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Latin America Socialist Movement Spreads To Bolivia


By James Donahue

Dec. 12, 2005


With presidential elections in Bolivia just one week away the polls are indicating that a dynamic socialist, Evo Morales, is the anticipated front-runner for the job.


If elected, the 46-year-old Morales threatens to be “a nightmare for the government of the United States,” one report said.


That is because this Aymara Indian native is a staunch leftist with close ties to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro. Not only that, but Morales is a coca farmer and promises to reverse the U.S.-backed campaign to stamp out production of the coca plant that is used in the manufacture of cocaine.


The coca leaf also is a popular plant in Bolivia where the natives chew it, make tea, and use it for religious ceremonies.


Like Chavez, Morales declares a hatred for the free-market doctrines promoted by the United States. If and when he takes power, he will clearly strengthen the leftward tide sweeping throughout South America.


An Associated Press news report said Morales and members of his Movement Toward Socialism party are so popular, they often are mobbed by crowds at campaign stops.


“I have no fear in saying, and saying loudly, that we’re not just anti-neo-liberal, we’re anti-imperialist in our blood,” he said.


Morales is not a newcomer to Bolivian political circles. He was involved in toppling two presidents and came close to winning the presidency in an earlier race.


This time he is running strong against former President Jorge Quiroga, a conservative, and several other candidates. If no one wins the clear majority next Sunday, Congress must choose between the top two vote-getters in January.


A recent poll shows Morales with a five percent lead above Quiroga.



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