Three Terms Is Enough for Morales

An Editorial from The New York Times:

Three Terms Is Enough for Morales

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 5.32.09 PMLast year, when President Evo Morales became Bolivia’s longest-serving president, he celebrated with a national tour touting the progress the poor, landlocked nation had made since his election in 2005. He had much to celebrate. As the nation’s first indigenous leader, Mr. Morales transformed Bolivia’s rigid socioeconomic structure by spreading the wealth of a commodities boom. He has championed those in indigenous communities, and under his watch the number of Bolivians living in extreme poverty has decreased from 37 percent to roughly 19 percent. During the past decade, one of South America’s most politically volatile countries has enjoyed a long stretch of relative stability.

Mr. Morales is now asking voters to approve on Sunday a constitutional change that would allow him to run for a fourth term, which could keep him in office until 2025. Bolivians should say no.

A decade in power has changed Mr. Morales, and not for the better. He has become increasingly imperious and authoritarian, presenting himself in rallies and speeches as the only safeguard against right-wing radicals who want to re-establish an oligarchy. There is, in fact, broad consensus that the country needs to build on Mr. Morales’s vision of social inclusion and equality. Yet he has chosen to ignore this, fostering instead a with-us-or-against-us culture that has sent dozens of Bolivians into exile and poisoned the country’s politics.

On the economic front, a couple of corruption scandals have sparked outrage over the government’s lax fiscal controls, even as Mr. Morales gets high marks for sound macroeconomic policies that have kept inflation relatively low as the economy has grown. One scandal, which came to light last year, involves the disbursement of tens of millions of dollars from a development fund that were deposited in indigenous leaders’ personal bank accounts. More recently, Mr. Morales has faced withering criticism amid growing evidence that a young woman he dated a decade ago has exploited her ties to the president for personal gain.

On a recent afternoon, as Mr. Morales listened to speech after speech singing his praises at the groundbreaking of a residential complex, Laura Choque, a 46-year-old nurse who has voted for him in every election, watched from a distance with disdain. “His promise was that he was a leader who shared our roots,” she said. But, referring to the cultlike adoration that has become a hallmark at Mr. Morales’s events, she added: “This all has made him very arrogant.”

This self-serving individual has wasted over $150 billion dollars, like the so-called socialists of the 21st century in Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina.

He has only brought division to my country, this arrogant coca grower leader needs to step out of the presidency!

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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