[Marxism] Nation Magazine article on Evo Morales
lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Jan 7 07:23:43 MST 2006
Bolivia's Home-Grown President
By Daphne Eviatar, TheNation.com
Posted on January 7, 2006, Printed on January 7, 2006
On its face, the election of Evo Morales to the presidency of Bolivia would
seem like an enormous victory for the left -- another domino in the line of
Latin American nations turning away from Washington Consensus-style
economics to forge a path of its own. But the question remains whether the
first indigenous president in Bolivia's history will be allowed -- by the
Bolivian Congress or by the larger international financial and legal system
-- to live up to his promises and fulfill the enormous expectations of his
supporters. If not, Bolivia could face an even more unstable future.
The symbolic value of a Morales victory cannot be overstated in a country
where symbols represent the passions of a people mobilized to change what
they see as 500 years of state oppression. Thus the wiphala -- the
checkered rainbow flag of indigenous resistance -- flew from every Morales
campaign vehicle; technocratic economic policy proposals about how the
nation should manage its natural gas industry became symbols of Bolivian
"independence" and "self-governance"; and politicians called for the
defense of Pachamama (Mother Earth) as they pressed their home-grown
solutions for this cash-poor but resource-rich country, urging the
rejection of the North American capitalistas.
Massive support for that rejection fueled widespread protests last summer,
when hundreds of thousands of Bolivians filled the streets of El Alto and
La Paz, blocking roads, burning tires and throwing dynamite until
then-President Carlos Mesa finally resigned -- the second president forced
out of office in as many years. So for the popular former coca growers'
union president to have won the presidency by an overwhelming and closely
monitored vote suggests the vitality of Bolivian democracy and development
of a new Latin American consensus.
But will Evo Morales be able to live up to his promises?
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