Evo Morales: We are here to change our history

January 23, 2006
Evo Morales: We are here to change our history
Evo Morales - the Indian by nationality president - took an oath in Bolivia. Inauguration of the president-elect took place in two stages. On January 21,the 46-year old Morales was initiated in presidency according to the Indian ceremony in the sacred for indigene population of the country place – religious-ceremonial complex with a milennial history – Tiwanaku. Four pagan priests form the Bolivian altiplano settlements performed the ceremony of spiritual purification and «charging» the energy to the president, who was borne in a humble hut from aymara parents in the village of Orinoca just 400 km from La Paz. Neither rain nor ice-cold wind of altipano could hinder the ceremony that was watched by thousands of the supporters of the new president.

The second – traditional-protocol ceremony – took place on January 22 in the Congreso Nacional. Here the presidential band was put on the chest of Evo Morales and symbols of presidential power, including the country's armed forces Commander-in-Chief baton was presented to him.

The president delivered a lengthy emotional speech, in the beginning of which he suggested to honor with a minute of silence all Indian chiefs of the past, Che Guevara and other revolutionaries, who died for happiness of the people of this rich, but historically wretched country.

In his speech Evo Morales presented the program of actions in which he clearly indicated the change of economic course. Neo-liberal economy of the previous governments led to even more poverty of people, plunder natural resources, uncontrolled outflow of capital. Actually Morales called the previous neo-liberal course a crime against the people and country, especially when «privatizers» (both domestic and foreign) even tried to «grabatize» the sources of drinking water. As was stressed by Morales, it was the reason that brought to rapid political maturing of peoples masses, to rejection of corrupted elite that played the master in the country for centuries.

Morales declared about convention of Asamblea Constituyente in August 2006, which should prepare the new draft of the country's Constitutional charter. The draft will be put forward for nation-wide consideration. The new Constitution of the country will lift all discrimination restrictions of the past and clear the road for the Bolivian people to a truly democratic and socially just state.

Among many problems, touched by Morales, the subject of drug traffic and fighting this evil was also heard. Morales once again said that his government was ready for the dialogue with Washington, was ready to cooperate in this sphere, but not at the expense of the Bolivian peasants-cocaleros, for whom growing of this ancient and sacred for the Indians agricultural product – was the basic means of survival. «Cocaine, - said Morales, - is the phenomenon brought to us from outside and we have to fight it together.»

At the ceremony Evo Morales, according to his habit, was dressed in an «informal» dress without a tie. Even for the sake of such a ceremonial occasion he did not betrayed himself. His speech was listened to with great attention by the guests, who came to the inauguration: presidents Lula (Brazil), Kirchner (Argentine), Chavez (Venezuela), Lagos (Chile) and others. Spanish prince Filipe occupied an honorable place among them.

There is no doubt that president Evo Morales shall give many occasions to speak about him and his reforms in the nearest months and years. In the halls of Congreso Nacional were present not only his friends and brothers-in-arms from the party El Movimiento al Socialismo (Movement to socialism) and representatives of Indian organisations, but there were also his fundamental enemies from opposition that two years ago expelled Morales from the Parliament having falsely accused him for his connections with drug trafficking, terrorism and subversive activity. It was at that time when Morales swore to come back to the Congreso Nacional and do everything possible to reform, modernise his native country, obtain more just social order.

Evo Morales became the first Indian top leader in Latin America. It took more than 500 years for this «historical revenge» after bloody conquista, arranged by Spanish crown and catholic church, when all members of emperor dynasties of Maya, Inca and other peoples, cacique chiefs and members of their families were ruthlessly killed.

But Morales does not consider his coming to power in Bolivia as revenge, as the chance to «get even» for historical insults. No, he dreams of progress, democracy and freedom for all Bolivians without exceptions. His life's motto: «To serve the people but not live at its expense!» It was because of this, Morales reduced his «presidential salary» by 50% and refused to shift into official presidential house in the fashionable area San Jorge. He will never pose as a «respectable politician» wearing expensive suits and stringing golden rings on his fingers. Corrupt functionaries have a presentiment that «indio» will not let them make a fortune at the expense of the country and people.

A new page has been opened in the history of Bolivia. Changes, that are awaiting this country, will undoubtedly tell upon the processes that take place in other Latin American countries, especially those with prevailing Indian population. So it is quite possible that there will be more Indian presidents in the nearest future.