuses and assassinations which violated the most basic human rights and liberties." Morales denounced the militarization and said that the government was committing a massacre in the Chapare, he declared that the peasants had a right to resist militarily against the troops who were said to be shooting at protesters. Then three police officers were slain when they attempted to close a coca market. In light of Morales's comments about armed resistance on January 24, 2002 a 104-member majority of Congress voted to have him expelled. The Congressional Ethics Commission declared that Morales had committed "serious inadequacies in the execution of his duties." With his popularity rising for standing up to an unpopular government, on March 5, 2002, he submitted an objection to the Constitutional Tribunal saying his rights had been violated. He said his right to defend himself, to the presumption of innocence, and to parliamentary immunity had all been unjustly ignored.
2002 presidential elections
The same day he petitioned the Constitutional Tribunal, Morales resigned from the Confederation of Coca Producers of Cochabamba and was endorsed by the Six Federations of the Tropics as the MAS 2002 presidential candidate. The supportive crowd cheered him on saying "Kawsachun coca!" ("Long live coca!") and "Wañuchun yankis!" ("Death to the Yankees!"), they also "hoisted the wiphala, the multi-colored checkered flag that is the emblem of the Andean cultures, along with the standard tri-colored Bolivian flag."
In the 2002 presidential election, Morales came in second place, a surprising upset for Bolivia's traditional parties. This made the indigenous activist an instant celebrity throughout the continent. Morales credited his near victory in part to comments made by U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia Manuel Rocha, who warned, "As a representative of the United States, I want to remind the Bolivian electorate that if you elect those who want Bolivia to become a major cocaine exporter again, this will endanger the future of U.S. assistance to Bolivia." Morales said that these remarks helped to "awaken the conscience of the people."
2005 presidential elections
In 2005, President Carlos Mesa resigned under pressure by MAS and their supporters, led by Morales, by means of road blocks and riots. Because of this, and as a result of growing discontent and popular unrest, Congress and President Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé decided to move up the 2007 elections to December 2005.
At a gathering of farmers celebrating the 10th anniversary of the founding of MAS in March 2005, Morales declared, "MAS is ready to rule Bolivia", having "consolidated its position as the [prime] political force in the country". He also said, "the problem is not winning the elections anymore but knowing how to rule the country."
Preliminary polls placed Morales and the Movement for Socialism in an uncomfortable three-way tie with center and right wing forces and urban majority leaders Jorge Quiroga, from the party Social and Democratic Power (PODEMOS), and Samuel Doria Medina, with only a few points' difference. By August 21, Morales had chosen his running mate for the presidential elections, left-wing ideologist, sociologist, mathematician, and political analyst Álvaro García Linera, who fought alongside of Felipe Quispe as part of the Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army (EGTK).
By December 4, Morales had moved ahead in the polls to around 32% of the vote. Quiroga hovered around 27% with Samuel Doria Medina coming in at less than 15%. All of the parties promised national solidarity, nationalization (in some form) of the hydrocarbons, and wealth for the people.
On December 14, the Wall Street Journal reported, "Most polls give the 46-year-old Mr. Morales a lead of about 34% to 29% over his nearest rival, conservative former President Jorge Quiroga." Over 100,000 election judges were sworn in as the country prepared for the elections on December 18.
Exit polls were published almost as soon as voting closed, with Morales expected to win 42–45% of the vote and Quiroga 33–37%. Quiroga conceded defeat within a few hours.
By December 22, the official count was at 53.899% of the vote, with 98.697% of the ballots tallied, and no congressional vote was necessary to determine the winner.
First presidential term: 2006–2009
On January 21, 2006, Morales attended an indigenous spiritual ceremony at the archaeological site and modern spiritual center of Tiwanaku where he was crowned as Apu Mallku or Supreme Leader of the Aymara, the indigenous group to which Morales belongs, and received gifts from many groups representing indigenous peoples from various parts of Latin America and the world.
