ITWASSOOTED: "end the colonial state"

Sunday, December 25, 2005

"end the colonial state"

Bolivia: Race and Revolution

Bolivia has had more presidents by far than any other country in South America, mainly because so many of them were overthrown long before their terms ended. They were also all white, even though the majority of Bolivia’s population is "indigenous", descended wholly or in part from the Indians whose ancestors already lived there as subjects of the Incan empire at the time of the Spanish conquest five centuries ago. So what are the odds that Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, will survive a full term of office ? Morales, who won an absolute majority of the votes in last Sunday’s presidential election, faces not only the usual hazards of life as the president of South America’s poorest country, but also the threat of American intervention to overthrow him.

As a socialist whose declared goal is to "end the colonial state" and a leader of the coca farmers who promises to lift the ban on growing coca leaf, the crop from which cocaine is produced, he is deeply unpopular in Washington.

In the past, policies that are unpopular in the United States have proved to be bad for the president’s health in a number of Latin American countries. To those who argue that the Bush administration is too deeply mired in the war in Iraq to contemplate acting against Morales, the pessimists point out that the US found the time to organise the overthrow of the president in Chile in 1973 despite being neck-deep in the Vietnam war. The election of Morales, they fear, will finally focus Washington’s attention on how countries all over Latin America are rejecting US tutelage.
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