by Lawrence Goodman
July 18, 2008
Evo Morales’ extra-ordinary rise from impoverished peasant to the first indigenous president of Bolivia began on a soccer field. It was 1980, and Morales along with his family had just moved from their hometown in Bolivia’s western highlands to the central tropics in search of work. He went to a local soccer field where, as it turned out, members of the local cocoa growers union were playing.
“I said ‘Can I play?’ They said, ‘Sure,’” Morales recalled in a speech at Brown in late April. “It turns out I was the best player on the field.” He was made head of the squad, but more importantly, as he said, “it was the beginning of my being involved in the union.”
Over the next two decades, Morales, now forty-eight, forged a career for himself as a union organizer, activist, politician, government dissident, and thorn in the side of the United States. He has expressed admiration for Che Guevara and Fidel Castro; joked that the coca leaf, which is used to produce cocaine, should be his country’s new national flag; and called U.S. capitalism “the worst enemy of humanity.”
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.