For his official inauguration, Morales had a suit designed by fashion designer Beatriz Canedo Patiño, but Andeanized it by refusing to wear a tie and having an indigenous pattern sewn on. On January 22, he officially received power in a formal inauguration ceremony in La Paz attended by multiple heads of state, including Argentine President Néstor Kirchner and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, whose country has had a history of diplomatic conflict with Bolivia (see War of the Pacific) was also present and met with the dignitary in private. In his inaugural speech, Morales described his presidency as marking a new era in Bolivia, and also boasted that "500 years of colonialism were now at an end". Also, Morales criticized the former politics of Bolivia, condemning it as "colonial" and likening it to South Africa under apartheid. He went on to describe how the MAS' election would lead to a "refoundation" of the country, a term that the MAS had consistently chosen over "revolution". He went on to further echo these viewpoints in his convocation of the Constituent Assembly, in which he proclaimed that "This is where the democratic and cultural revolution begins."
The British academic James Dunkerley noted that Morales had gathered together a cabinet made up of indigenous activists and leftist intellectuals which was, on the whole, "extremely inexperienced" at governing. Dunkerley went on to identify a wide range of philosophical influences upon the thinking of the intellectuals in the cabinet, ranging from post-structuralism to the works of Marxist thinkers Karl Marx, René Zavaleta Mercado and E.P. Thompson.
It was the stated intention of the Morales government to reduce Bolivia's most acute poverty levels, which affected 35% of the population, to 27% over the period of five years. During his first term in office, the living standards of poor Bolivians improved, reducing levels of extreme poverty and illiteracy while significantly increasing state intervention on the economy by nationalizing oil, mines, gas, and communications. Welfare provision was expanded, as characterized by the introduction of non-contributory old-age pensions and payments to mothers, provided their babies are taken for health checks and that their children attend school. Hundreds of free tractors were also handed out. The prices of gas and many foodstuffs were controlled, and local food producers were made to sell in the local market rather than export. A new state-owned body was also set up to distribute food at subsidized prices. All these measures helped to curb inflation, while the economy (partly because of rising public spending) grew strongly, accompanied by stronger public finances which brought economic stability.
Soon after ascending to power, Morales traveled to Europe, where he chose to wear a traditional multicolored Andean jumper rather than a western suit, something that attracted the interest of western media.
In September 2008, Morales accused the U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, Philip Goldberg, of "conspiring against democracy" and encouraging civil unrest, and went on to order him to leave the country. The U.S. government responded to Morales's action by ordering the Bolivian ambassador, Gustavo Guzman, out of their own country. The following day Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez stood in solidarity with his Bolivian allies by ordering the U.S. ambassador Patrick Duddy out of his country, telling him to "go to hell 100 times" and withdrawing the Venezuelan ambassador to the U.S.
A constituent assembly was convened in 2006, which produced a final text of a new Constitution of Bolivia in December 2007. It was approved in the Bolivian constitutional referendum, 2009. In the interim Morales faced an autonomy movement in the country's eastern departments, which after a failed referendum on recalling Morales culminated in the 2008 unrest in Bolivia, which the government accused the United States of supporting. Morales and the MAS government subsequently adopted autonomy as a government policy and departmental autonomies were recognized in the new Bolivian constitution, approved in a referendum in January 2009. As well as departmental autonomy, the new constitution recognizes municipal, provincial and indigenous autonomies.
Second presidential term: 2009–present
Following the approval of the new Constitution of Bolivia in the January 2009 referendum, new elections were called. Morales won the 2009 general election with a landslide majority, polling 64%, an increase on his 54% victory four years previously. His primary opponent, former army officer Manfred Reyes Villa, gained 27% of the vote, whilst cement magnate Samuel Doria Medina gained about 8%. Morales's party, the Movement for Socialism, also won a two-thirds majority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. In response to his victory, Morales proclaimed that he was "obligated to accelerate the pace of change" in Bolivia, seeing his re-election as a mandate to further his socialist reforms.
