Biography of Evo Morales Ayma (1959-VVVV)

Indigenous politician and leader of the Bolivian cocalero movement, born October 26, 1959 in Isallavi (South Carangas province, Oruro Department). On January 22, 2006 he/she swore to office as President of the Republic to become the first indigenous head of State of the country.

Juan Evo was the second of three brothers in a humble aymara family that resided in a small rural village in the Bolivian altiplano. Dionisio Morales, María Aymara and their children lived in conditions of extreme hardship, with the few resources that extracted from the agricultural and livestock, work in a tiny House of adobe and straw. The small Evo combined his early schooling with help their parents in the tasks of tillage and grazing but between five and seven years was no school because the family moved to Jujuy (Argentina) to work in the sugar cane fields.

Back in his hometown, Evo resumed studies, although poverty forced parents to take occasional trips in search of a livelihood and the boy was habitually absent from school. To attend high school he/she moved to Oruro, the Department capital, and entered a school of students without resources. He/She managed to pay for their classes and their stay in the city with several works as bricklayer, Baker and even trumpet player, and in 1977 he/she graduated as a Bachelor. That day was, according to testimony of the own Morales, the last of his life that is dressed in the suit and tie of the ruling class.

It fulfilled the military service in La Paz, where episodes of apparent discrimination suffered by its double condition of indigenous and poor, and in 1980 he/she returned to Isallavi. Two years later, family the entire abandoned village and, along with thousands of migrants from the Highlands, traveled to Cochabamba, fleeing poverty and precariousness. The Morales settled in port San Francisco (Chapare) and sought trade in horticultural work, first as rice and then as coca growers.

The family attained some job security with the cultivation of the coca leaf, one of the most stable in the region by increasing demand for drug trafficking, and Evo began to acquire notoriety as a local leader among the indigenous peasantry. From a young age had shown interest in the social and political reality of his people and the struggle of the poor, so he/she decided to channel their activism into the ranks of the agrarian syndicalism. With the work of the intellectual Marxist Fausto Reinaga, founder of the Bolivian Indian party, in your pocket, and the belief that the time had come to engage in militant indigenism, Evo Morales joined in 1983 in the agricultural Union of San Francisco.

His trade union career was brilliant. It first took the Secretary of sports, already occupied the general secretariat in 1985 and in 1988 he/she was elected Executive Secretary of the Federation of the Tropic of Cochabamba. Precisely that same year, the Conservative Government of Paz Estenssoro succumbed to pressure from the US administration and was able to bring forward at the Congress the law restricting the production of coca leaf.

The gradual replacement of crops by alternative crops of dubious profitability and the forcible destruction of crops without right to compensation provided for in the law, ignited protests of the cocalero movement that was not willing to international governments to seek solutions to drug trafficking criminalize the work of the farmer. In 1989 and with the social democratic Paz Zamora in the Presidency, the Federation of the Tropic of Cochabamba, led by Morales, mobilized against Government plans to reduce agricultural area devoted to coca cultivation, and threatened to respond violently if State security forces trying impose law in Chapare.

The cocalero movement struggle to keep their only source of income hit in 1993 with the arrival of Sánchez de Lozada in the Presidential Palace. The new Conservative leader, fervent advocate of the plans for the eradication of coca crops, agricultural unions found a permanent source of contestation. The summer of 1994 witnessed one of the most important confrontations between the Government of the MNR (revolutionary national movement) and the coca growers Union. Supported by the DEA (anti-drug agency) American, Sánchez de Lozada ordered the execution of the plan called "Nuevo Amanecer" aiming to destroy a 10% crop of coca crops in Chapare. Farmers protest was massive and the military crackdown claimed the life of a young farmer. Evo Morales, who then chaired the Andean Coca Growers Council (CAPHC) and the Confederation of producers of Coca of the Tropic of Cochabamba, called for a massive March towards La Paz and, after three weeks of mobilization, arrived in the capital with 4,000 peasants to force negotiations with the Executive.

The coca grower Union demands have pierced the borders of Bolivia in 1995 with the tour undertaken by its leader by a handful of European countries. Meanwhile, peasant protests continued convulsing the political life of the country and from some political offices, it was a smear campaign against Morales. The trade union movement understood then that it was time to jump into the political arena and participate in first line in decision-making to transform Bolivia. Thus, on 27 March 1995, a group of indigenous and peasant associations constituted the Assembly for the sovereignty of peoples (ASP) and the political instrument for the sovereignty of peoples (IPSP). Alejo Véliz, a quechua Indian, took over organic new training headquarters.

