La Paz.- Bolivia is preparing to celebrate 11 years since the inauguration of President Evo Morales as the first indigenous president of this Andean nation, and the beginning of the country’s democratic and cultural revolution.
Upon assuming office, January 22, 2006, Morales and the ruling Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), initiated a series of structural transformations, a process of change giving a new face to the country, then considered the poorest in the hemisphere.
The President himself has spoken on various occasions regarding the importance of the political, economic and social transformations undertaken by his government over the past decade, which have made Bolivia a more just and equitable developing nation.
With the nationalization of hydrocarbons in May 2006, the Bolivian government not only established sovereignty over its national mineral wealth – previously in the hands of transnational corporations – but also began a policy of equitable distribution of profits and boosting industrialization.
These dividends, according to official reports, were redistributed to alleviate social inequality. They provide important social programs to benefit vulnerable groups, such as children through the Bono Juancito Pinto, and pregnant women through the Bono Juana Azurduy (both of which are cash transfer programs), and older people through Renta Dignidad (a pension program).
Authorities also stress that the struggles and sacrifices of campesinos and indigenous peoples are the pillars of this process of change, whose strength and capacity to overcome crises emanate from the participation of social movements in the defense of sovereignty and the historic demands of the most oppressed sectors of society.
The Amazonian Andean nation has stood out in recent years as having the fastest growing Gross Domestic Product in South America, while a broad program of state investment seeks to make it the heart of energy provision in the region.
The Bolivian government also prioritizes compliance with the 2025 Patriotic Agenda, a strategy that contemplates various political, economic, social, and cultural programs in the lead up to the celebration of the bicentennial of Bolivia’s independence.
Within this programmatic focus, special attention is given to the construction of works of high social impact in communities.
The economic growth of the country in the last decade, coupled with various social projects supported by the Executive, have stimulated the growth of cities and towns and enabled greater segments of the population to escape poverty and enjoy a better quality of life.
Data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) confirms that about 20% of the Bolivian population was lifted out of poverty in the last decade, coinciding with President Evo Morales’ term in office.
While in 2005, 59.6% of the population was below the poverty line, this figure fell to 39% in 2015, according to a recent INE report.
Nonetheless, government efforts are concentrated on eradicating poverty by 2025, when the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Republic will be celebrated.
The last 11 years have also been characterized by active global diplomacy, which is directed toward strengthening cooperation with countries, and economic or political blocs, based on respect for sovereignty and self-determination.
As such, Bolivia is today not only better known, but also more respected in the world, according to its President.
Proof of this was evident in the majority support the country received to take a seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year term starting on January 1, 2017.
According to diplomatic sources, from this position La Paz will promote an agenda aimed at advancing global peace and respect for the rights of the peoples and Pachamama (Mother Earth).
On December 18, Democratic Cultural Revolution Day – a date that recalls Morales’ electoral victory in 2005 – the head of state accused right-wing opposition leaders of failing to offer a long-term plan for Bolivia.
The right proposes nothing and does not have an agenda for the period 2020-2025. They are only capable of rejection and lies, questioning and not proposing anything, the President remarked during the event held in Irvigarzama, in the Chapare region of the central department of Cochabamba .
He also referred to the history of plunder to which the country was subjected during almost 180 years of republican life, and to the achievements of more than a decade of MAS government efforts to rebuild the country.
The humiliated, vilified, marginalized, discriminated, have very successfully organized ourselves in a political movement, to say enough of domination and plunder, he stressed. (PL)