Juan Evo Morales Ayma (born October 26, 1959), popularly known as Evo is a Bolivian politician and cocalero activist who has served as President of Bolivia since 2006. Widely regarded as the country's first president to come from the indigenous population,[a] his administration has focused on the implementation of leftist policies, poverty reduction, and combating the influence of the United States and multinational corporations in Bolivia. A democratic socialist, he is the head of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party.
Born to an Aymara family of subsistence farmers in Isallawi, Orinoca Canton, Morales undertook a basic education before mandatory military service, in 1978 moving to Chapare Province. Growing coca and becoming a trade unionist, he rose to prominence in the campesino ("rural laborers") union, campaigning against U.S. and Bolivian attempts to eradicate coca as a part of the War on Drugs, which he denounced as an imperialist violation of indigenous Andean culture. He repeatedly engaged in anti-government direct action protests, resulting in multiple arrests. Entering electoral politics in 1995, he became the leader of the MAS and was elected to Congress. His campaign focused on issues affecting indigenous and poor communities, advocating land reform and the redistribution of gas wealth. Gaining increasing visibility through the Cochabamba protests and gas conflict, in 2002 he was expelled from Congress for encouraging protesters, although he came second in that year's presidential election.
Elected president in 2005, Morales increased taxation on the hydrocarbons industry to bolster social spending, emphasising projects to combat illiteracy, poverty, racism, and sexism. Although vocally criticizing neoliberalism and reducing dependence on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, his administration retained a liberal economic policy and oversaw strong economic growth. Scaling back U.S. influence in the country, he built relationships with leftist governments in the Latin American pink tide and signed Bolivia to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas. Attempting to moderate the left-indigenous activist community, his administration also opposed the right-wing autonomist demands of Bolivia's eastern provinces. Winning a recall referendum in 2008, he instituted a new constitution that established Bolivia as a plurinational state before being re-elected in 2009. His second term witnessed the continuation of leftist policies and Bolivia's joining of the Bank of the South and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. After becoming the world's oldest professional footballer by signing to a Bolivian team, he was again reelected in the 2014 general election...
Quotes by Evo Morales
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