Bolivian President Evo Morales has just announced his resignation over allegations of electoral fraud. He remained in power since 2006 and was the longest-serving leader in South America. There would be a fresh election in Bolivia now.
How much he did for the betterment of his country and people?
Evo Morales was first elected the president of Bolivia in 2005. He was the first indigenous leader in Bolivia. He was lucky that his first term coincided with commodities boom. The country benefitted from raw materials exports which helped lifted millions out of poverty. He was re-elected in 2014 and 2016. He dedicated his 2014 victory to the cause of anti-imperialism and his heroes, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez.
He narrowly defeated his opponent in October 2019, but irregularities marred the election. Consequently, protests erupted across the country and eventually Mr Morales resigned.
Evo Morales remained good for his voters and indigenous Bolivian communities but was unable to unify the country. It is expected that the nation would be divided between his supporters who are indigenous & unionist, and influential white, mixed-race and middle-class opposition. Despite all his power, he did little to bring together Bolivian and address deep racial and political divisions.
Even during his resignation, he hinted about the kind of challenges he is leaving behind. He said that “There has been a civilian, political and police coup…. ”. “My sin is to be indigenous, a union leader and a coca grower…”
He empowered indigenous Bolivian communities unprecedently. Poverty was slashed by almost half, and economic growth increased rapidly in his tenure. He nationalised gas industries and increased exports of gas.
In recent years, economic growth also remained unsustainable. The growth has slowed while public debt bulged from 38% of GDP in 2014 to 53% in 2019, according to the World Bank statistics. Furthermore, foreign exchange shrank and the budget deficit is estimated to reach 8% in 2019.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
The hair of a Bolivia mayor was forcibly cut by the anti-government protestors. By the way, it was a kind of a real-life depiction of Cersei’s “Walk of Atonement” in Game of Thrones’ season 5.
It shows the frustration of the opposition party and the red colour may the indication of the direction the movement was going.