In the documentary Cocalero it told of the campaign of Evo Morales and his support of the cocalero movement. The documentary showed Bolivian farmer’s unions’ responding to the government disregarding their needs and demands and trying to eliminate their main crop and source of income, the coca leaf. The documentary also showed how they united and how the “Indian” was not an ignorant or dirty savage, but a human being with ideas and opinions that demanded be heard. Morales came from an indigenous background and understood the value of this crop and the value of the indigenous communities’ demands. He became their hope for a better future. No other President had been “one of them” and so Morales had been the only candidate for president who could truly represent them.
In Suzana Sawyer’s article 1992 Indian Mobilization in Lowland Ecuador she tracks the events of lowland Indian’s march to the capital to demand constitutional reform and communal titling of contiguous rainforest territory. The 1992 march was a pivotal moment in the process of indigenous nation building. It was one of three major mobilizations since 1990 that challenged the Ecuadorian state. Sawyer writes, “Indian leaders crafted a platform from which to voice their claims by weaving international concerns for tropical conservation and indigenous rights together with local understanding of identity and place.” Sawyer continued to say that this march from the Upper Amazon Lowlands evoked “mestizo sympathies on a national scale”. These people ate together, camped together, and when the lowlanders continued their march to the capital, many of the highlanders marched along side. Many of these unifying attributes were presented in the Cocalero documentary. Evo Morales was elected with 54% of the vote, the largest margin the country’s history. This paralleled the feeling present in Sawyer’s article: different types of people from the same nation uniting to force the government to pay attention to their needs. After thirteen days of protesting and of the threat of military action, the president granted the people the title deeds to the rain forest lands. Sawyer describes the elation of the people. After years of exploitation and unheard cries of desperation, the indigenous people of the Lowlands were finally being heard and being given respect.
In Les Field’s article he talks about the Pan-Indian uprising. Again, these people had been ignored and exploited by a corrupt government. Finally, after years of mistreatment the people revolted. Much like in Cocalero, the unionized farmers, with Evo Morales at their head, warned that if the government did not listen and comply with their reasonable demands, they would revolt. In this documentary, the people demanded environmental conservation. The coca leaf farmers were being shut down by the government, who was trying to illegalize their crop. This crop, which they had been growing for generations, was how they made their living. The government was trying to please foreign investors, like the United States, before trying to help their own citizens. In the United States, the coca leaf was made into a drug, and to lower drug use, the U.S. wanted to eradicate the coca leaf’s production. However, as one coca leaf farmer stated, foreigners were turning it into a drug, they were not. Why should these people be expected to stop growing the crop that constituted their income, when it is a foreign country using it in illegal ways? Evo Morales was these peoples hope to save their crop and lands and to have a president in office defending their interests ahead of foreign investor’s interests.