Chavez Welcomes Morales’ Victory in Bolivia

In a congratulations letter to Evo Morales, the newly elected President of Bolivia, Venezuela's Chavez said that Morales' election represented the beginning of a new era in Latin America.

Caracas, Venezuela, December 21, 2005—The election of Evo Morales as President of Bolivia last Sunday marks the beginning of a new era, said Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez in a letter to Morales. According to Chavez, Bolivians had to wait 500 years until they were finally able to have an Aymara Indian as President and this represents, “a real and true historical vindication,” said Chavez.

Last Sunday, Evo Morales, the leader of the party Movement Towards Socialism and a former organizer of Coca plant growers, won Bolivia’s presidency with 51-55% of the vote. This represents the highest percentage with which a Bolivian has been elected to the presidency in the history of the country.

The Bush administration repeatedly accused the Chavez government of contributing to unrest in Bolivia and of supporting Morales financially. Chavez, however, has forcefully denied these allegations. It is, though, generally assumed that Morales will follow similar policies as Chavez has. Morales rejects U.S. drug control policies in the region and promised to nationalize Bolivia’s natural gas fields. Chavez and Morales have enjoyed close ties for several years now.

Chavez’s letter of congratulations to Morales went on to say, “Without a doubt, Evo, our joy is also great: the Fatherland of Bolivar and of Sucre [two 19th C. liberation fighters of Latin America] begins its new and definitive battle for dignity and sovereignty, and the great family of peoples finds in your fatherland a new reason to affirm the cause of humanity and to negate the neo-liberal fallacy of the end of history. It is time for the re-founding of Bolivia: it is a new beginning for history.”

Venezuela’s Vice President José Vicente Rangel also expressed satisfaction over Morales’ election, saying he felt this way not just “for what it represents politically and ideologically, but also for the human.”

Rangel went on to say that Morales, “Is a man who came form the people, son of a peasant family, forged in the everyday struggle for survival and in addition it is the first time that an indigenous person from Latin America reaches the presidency of the Republic.”

Rangel also denied that Chavez had anything to do with Morales’ victory. “For all the satisfaction the government of Hugo Chavez feels, it will not become involved in the policies and government of Morales,” said Rangel.