Evo Morales

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Evo Morales

Juan Evo Morales Aima (born October 26, 1959) is the President of Bolivia. He is an Aymara Native American, and is politically a leftist. He is the founder and leader of the Movement toward Socialism (or MAS) political party. Movimiento al Socialismo is its Spanish name. On January 22, 2006, he became President of Bolivia. His party has declared that he is the first indigenous person to be president of Bolivia. Not everyone believes this to be true because of his mestizo heritage and similar backgrounds of several past Bolivian presidents. Nonetheless, he is likely the first culturally indigenous president of Bolivia.

Born in Oruro, Morales was a leader in a union of coca growers. Morales has said he does not like United States policy toward Latin America, criticizing the country's past failures to stand up for democracy, trade agreements which he feels have not helped Bolivia, and especially for the US's anti-drug policies. Coca is a component in cocaine, but is also an important part of Bolivian culture. Morales became well known for this, and he was elected to Congress.

Even though he was forced out of Congress in 2002, he became a very popular person in Bolivia, and won the country's presidential election in 2005. As president, he focused on economic changes that moved the country toward a more socialist economy, instead of a capitalist one. He also worked with other leaders in South America like Rafael Correa and Nestor Kirchner. Morales has been a popular president, and has been reelected in 2009 and 2014. During this time he has criticized both George W. Bush and Barack Obama and has had arguments with the United States.

In 2016, Morales wanted to pass a Constitutional amendment that would allow him to run for another term in 2019. Many people in Bolivia saw this as a power grab, and the amendment lost the election.