Bolivian socialist leader Evo Morales has claimed victory in that turbulent Andean country’s presidential election after conservative rival Jorge Quiroga conceded defeat.
An Indian labor activist who advocates the distribution of Bolivia’s natural gas revenue to the public, Morales rose from poverty and obscurity to become the leader of Bolivia’s coca farmers.
He came to prominence blasting U.S.-backed “neoliberal” economic policies that Bolivian leaders adopted in the 1980s — policies he said do little to help the country’s impoverished Aymara and Quechua Indian majority — and defending impoverished coca growers against U.S.-funded eradication efforts.
The prospect of Morales now becoming president horrifies conservatives in Bolivia and in Washington, who say his radical form of socialism would be disastrous.
“I think it would be the worst nightmare scenario for Washington, because right now you have a growing alliance between Venezuela and Cuba,” said Andres Oppenheimer, a Latin American analyst and columnist for the Miami Herald. “What is now a duo may become a trio.”
Why do I get the feeling that we’re going to start hearing that Bolivia has WMD’s?