I would first like to say that in my previous blog I stated that Goni was the best Presidential candidate for Bolivia. I stand corrected. After watching Cocalero, Evo Morales is a not only a better leader but fits the make-up for what the future of South American politics will become.
Morales, an Aymara Indian, grew up in a small coca growing community. Early in his life he was exposed to Union’s and an early hint of politics. Cocalero follows Evo’s 2005 Presidential campaign. He is backed by a very powerful coca farmer’s union, formed in response to the United States push to end the leaf’s production and exportation as a drug. From interviews in the movie, many local farmers are losing out on their only means of income, even though they are not the ones turning a profit from cocaine. Evo is a figure head in a political revolution for the indigenous Indians through out Latin America; protecting their ancestral rights to their territory and rights to rule themselves.
A movement for better Indigenous political rights has been gaining support since the early 90’s. In Les Field’s report on the Pan-Indian uprising, he states that Ecuador experienced first signs of indigenous agency in the early 1990’s. 160 Indians led a revolt over a land dispute in 6 highland provinces. They infiltrated the Santo Domingo Cathedral and demanded that their land be given back to the indigenous communities. This uprising led to a country wide revolt in which Indians barricaded multiple Pan-American highways and other major roads; along with taking many police and local officials’ hostage (Field, 39). The fight for Indigenous rights was growing support, and continued in a 1992 march; again in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito. 2000 Indigenous Indians protested the Ecuadorian state, disputing property rights and conservation of their land. From Suzana Sawyer’s article, The 1992 Indian Mobilization in Lowland Ecuador, “the march revived dormant lowland-highland alliances and momentarily exposed the possibilities for transforming race and ethnic relations within Ecuadorian society” (Sawyer, 66). These uprising are the beginnings of a political transformation in Latin America. Leaders like Che Guevara and Evo Morales are hero’s who fight for the freedom and heritage of the people who have lived in Latin America for centuries.
No longer will people like Goni lead Latin America society. Citizens are becoming more out spoken and educated in creating new political standards. Evo won the 2005 election by over a 50 percent majority; an unheard of winning margin. His victory clearly shows that the indigenous people are becoming a greater factor in Latin American politics and that their rights will continue to be disputed until they are justly spoken for in society.