He said he wanted to be a nightmare for the US, and now his dream looks like coming true. Socialist Evo Morales looks certain to be named as Bolvia’s first indigenous president after the elections over the weekend. “The fight against drug trafficking has become a false pretext for the US to establish military bases here, and we don’t agree with that,” he told reporters.
Morales has vowed to reverse a US-backed eradication programme of the coca plant, which is used to make cocaine. The leaves are prized by Indians for medicine, among other traditional uses. Morales’ critics claim US aid money may now be in doubt, but his supporters do not seem too concerned. “We are really hopeful that with Evo in power, and with the number of professionals around, this country’s going to get better,” said one man in the capital. Morales is expected to take office in January with just over 50 percent of the vote after his main rivals conceded defeat. “It was time for change,” said another woman in the street. “Traditional parties have been ruling for so long, applying policies that have not helped the more oppressed of our country.” A Morales presidency will add Bolivia to a region wide drift to the left that has seen leftist presidents come to power in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela.