The film Cocalero follows the political campaign of Evo Morales, the first Bolivian president of indigenous decent. Unlike Goni’s campaign, Morales addresses Bolivia’s issues from the bottom up, starting with his fellow coca leaf growers. After viewing both men’s campaigns and seeing them both express their beliefs, it is fair to say Morales’ actions will be more beneficial to the underprivileged people in Bolivia. Instead of taking the Goni-American approach to his campaign, Morales used a more hands on approach by talking with the Bolivian farmers, poor and working classes to get their input on solving Bolivia’s problems. In the end, Morales won the election and has since gained a great amount of support from other Latin American countries.
Bolivia began going through their economic troubles before the presidencies of Goni and Morales. During the 1980s, President Victor Paz Estenssoro announced that the country would have to make sacrifices or die (Lehman, 130). After implementing United States and IMF backed policies to their government and economy, problems began arising once again in the late 1990s and early 2000s (131). One reason these new policies did not work is because they were designed to attract the interests of the United States while leaving much of the poor and working classes of Bolivia in poverty. The policies were known as the 3-Ds: Democracy, Development, and Drug-control. Instead of putting the major problems first, the United States made it clear drug-control was the most important (132, 137). This was a major problem because of the role coca leaves play in the Bolivian economy.
After Goni’s first term as president, Carlos Mesa took over as president. Mesa realized that the Bolivian people needed a strong government that was capable of utilizing national resources to benefit the Bolivian people as well as implementing tax policies that could benefit the poor (153). Although this may sound easy, he was unable to do this because of outside influences from the United States and the IMF. This is where Evo Morales comes into the picture. The film Cocalero does an excellent job incorporating the fact that Morales is not only an excellent leader but a member of the people he represents. As the leader of the coca growers’ trade union, Evo was able to grab the attention of most of the poor and working class. Instead of being somewhat seen as an outsider like Goni, Morales was represented as a true Bolivian.
Suzana Sawyer’s The 1992 Indian Mobilization in Lowland Ecuador can also be compared to Morales’ recent success in Bolivia. She concluded that the indigenous population of Ecuador was typically viewed as marginal part of Ecuadorian society but were capable of articulating their demands in ways that would challenge perceptions of them and their Amazonian homeland (Sawyer, 78). This is similar to Morales’ rise to presidency because he was capable of taking a part of society that was normally looked down upon and making it a national concern. Based off Cocalero‘s depiction of his campaign, it seems as if Morales will be able to rid Bolivia of the United States’ constant control over Bolivian goods and economy. This will ultimately provide the indigenous, poor and working classes of Bolivia the opportunity they need to succeed.