Following the victory of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, relations between Bolivia and the U.S. improved, although remained strained. After the U.S. backed the 2011 military intervention in Libya by NATO forces, Morales condemned Obama, calling for his Nobel Peace Prize to be revoked; in this he was backed by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. In November 2011, the Bolivian and U.S. governments agreed to restore diplomatic relations, although Morales refused to allow U.S. agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) back into the country. The Evo Morales government is drafting a new law on coca, which is being circulated for feedback among coca growing communities as of December 2011. The law proposes expanding legal production to 20,000 hectares, 12,000 in the currently approved regions and 8,000 in the Chapare.
In May, 2011, Morales held a book up for the world press to photograph, citing it as providing justification for his expelling DEA from his country on the basis of DEA using the drug war to manipulate the Bolivian Government. The book, La Guerra Falsa was the Spanish translation of "The Big White Lie" by retired DEA Agent Michael Levine, who also authored New York Times Bestseller "Deep Cover." Levine fired back in numerous articles that, "if President Morales had read the book he would have welcomed DEA as heroes and booted CIA from his country for betraying both the Bolivian and American people."
Bolivia faced national protests after the announcement of a supreme decree to cut government subsidies for gasoline and diesel fuels, increasing the prices of those commodities on December 28, 2010. The measures triggered widespread protests throughout the country, among groups including Morales's own political base. Following the protests, on 31 December 2010, Morales announced that the supreme decree would be annulled, saying that he was complying with his promise to "listen to the people". The protest measures were subsequently called off. His approval ratings, consistently high in his first term, have declined according to one poll.
He also faced protests in 2011 from indigenous groups for his plan to build a highway through the Amazon Basin that would encroach on the tribal lands of lowland indigenous tribes. He responded to the protests by initially calling them American lackeys, but later acceded to holding a referendum on the matter. A government crackdown later led to the resignation of his Defense Minister María Chacon.
July 2013 flight diversion
On 2 July 2013, Bolivia's foreign minister said that the diversion of Morales's presidential plane (FAB-001, a Dassault Falcon 900EX), when Portuguese, French, Spanish and Italian authorities denied access to their airspace due to suspicions that Edward Snowden was on board the aircraft, had put the president's life at risk. France apologized for the incident the next day. The presidents of Argentina, Ecuador, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela, Morales's political allies in the region, gathered to demand an explanation of the incident. 
Although often vocal in his support of socialism, many commentators have noted that Evo Morales's political ideology, and the policies which his government have implemented, are not entirely socialist in nature. In his biography of the Bolivian president, the academic Sven Harten characterised Morales's ideology as "eclectic", drawing ideas from "various ideological currents". Harten also noted that whilst Morales uses fierce anti-imperialist and socialist rhetoric, he is neither "a hardcore anti-globalist nor a Marxist", not having argued for the violent and absolute overthrow of capitalism or U.S. involvement in Latin America.
Morales is an outspoken supporter of the iconic Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, who was killed by CIA-assisted Bolivian soldiers in 1967. On October 8, 2009, at a ceremony in Vallegrande, marking the 42nd anniversary of Che's death, Morales remarked that "Guevara is invincible in his ideals, and in all this history, after so many years, he inspires us to continue fighting, changing not only Bolivia, but all of Latin America and the world." As an additional sign of admiration, Morales has had a coca leaf portrait of Guerrillero Heroico installed in the presidential palace.
However, the Morales administrations' policies are not always thought of as socialist, instead being referred to as "Andean and Amazonian capitalism" by Vice President Álvaro García Linera. Being a Marxist, García has argued that as a predominantly agricultural society, Bolivia does not contain a sufficiently large industrialized working class, or proletariat, to enable it to convert into a socialist society in the Marxist understanding of the word. For this reason García related that:
- The MAS is in no sense seeking to form a socialist government. It is not viable because socialism is built on the basis of a strongly organised working class ... Socialism is not constructed on the basis of a family economy, which is what dominates in Bolivia, but on large industry ... What is the model for Bolivia? A strong state, and that is capitalism ... It isn't even a mixed system ... What I do as a Marxist is evaluate the actual potential for development in society.
