Friday, January 13, 2006

Bolivia Elects Socialist President

Evo Morales and the MAS (Movement Towards Socialism) party have come into power in Bolivia.
This is another case of people power achieving what was once thought to be impossible.

A few years ago Bolivia was firmly controlled by right-wing neo-liberals. Extensive privatization was occurring. Petroleum was being pumped out of the country at an incredible pace, while the local population was left with no fuel or sky high prices, and no share of the profits.

International parasites mostly based in the USA and backed by onerous IMF policies, had descended on Bolivia to take over previously state-owned operations. They went so far as to "offer" privatized water and laws had been passed making it illegal for people to collect and drink rainwater (forcing them to pay for this ubiquitous resource).

Their reign is over. With strong ties to Hugo Chavez and the ever increasing momentum of class awareness in South America, we can watch with great expectation for Morales to roll back the reactionary policies of the IMF and pro-business policies of his predecessors.

Political Affairs Magazine reports:
In the 18th December 2005 Bolivian presidential elections Evo Morales received 53% of the vote -- 1,158,431 out of the 2,185,960 votes cast. His Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) defied media predictions that he would obtain only 35% of the vote -- which would have left the Bolivian parliament to decide on who the new president would be.

Podemos, the main right wing, pro-IMF and pro-US party, led by Harvard-trained Jorge Quiroga received 30% of the vote. With the Movimiento Indigena Pachakuti’s (MIPI) vote, the left parties together secured 55% of the vote. When we consider the scandalous exclusion of 1,000,000 voters from the electoral register – people who happen to live mainly in MAS strongholds -- then the defeat of Bolivia’s pro-neoliberal forces takes on an even greater significance. The MAS also did extremely well in the parliamentary elections.

In his election campaign manifesto Morales included measures with wide popular support such as the legalisation of coca leaf production and the nationalisation of the gas industry.

Evo Morales will become the second president of indigenous background in the history of Latin America. (The first was Benito Juarez, in Mexico during the second half of the 19th century). A new page has opened in the history of Bolivia, where the election of Evo Morales to the presidency means that the country’s majority indigenous population (60% of the population) have an historical opportunity of beginning to redress the centuries of exclusion, discrimination, poverty and brutal exploitation to which they have been subjected by the dominant white elite.

Read more here...

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