The ASP-IPSP failed the approval of the Electoral Court to register as a party, so he/she decided to attend the first election date, the municipal of December, integrated in the lists of United Left (IU); a progressive coalition led by the Communist Party. In General in 1997, that returned power to the former coup general Hugo Bánzer, IU won four seats in the Bolivian Parliament. Evo Morales, was one of them. Since then the problems of leadership confronted Veliz (ASP) and Morales (IPSP) and broke the founding pact. As the IPSP not got official permission to register as political party, the coca grower leader sought an electoral mark that integrate your project. He/She negotiated with David Anez, head of the movement to socialism-Unzaguista (MAS-U), and in January 1999, Morales was elected President of the new IPSP-MAS, which immediately simplified its acronym and was reduced to more.

During the new term banzerista, is increased clashes with coca farmers that, in general, supported the candidacies of the most in the municipal of December 1999. Not in vain, Evo Morales had increased his popularity at the forefront of the massive marches, mobilizations, paros, road cuts and other measures of protest undertaken against the called "dignity Plan" of the Government which included the destruction of 90,000 hectares of coca crops, classified as surplus. Morales risked his parliamentary immunity when it reported episodes of military repression, and from his seat, encouraged growers to resist against the Government forces.

Despite the warnings of the camera, the leading Aymará continued vehemently defending claims of coca farmers. During 2001 the Cochabamba protests were virtually uninterrupted, even more so when the Executive decided to privatize water and increase the price of some commodities, and Morales threatened to cause the outbreak of a civil war in the Chapare. Finally, in January 2002, days after another wave of violent clashes in the region, the Parliament accused Morales of instigator and initiated disciplinary proceedings against the head of the MAS. Evo Morales lost his seat with the vote of a majority of members of the traditional political forces, but his popularity rose as the foam.

An Indian aymara at the Palacio Quemado

With the certainty that their leader had been unfairly represaliado, on 5 March 2002, the indigenous and peasant movement Evo Morales appointed candidate from the most to the presidential elections. Held June 30 elections and while forecasts ventured the triumph of retired captain Manfred Reyes Villa, a former Mayor of Cochabamba and leader of the new Republican force (NFR), the candidate of the MNR and former President Sánchez de Lozada managed the victory with 22.4% of the votes. At the back, and a short distance, the movement toward socialism (MAS), Evo Morales Ayma became the second most voted force (20.9%). As none of the candidates achieved the sufficient majority, the presidential election was postponed to the vote of the Congress and, after a few weeks of political uncertainty, Sánchez de Lozada said the parliamentary election thanks to the agreement reached between his party, the MNR, and the movement of the revolutionary left (MIR) of former President Jaime Paz Zamora. Both political parties have signed the called Plan Bolivia national responsibility.

The masistas, who also managed to become the second political force in the Congress after the legislative, announced a stiff opposition to the Administration emenerrista. Along with the traditional claim to the maintenance of the cultivation of coca, the nationalization of the gas business and reform of the political system configured the trio of claims essential political stratagem of Morales. In February 2003, just completed six months in office, Sánchez de Lozada had already faced his first political crisis when the announcement of the entry into force of a tax on wages sparked a wave of violent protests in the streets of the country. The Bolivian police, declared in rebellion, joined citizens claims and the intervention of the army resulted in armed clashes that claimed 30 victims in several consecutive days of riots, looting and vandalism. Pressed by the seriousness of the incidents, the President withdrew the economic measures that triggered the crisis, announced a realignment of its Government, with the incorporation of members of the opposition NFR, and pledged to reduce public spending.

Measures presidential to appease the crisis were unsuccessful among his political adversaries who, with Evo Morales to his head, demanded his resignation. Trade unions, social movements and left forces continued on war footing with daily calls for insurrection. In addition, Sánchez de Lozada received direct warnings from Washington that, to avoid any concession to the demands of the most conditioned substantial economic help to the maintenance of the plans for the eradication of coca crops. If problems at the Palacio Quemado were few, the open wound in many sectors of Bolivian society, since in the 1879 war Chile snatched to the high plateau country access to the sea, stood again in front of the current affairs in the fall of 2003. The decision of the Executive to export gas, the country's main resource, to the United States through a Chilean port, acted as a catalyst for a new outbreak of social unrest. The Suppression of the street riots claimed the lives of more than 70 people and, in a few weeks, precipitated the fall of Sánchez de Lozada.