Writing in the Indian leftist magazine Economic and Political Weekly, the far left American academic James Petras (2007) argued that Morales's government during its first 15 months in office was neither socialist or anti-imperialist in nature, instead representing "an attempt to 'moralise' existing capitalist elites." He went on to argue that the Bolivian government had gained the support of Venezuela and Cuba, as well as socialists around the world, with Morales's rhetoric, but that the government's policies had failed to actually develop a socialist alternative.
Morales's unorthodox behavior contrasts with the usual manners of dignitaries and other political leaders in Latin America. For example, on January 28, 2006 he cut his salary by 57% to $1,875 a month. He is single and, before the election, he shared a flat with other MAS officers. Consequently, his older sister, Esther Morales Ayma, fulfills the role of First Lady. He has two children from different mothers, Eva Liz Morales Alvarado and Álvaro Morales Paredes; politician Juan del Granado is Eva Liz's godfather. Morales is also an association football enthusiast and plays the game frequently, often with local teams.
He also aroused much interest in his casual choice of dress after being pictured often in his striped jacket with world leaders during his world tour. Some speculated that he would wear it to the official inauguration, where he actually dressed in a white collared dress shirt without a necktie (itself unheard of in Latin America in modern times for a head of state at their own inauguration) and a black suit jacket that was not a part of a conventional suit or tuxedo. He never dresses formally in any type of business suit. The jacket he often wears (in Bolivian Spanish, a chompa) became his unofficial symbol and copies of it sold widely throughout Bolivia. Some accounts described Morales's signature jacket as alpaca-wool; others reported that it was actually made of common acrylic, because native materials had become too expensive for most Bolivians and were sold mostly in the tourist trade.
- Evo Morales appears as a character in the Latin American postmodern fantasy novel United States of Banana (2011) by Giannina Braschi; President Morales joins left-wing leaders Hugo Chavez, Lula da Silva, Fidel Castro and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on a quest to liberate the people of Puerto Rico from the United States.
- Oliver Stone directed the 2009 documentary South of the Border, a film that challenges the United States mainstream media's representation of left-wing Latin American leaders Evo Morales, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her late husband Néstor Kirchner, Rafael Correa, Raúl Castro, Fernando Lugo and Lula da Silva.
- Without mentioning his name, the 2011 novel by Caroline Alethia, Plant Teacher, parodies Morales. The novel takes place in Bolivia from 2007 to 2008, encompassing the time when Morales amended the national Constitution to extend his term limit.
Morales has declared himself Bolivia's first Aymara president. However, there is some Amerindian heritage among prior Bolivian presidents, such as Andrés de Santa Cruz (1829) —who claimed that through his mother he was descended from Inca rulers, Mariano Melgarejo (1864), Carlos Quintanilla (1939), René Barrientos (1964), Juan José Torres (1976), Luis García Meza (1980), and Celso Torrelio (1981). None of these presidents was democratically elected, with the exception of Barrientos, who had the full support of the Bolivian military establishment. While the claim is a potent symbol, it has been challenged publicly by novelist and erstwhile right-wing Peruvian presidential candidate Mario Vargas Llosa, who accuses Morales of fomenting racial divisions in an increasingly mestizo South America.
The Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano responded to Vargas Llosa saying: "I see what is happening in Bolivia as a very significant act of affirmation of diversity [which is opposite to] racism, elitism and militarism, which leave us blind to our marvellous existence, to that rainbow that we are". Although Morales has sometimes been described as the first indigenous president to be democratically elected in Latin America, this description in fact goes to Benito Juarez, a Mexican of the Zapotec ethnic group, who was elected President of Mexico in 1858.
