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Friday, September 22, 2006

  • Bolivian President Evo Morales on Latin America, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Role of the Indigenous People of Bolivia


    Today, we spend the hour with Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia. Ten months ago, Evo Morales made history when he became the country’s first indigenous leader. At his inauguration in January, he declared the end of Bolivia’s colonial and neo-liberal era. Since then he has moved to nationalize parts of the country’s vast energy reserves and strengthen Bolivia’s ties to Venezuela and Cuba.

    Morales’ rise to power began with his leadership of the coca growers union and his high-profile opposition to the U.S.-funded eradication of the coca crop. He helped to lead the street demonstrations by Indian and union groups that toppled the country’s last two presidents.

    On Tuesday, Morales spoke for the first time before the United Nations General Assembly in New York. He vowed to never yield to U.S. pressure to criminalize coca production. During his speech he held up a coca leaf even though it is banned in the United States.

    Juan Gonzalez and I sat down with Bolivian President Evo Morales for one of his first extended televised interviews in the United States.