Cocalero, History 475 Week 16

The film Cocalero is a documentary film about Evo Morales’ presidential campaign. What is important about this presidential campaign is that he is a candidate with indigenous ancestry. If elected, he would be the first indigenous president of Bolivia. What I noticed most about this film is that Morales’ strategy was to be a ‘people’s candidate. He was down in the trenches with the people of the country trying to gain their respect and trust, as well as vote.

Suzana Sawyer dictates the history of the indigenous struggle for rights in Bolivia. For centuries the indigenous population has been oppressed and taken advantage of. Part of the issues presented in the film were about the ‘coco’ plant. The controversy is that this agricultural product is turned into drugs once it is transported to other locations. One woman in the film, which stuck out to me, was imploring the audience to understand that they do not make the drugs and not to punish them for what others do.

Aside from the fact that racial issues are present between the indigenous population and others, they are being taken advantage of for the products they produce. Les Field dictates the indigenous movements organized to combat the issues with the state. A list of sixteen demands includes simple things such as clean water provided to the indigenous people. Even this shows that the government takes advantage of these people. They confiscate their lands and threaten them into compliance. This documentary shows the first time in the history of Bolivia that a politician ran and won as a representative of the indigenous people.

Cocalero shows some very interesting controversies that have been brought up in recent years in Latin America. The indigenous population is suspect to prejudice and anger pushed on them by the fellow people in the population and the government. Morales as a president stood up for the rights of a people oppressed. The film showed him in and around the people finding out what they need and want and using that as his platform to run. The articles reveal years worth of internal conflict and racism towards the indigenous populations. Another issues that was presented was the drug issue with the coca plant. All of these issues are difficult to combat and will be hard to solve.