On Sunday, the first native Indian leader in Bolivia's history, Evo Morales, was sworn into office. It was a truly historic moment. Today, on his first day in power, he appointed his cabinet, filled largely with political outsiders and fellow Indians, and began the process of putting his ideas into practice. Morales is definitely a move to the left in South America, and has aligned himself with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. There is very little separation between the ideals of former Bolivian freedom fighter Che Guevara, he of the truly excellent film The Motorcycle Diaries, who was killed in Bolivia, and Morales. Morales has promised to stand up for the native indigenous peoples, the Aymara (which he is) and the Quechua. However, there is some hope that he won't be only a radical as he has expressed interest in working with all if his country can be uplifted.
My wife and I had the chance to go to Bolivia two years ago, and so we have definitely noticed this occasion. The people we met and spent much of our time with in Cochabamba, Bolivia were Quechuan. We, and some others from our church, spent our time there helping a church construct a new building. It was an eye-opening experience, but the people we met there were the highlight. Bolivia is the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere (behind Haiti), but the attitudes of the people we met were so positive. Poverty was obvious, but hope was apparent. I hope that Evo Morales is successful in digging the country out of poverty and helping his fellow people. There are the resources for the country to be successful, but so far that hasn't happened. Maybe this point in time marks the beginning of change for the better for our friends in Bolivia.