The film “Cocalero” tells the story of how Evo Moralesbecame the current president of Bolivia. Compared to the last movie we watched,about the way in witch former Bolivian president, “Goni,” returned topower, it is interesting to see how Morales did so in a completely differentmanner. Evo had been fighting for the indigenous population of Bolivia for along time. “Goni” could be seen as an outsider that used Westernstyle campaigning to once again become the Bolivian president. Morales simplyfocused on the message of protecting the indigenous people and the rest ofBolivia from influences detrimental to their country. Social reforms were hismain objective, and it became clear he would be an enemy to the large businessowners in Santa Cruz and the capitalist western world as he stood in supportwith other Latin American socialists such as Hugo Chavez.
The indigenous communities of Latin America have been strugglingto be heard for hundreds of years. In the article, “Ecuador’s Pan- IndianUprising,” Les Field illustrates just how hard the indigenous have foughtfor their voice to be heard. The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities ofEcuador (CONAIE) led a march across the country in the early 1990’s that forcedthe Ecuadorian government to mobilize the army as the indigenous populationshut down roads and took political members hostage to show just how seriousthey were about reforming the country. Field’s explains their main message wassimple, give back the land that was rightfully theirs. The CONAIE leadersproposed sixteen demands that centered around land reform and improving theoverall quality of life for the indigenous people. As seen in the film,protests by indigenous communities throughout Latin America have become commonas the people continue to struggle from what they view as being exploited bythe upper class elite. Suzana Sawyer’s article, “The 1992 IndianMobilization in Lowland Ecuador,” also shows how much of a struggle it hasbeen for the indigenous populations. Sawyer goes on to explain how the indigenous populations had fought everything from state sponsored racism to being barred from political office over the previous decades. Without some sort of mass mobilization of the indigenous community it would likely remain the same for a long time.
It appears the voices of the indigenous communities are finally being heard and that is a great thing. However, the governments in place in countries such as Venezuela and Bolivia should be viewed with caution. Evo Morales rose to power through the union ranks and used great coercion to become the leader of the indigenous people in Bolivia. Union members are required to attend meeting and pay dues, otherwise they could be fined. Refusal to pay the fine leads to being tied up and eaten by deadly ants. Punishments like this would be greeted with intense cries of human rights violations in the western world, but it seems to be overlooked in countries like Bolivia. One could argue that drastic means were needed for these people to have a chance at improving their lives, but it seems that Bolivia has thrown out former dictators in favor for a union dictator that may damage the country even more.