Bolivia Rings in New Year With Son of Chavez

About to take office as Bolivia's new democratically elected president, Evo Morales calls President Bush ' the only terrorist,' and vows to oppose Washington's wish for a 'Zero Coca' policy. According to this article from Argentina's Cronica newspaper, while Morales promised not to expropriate the property of Western oil companies, he pointed out that 'we need partners, not bosses.'

By Telam-Sni

Translated By Paula van de Werken

December 29, 2005

Argentina - Original Article (Spanish)    

A Victorious Evo Morales, Covered in Confetti and Wearing a Wreath of Coca Leaves


Evo Morales, the President-elect of Bolivia, today called American President George W. Bush a terrorist, and said that he would coordinate his policies with those of Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. He also stated that there would not be "Zero Coca" in his country.

"Bush is the only terrorist, because he is the only one who intervenes militarily in the affairs of other countries. This is State terrorism, but those who demand their rights, those people are not terrorists," Morales stated during an interview aired by the news organization Al-Jazeera.

As regards his proposed nationalization of  Boliviaís hydrocarbon resources, he said that his government would not expropriate from oil companies with investments in Bolivia. But he pointed out that "we need partners, not bosses."

"I am going to work with the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez,  and the Presidents of  Brazil (Luis Inacio and Lula Da Silva),  and Argentina (Nestor Kirchner), and other countries as part of a campaign to take back control of our natural resources, without waiting for the United States or the World Bank  to come to our aid," he said.

As They Have Been Doing for Ages, Bolivian Miners Smoking and Chewing Coca

Last night, Morales celebrated his electoral triumph of December 18 with the Federation of the coca growers of Chapare, in Eterazama (some 628 km southeast of La Paz).

"This time, I guarantee you this: there will not be "Zero Coca," the President-elect assured the farmers of the area, who are his principle base of support and where he began his trade union and political career.  With this affirmation, the future leader demonstrated his absolute opposition to the compulsive coca eradication plan, called "Zero Coca," which was promoted by ex-President Hugo Banzer Suarez (1997-2001) and his successor, Jorge Quiroga (2001-2002),  whom he defeated in the last presidential election.

After his electoral triumph, Morales proposed to the United States a plan of "zero cocaine and zero drug-trafficking," but without affecting the cultivation or traditional use of the coca leaf.

†"I am the son of the six federations, and born of the hardships of Cochabamba (El Chapare). Thank you for having taught me to fight," exclaimed Morales, between the repeated applause of the other celebrants partying to the sounds of the Real Imperial de Oruro band, in which the now president-elect was once a trumpeter.

His First Trip Abroad as President, Evo Commiserates With Fidel Castro

In his turn, the future vice president, Alvaro Garcia Linera said (and was quoted by the German agency DPA), that "the general elections were a minor battle: the bigger one will be that of the Constituency, and we have to be prepared on the 23rd (the day after Morales is sworn in as President). We must begin the battle that will convert the individual Constituent to join the fight for all the People."

84 candidates for Moralesís Party won, the Socialist Movement (Movimiento Al Socialismo - MAS), 12 senators, and 72 delegates. With these victories, he is assured a majority in the Congress, where laws are proposed and which then are sent to the Senate (where his party is in the minority).

But some laws, such as that necessitate the summoning of the Legislative Assembly, require two thirds of both chambers (105 lawmakers). This will oblige him to negotiate with other political powers. This majority is also needed for appointing the speaker of the National Electorial Parliment (CNE), judges for the Supreme Court, or members of the Constitutional Tribunal.

Bolivian Coca farmer Carmelo Rojas Hinojosas

"Podemos" (We Can), the Democratic and Social Party, which are  the right wing allies of Quiroga and  are the second most powerful party within the new Congress, won 56 parliamentary seats, of which 13 are senators and 43 are delegates. The National Unity Party (UN) led by cement-industry entrepreneur Samuel Doria Medina, won eight delegates and one senator, while the neo-liberal Party, the  National Revolutionary Movement (MNR), won seven delegates and a senator.

On January 22, 2006, Morales will become the first indigenous, democratically elected President to assume power in Bolivia's entire 180-year existence as a republic, and with a hitherto unheard of 54 percent majority vote.

Among those invited to the inauguration ceremony, besides those leaders which have already confirmed their attendance, former South African President Nelson Mandela stands out, as does indigenous Guatemalan activist Rigoberta Menchu and Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marques, all of whom are Nobel Prize winners, as well as former soccer start Diego Armando Maradona.

Inaugaral Guests Nelson Mandela; Rigoberta Menchu; Gabriel Garcia Marques

Also to attend the ceremony, said Moralesí spokesman Alex Conteras, as reported by the La Paz newspaper, La Prensa, will be Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, Portuguese writer Jose Saramago and Argentine Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquival.

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