Since he took office in 2006, some analysts and human rights organizations have stated that many of the actions and policies of the Morales government have substantially eroded the rule of law and threaten to weaken the situation of human rights in Bolivia. In August 2011, police violence on peaceful protesters became international news. Morales denied giving the police the order to attack the protesters, but the event tarnished his approval ratings. He issued a public apology and continued to claim the officers acted on their own.
On August 2012, Morales was accused by the leader of the CN party of having sexual relations with the underage daughter of one of her Cabinet members and making her pregnant. This accusation has been rebuffed by the cabinet member, mother of the underage daughter, as false and pretentious of the leader of the CN party. 
- Luis Hernández Navarro. "Bolivia Has Transformed Itself by Ignoring the Washington Consensus". Common Dreams. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- "Morales Named "World Hero of Mother Earth" by UN General Assembly". Latin American Herald Tribune. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- Harten 2011, p. 35.
- Gutsch 2006; Sivak 2008, p. 32; Harten 2011, p. 35.
- Sivak 2008, p. 33.
- 2008, p. 33; Harten 2011, p. 7.
- 2008, p. 32; Harten 2011, p. 35.
- 2008, pp. 33–34; Harten 2011, p. 36.
- 2008, p. 34; Harten 2011, p. 36.
- 2008, p. 33; Harten 2011, pp. 36–37.
- 2008, p. 34; Harten 2011, p. 40.
- Harten 2011, p. 37.
- Sivak 2008, pp. 34–35; Harten 2011, p. 37; "Profile: Evo Morales". BBC News Online. December 14, 2005..
- Sivak 2008, p. 35; Harten 2011, p. 37.
- Blackwell 2002; Sivak 2008, p. 35; Harten 2011, p. 37.
- Harten 2011, pp. 37–38.
- Sivak 2008, p. 35.
- Sivak 2008, p. 36; Harten 2011, p. 39.
- Sivak 2008, p. 39.
- Harten 2011, p. 39.
- Sivak 2008, pp. 40–41.
- Sivak 2008, p. 41.
- Sivak 2008, p. 42.
- Evo Morales profile >union leader[dead link]
- Harten 2011, pp. 74–77.
- "Evo Morales — profile > coca farmer".[dead link] Retrieved on February 13, 2007
- "Profile: Evo Morales". BBC News Online. December 14, 2005.
- Harten 2011. p. 83.
- Harten 2011. p. 84.
- "Evo Morales: profile > member of parliament".[dead link] Retrieved on February 13, 2007
- Harten 2011. p. 85.
- Monasterios, Karin, Pablo Stefanoni, and Hervé do Alto. Reinventando la nación en Bolivia: movimientos sociales, Estado y poscolonialidad. La Paz, Bolivia: CLACSO, 2007. pp. 77-78
- Harten 2011. p. 86.
- America Vera-Zavala (December 18, 2005). "Evo Morales Has Plans for Bolivia". In These Times. Retrieved February 7, 2007.
- Blackwell 2002.
- Erin Ralston (July 15, 2002). "Evo Morales and opposition to the US in Bolivia". ZNet. Retrieved February 1, 2007.
- Terra Networks Online Newspaper[dead link] Mesa resigns as President of Bolivia presed by demonstrators
- BBC Mundo New Road Blocks in Bolivia
- "No Registrado". Prensa Latina. Retrieved 2006-09-10.[dead link]
- Morales quoted in Dunkerley 2007. p. 133.
- Gutsch 2006.
- [dead link]
- Dunkerley 2007. p. 146.
- Dunkerley 2007. pp. 146-147.
- Dunkerley 2007. p. 134.
- Dunkerley 2007. p. 145.
- Dunkerley 2007. pp. 133-134.
- "The Speed of Change: Bolivian President Morales Empowered by Re-Election". Upsidedownworld.org. 2009-12-07. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- Rebick, Judy (2009-11-14). "Bolivia re-invents democratic socialism with Indigenous people in the lead". rabble.ca. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- "Evo Morales – from poverty to power". Labour Campaign for International Development. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- "The explosive apex of Evo's power". The Economist. December 10, 2009.
