The Cocalero documentary is about Bolivian presidential candidate Evo Morales and his climb to the top of success. He was the first indigenous president to be elected, in 2006, and is a leader of the cocalero movement in Bolivia. The cocalero movement was centered specifically in Yungas of La Paz and Chapare of Cochabamba, lead by coca farmers who were the indigenous population of Bolivia. The documentary brings up the fact that the cocalero movement should not be viewed in a negative light because it is the American’s who made the coca leaf into something it was never intended to be used for. The coca leaf is actually nutritious and a large cultural aspect for Bolivians. Morales was a specific advocate of this movement being an indigenous himself. He understood the pain and the voice that this large group of people severely lacked.
The people of Santa Cruz did not understand Morales’s view and love for his people. In fact, it showed in the film when he visited there that they were very hostile towards him calling him a “fking Indian” when in fact he is not Indian at all, he is Bolivian. I also noticed that the people of Santa Cruz appeared to be fairly light in skin tone. Throughout history we can see a pattern that lighter skin tone is admired throughout many cultures even if that is not the natural color of their skin. Morales for example is quite dark along with many of his indigenous followers but even pictures of Bolivian pageant girls showed that light skin was favored.
Another difference that made Morales stand out in his campaign was the cultural clothing that he often opted to where. In the film his comrades were discussing the fact that Morales will probably never wear suits and business attire even when he is elected President. He would stay true to himself and true to his roots, just as he had promised. Yet, at the same time he did appeal to Bolivian businessmen and military personnel, promising them that he would treat them fairly and not suppress them from the system just because he was giving more indigenous rights.
The article by Suzanna Sawyer entitled “The 1992 Indian Mobilization in Lowland Ecuador” brings up some important rights that the indigenous have always wanted yet seemed to fall short of with any other leader. She said “environmental conservation was an important subtext to indigenous arguments and key to crucial international economic and political support.” Morales supports these rights in the documentary when you see him having campaigns in even the poorest lands of Bolivia where many farmers were not even sure how to recognize the MAS flag. He also had to personally ensure them that he would stand by their side, as Sawyer notes, because having land titles and environmental protection rights is not enough. It may not guarantee control over certain activities in the land. By reaching out to these people and making them know that they are important, he was able to reach his goal of becoming President and won by a wide margin.