Commonly known to citizens in Bolivia as Evo Morales or just plain Evo, he is Bolivia's president Juan Evo Morales Ayma. The forty-nine year old was elected Bolivia's President on December 18, 2005, with just fewer than 55% of the popular vote. This farmer with no high school education made promises that many thought were outrageous, such as naturalization of Bolivia's oil and gas resources and Agrarian reform. To many people's disbelief, it took only eight months for him to make Bolivia a multi-natural and multi-cultural state. This is just one amazing fact pertaining to this man who became president.
Morales, in title only, is the president of the federation of coca growers' union. This federation is known as Bolivia's cocalero movement, in which campesinos are trying to put an end to the US elimination of coca in central Bolivia. This role may have started the fire inside him to become president. It is said that he became interested in assisting the growers when he learned that another farmer had been beaten and tortured by soldiers. He is the son of coca farmers and was raised in the Altiplano region, so these events hit close to home.
It may just be his uniqueness that makes him so favored by the people of Bolivia. In 2006, he cut his salary by almost 60%. His first lady is basically his sister, Esther Morales Ayma and he has two children. In 1995, he founded MAS (Movemento al Socialismo), an indigenous-based political party that calls for the nationalization of industry, legalization of the coca leaf and distribution of national resources.
Showing how he is much like his people, he has a great interest in sports. He is an avid soccer player and was head of a local football organization. His style of dressed is often left to be desired and he was known not to wear the traditional suit or even a tie upon being inaugurated.
Morales is showing to keep his promises as well as running the country on his terms, with power. The following are just a few headlines surrounding Morales since taking office, again all along the lines of his campaign.
In November, Evo Morales announced that any vehicle caught smuggling fuel out of the country would be secured. Bolivia is known to be rich in natural gas but does possess a fuel shortage. This may be because Bolivia subsidizes energy prices. So illegal exportation of the fuel runs rapid. Not long after this hit the wire President Bush announced he was suspending a key trade pact with Bolivia, country failed to cooperate with U.S. anti-drug efforts.