Abandoned by its Government partners and without the support of his foreign allies, on October 17, 2003 the President La Paz fled and sought refuge in Miami. With moral leadership widely reinforced, Vice President Carlos Mesa took over succession and announced the formation of a new independent executive who welcomed civil peace. However, and after a few months of truce in which Morales was ratified as Executive President of the MAS and returned in the candidature for the presidential elections, protests to the common scenarios of confrontation.

Shortly after he/she placed the municipal elections of December 2004 to the more as the most voted political force in the country, Mesa had to face the growing challenge of autonomist demands from the province of Santa Cruz and the coca growers and indigenous movements who demanded the energy nationalization. In the month of March 2005, the Parliament approved the controversial hydrocarbons law; a measure which only paralyzed the protests temporarily. The oil companies, affected by the new rule, threatened to reduce its investments at the time that the indigenous movements, peasants and miners called for a toughening of the law that reverse for the benefit of the public purse. With this scenario, and amid fears of a resurgence of violence, politicians, businessmen and analysts agreed the electoral advancement as the only solution to the crisis. Before concluding the month of may, Bolivian workers daily took the streets of the capital and earned credibility rumors of disturbances in the barracks. Meanwhile, the Executive and legislative branches remained motionless before the collapse of the Bolivian economy that each day of strike and lockout, lost around eight million dollars. In an attempt to appease the protests, President Mesa announced election calls to choose a constituent Assembly and vote the autonomy referendum, but indigenous leaders rejected the proposal and hardened mobilizations throughout the country.

In the first days of June, Carlos Mesa submitted his resignation and asked the representatives of the Senate and the House of representatives to provide electoral advancement to prevent the more than predictable outbreak of violence in the country. The Parliament accepted the resignation of the head of State and appointed successor, interim way, to the President of the Supreme Court, Eduardo Rodríguez, who immediately announced the call for early elections. Bolivians went to the polls on December 18, 2005 and majority supported the marked program anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist and anti-neoliberal of Evo Morales. Inside and outside the country, the election campaign focused unprecedented attention and had crossed in highly polarized between the euphoria of the followers of the masismo, which predicted a profound social transformation, to Bolivia and the pessimism of its detractors, who sensed the new leader close to the postulates of the Castro and Chavez political positions.

With the slogan "we are people, we are more!", Morales overcame all odds and won the election with a historic triumph; more than 84% of Bolivians eligible to vote went to the polls and, of these, 53.7% chose the aymara leader. Former President Tuto Quiroga and his new formation can (to democratic and Social) met 28.6% of the poll. The victory in the legislative nor let doubt and the MAS won the absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies. Its electoral performance was lower in the Senate and in the departmental prefectures.

On January 22, 2006, Evo Morales took possession of the highest judiciary in the country. A day earlier, had been invested as Jacha Mallku [great Condor], maximum authority of indigenous peoples, in a ceremony held at Tiwanaku, the aymara capital. On 23 November 2007 it supported the Magna Carta, which caused major disturbances in Sucre, the constitutional capital.

Carried out actions immediately to carry forward the fight against corruption, which was the objective declared during his campaign, as a matter of priority for its future management, and weeks after the oath, the first arrests of entrepreneurs were made for alleged smuggling of fuel, misappropriation of funds or fraudulent payments. Also, but with a complementary political sign, dismissed in April the parliamentary leader of his party, the more, for alleged involvement in the trafficking of influences and illicit enrichment. His foreign policy was gradually orienting to reinforce the ties of his country with the leading countries of South America, who in turn were moving away from the influence of the United States in the region, such as Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina, closer trade ties and bilateral agreements. Also notorious was the gesture of rapprochement towards the President of Iran, Mahmud Ahmadineyad, who met in September 2008.

The President of Bolivia prevailed in the consultation on the referendumpropuesto to the Bolivian people on January 25, 2009 to reform the Constitution, with 60% of the votes. Their proposal included the amendment of some articles to allow greater participation to the indigenous population. 40% of voters opted for the NO to the project of reform, a result which left the country divided on these opinions. In February 2009, the President modifies the composition of his Cabinet, restructuring ministries, bringing the number of portfolios, and increasing the number of Ministers, from 17 to 20.