- BBC News 2008a.
- BBC News 2008b.
- Friedman-Rudovsky 2009.
- Caroll 2009.
- The Economist 2009.
- Lovell 2011.
- BBC News 2011a.
- BBC News 2011b.
- "Bolivian President Uses Former DEA Agent’s Book to Send Message to the World". Narcosphere.narconews.com. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- [dead link]
- La Razon, 1 Jan 2011: "MORALES ABROGA EL DS 748 y neutraliza las protestas"[dead link]
- ""Encuesta Ipsos Apoyo: Popularidad de Evo Morales cae al 32%"". Lostiempos.com. 2011-02-24. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- "Bolivia: Presidential plane forced to land after false rumors of Snowden onboard."
- "France apologises to Bolivia over jet row."
- "Bolivia Threatens U.S. Embassy Closing After Snowden Search."
- Morales quoted in Kozloff 2008. p. 12.
- Harten 2011. p. 40.
- Harten 2011. p. 05.
- Bolivian Leader Joins in Tribute to Che Guevara[dead link] Associated Press, October 8, 2009
- "Image of Morales's new coca leaf portrait of Che Guevara in the Presidential Palace". Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- Dunkerley 2007. pp. 159-161.
- Garcia quoted in Dunkerley 2007. pp. 159-161.
- Petrasn 2007.
- "Bolivian president slashes salary for public schools". USA Today. January 28, 2006. Retrieved on February 1, 2007.
- (Spanish) "Hermana de Evo Morales sera primera dama". Es Más. February 5, 2007.
- "Footballing president breaks nose". BBC News Online. July 31, 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-31.
- (Spanish) "La fiesta de gala de los 15 años de Eva Liz Morales". El Día. 2009-11-27. Retrieved 2010-09-25.
- "'Evo Fashion' arrives in Bolivia". BBC News Online. 20 January 2006. Retrieved on February 1, 2007.
- "Morales to Ban Used Clothing in Bolivia". Salon.com. 17 July 2007.[dead link] Retrieved on July 18, 2007.
- "Declaration of War," Giannina Braschi in "United States of Banana", pages 240-275; publisher: AmazonCrossing, Seattle, 2011.ISBN 9781611090673
- Oliver Stone, Director; Fernando Sulichin, producer. see http://www.movies.ie/movies/South_of_the_Border
- Alethia, Caroline. Plant Teacher. Viator. United States. (2011) ISBN 1468138391. ASIN B006QAECNO.
- "Unofficial biography of Andres de Santa Cruz. Andres de Santa Cruz life and work. Andres de Santa Cruz contributions and web resources". Mundoandino.com. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- Mesa, José, Gisbert, Teresa, Mesa Gisbert, Carlos D. Historia de Bolivia: Segunda Edición corregida y actualizada. Editorial Gisbert. La Paz, 1998
- "Vargas Llosa: "un nuevo racismo"". BBC Mundo. January 21, 2006.
- "Los Tiempos: "Bolivia: A Country of Mestizos"". HACER. March 15, 2009.[dead link]
- Crespo, Luis (2006-01-22). "Galeano le contesta a Vargas Llosa" (in Spanish). BBC. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
- Harten 2011. p. 07.
- http://www.thehrf.org/media/100808.html "Human Rights Foundation, Human Rights Report - Bolivia".
- "Human Rights Watch, World Report 2009 - Bolivia".
- "Bolivia's Long March Against Evo Morales: An Indigenous Protest". Time. October 17, 2011.
- "La Razon".
- Harten, Sven (2011). The Rise of Evo Morales and the MAS. London and New York: Zed Books. ISBN 978-1-84813-523-9.
- Kozloff, Nicholas (2008). Revolution!: South America and the Rise of the New Left. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-61754-4.
