Interview with Evo Morales on Bolivia’s Socio-Economic Transformation

Source: Al Jazeera

Bolivia’s president talks about the country’s ongoing socio-economic transformation and his third term in office.

In 2009, under the country’s first indigenous president a new constitution declared Bolivia a plurinational state – ending centuries of undeclared apartheid.

Opponents in the oil-rich eastern region launched a civil disobedience movement, confronting the east against the poorer, indigenous majority who support President Evo Morales. Critics denounced the president’s fiery socialist rhetoric and the nationalisation of Bolivia’s oil and gas industry in the poorest and most undeveloped nation in South America.

Five years later, from the World Bank to the IMF, Evo Morales is getting full marks for overseeing an unprecedented transformation of Bolivia. Spurred by high commodity prices, economic growth is now the highest in the region.

And while the president’s anti-capitalist discourse is as strong as ever, a mix of mainstream economics and social programmes has dramatically reduced poverty and unemployment, while allowing the private sector to flourish.

“We have taken flight towards development. What others could not do in 180 years we have done in some nine years of profound changes …. We are going to make Bolivia the energy hub for South America,” says Morales.

In a region where personality cults are too common, millions of Bolivians have come to worship Morales.

He has just been re-elected after a disputed court decision allowing him to run for a third consecutive term as president.

“I believe that some revolutions, some transformations, are driven by a person. I don’t like it, but I am happy that there is now an Evo generation, a new generation of young men and women with a great deal of knowledge, principles, and values, who are assuming leadership. I am very pleased with the way young people are getting involved. Obviously, much depends on the process, on the steps we take to ensure good economic stability with social benefits,” Morales says.

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