CorpWatch : Coca Farmer Wins Bolivian Election: New President to Challenge Multinationals:The biggest losers had been ordinary Bolivians, who, with the lowest living standard in Latin America, have inadequate health, education, and social care. Half of the country’s 9 million people attempt to survive on less than $2 a day; 30 percent on less than $1. Hardest hit are the nations’s Indians who comprise 60 percent of the population, giving Bolivia the continent’s largest per capita indigenous population. But earlier this month it was the turn of the indigenous population to win and it was Washington that got the breath knocked out of it. Evo Morales, an Aymara Indian with a bootstrap story of childhood poverty and the backing of much of the nation’s poor and indigenous population, scored a solid win in his race for president. Morales is part of a wave of leftists taking power in Latin America and rejecting Washington’s neoliberal economic policies. Morales’s election will affect the crucial battle to control Bolivia’s resources. In the past, as former president Mesa noted, the winners in Bolivia have been transnational corporations from Brazil, Argentina, the United States, China and Mexico, and Europe. Petrobras of Brazil, Repsol YPF of Spain, the French Total, British Gas & British Petroleum and scores of others among them the Royal Dutch Shell have been granted broad access to Bolivia’s resources only to take most of the profits home. And those profits have been vast, for as poor as Bolivia is in oxygen, it is still rich in tin reserves, silver, zinc, timber, water, oil, and natural gas. Chief among these resources is gas, perhaps 30-50 trillion cubic feet, and Mesa is convinced that this reserves alone could boost Bolivia into prosperity and propel a far more equitable distribution of wealth. Technorati tags: Evo Morales Good piece on the new President of Bolivia Evo Morales in corporate watch.
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