- Pearce, Adrian (2011). Evo Morales and the Movimiento Al Socialismo in Bolivia: The First Term in Context, 2005-2009. Institute for the Study of the Americas. ISBN 978-1-900039-99-4.
- Sivak, Martín (2008). Evo Morales: The Extraordinary Rise of the First Indigenous President of Bolivia. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 978-0-230-62305-7.
- Dunkerley, James (2007). "Evo Morales, the 'Two Bolivias' and the Third Bolivian Revolution". Journal of Latin American Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) 39: 133–166.
- Rochlin, James (2007). "Latin America's Left Turn and the New Strategic Landscape: The Case of Bolivia". Third World Quarterly (London: Routledge). 28 (7): 1327–1342.
News articles, reports and interviews
- Blackwell, Benjamin (11 November 2002). "From Coca To Congress". The Ecologist. Retrieved October 2011.
- Carroll, Rory (7 December 2009). "Evo Morales wins landslide victory in Bolivian presidential elections". The Guardian (London: Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- Friedman-Rudovsky, Jean (7 December 2009). "Morales' Big Win: Voters Ratify His Remaking of Bolivia". Time (New York City: Time Inc.). Retrieved October 2011.
- Gutsch, Jochen-Martin (5 February 2006). "Indian, Coca Farmer, Bolivian President". Der Spiegel (Germany: SPIEGEL-Verlag). Retrieved November 2011.
- Lerager, James (2006). "Report on Bolivia's Elections". Latin American Perspectives (Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications). 33 (2): 141–144.
- Petras, James (9–15 June 2007). "Evo Morales' Pursuit of 'Normal Capitalism'". Economic and Political Weekly (Mumbai: Sameeksha Trust). 42 (23): 2155–2158.
- Lovell, Joseph E. (21 March 2011). "Nobel Committee asked to strip Obama of Peace Prize". Digital Journal (Digital Journal, Inc.). Retrieved November 2011.
- "The explosive apex of Evo's power". The Economist. 10 December 2009. Retrieved November 2011.
- "Bolivia tells US envoy to leave". London: BBC News. 11 September 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- "Chavez acts over US-Bolivia row". London: BBC News. 12 September 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- "Bolivia and US 'to restore diplomatic relations'". London: BBC News. 8 November 2011. Retrieved November 2011.
- "Bolivia's Morales insists no return for US drug agency". London: BBC News. 9 November 2011. Retrieved November 2011.
|Find more about Evo Morales at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Media from Commons|
|Quotations from Wikiquote|
|Database entry Q42410 on Wikidata|
- "Evistas 2006-2007: The first two years of Evo Morales as president of Bolivia", by Jorge Uzon
- Morales ‘Open Letter Regarding the European Union “Return Directive”, 2008
- Morales: I Believe Only In The Power Of The People
- Interview (on CounterPunch)
- Profile: Evo Morales, BBC News Online
- "Bolivia's Home-Grown President" Article in The Nation, (December 21, 2005).
- "'Evo Fashion' arrives in Bolivia", Morales's distinctive dress sense, on BBC News Online
- "Direct Intervention: A Call for Bush and Bolivia’s Morales to Take a Leap of Faith and Change Presidential Issues into Personal Ones", From the Council on Hemispheric Affairs
- "Bolivian President Evo Morales on Latin America, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Role of the Indigenous People of Bolivia", Interview on Democracy Now!
- Bolivia: On the Road With Evo — The making of an unlikely president
- Bolivia Information Forum Information and background about Evo Morales and MAS party
- Evo Morales Interview with BBC
- Review of a speech Morales gave in NYC from PBS
- A Nobel Prize for Evo by Fidel Castro, Monthly Review, October 15, 2009
- Evo Morales on Climate Debt, Capitalism, & Why He Wants a Tribunal for Climate Justice - video report by Democracy Now!
- Evo Morales: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal "Diplomacy of Empire" - video report by Democracy Now!
|President of Bolivia
2006 – present
|Party political offices|
|Leader of Movement Toward Socialism
1998 – present