MADRE’s program coordinator, Natalia Caruso, this week attended the inauguration ceremony of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first Indigenous president. The ceremony took place at the Indigenous sacred site Kalasasaya, in Tiwanaku, before a crowd of 60,000 people, most of them belonging to different Indigenous groups from around the country.
Although the majority of the population is Indigenous, Bolivia has long been characterized for its high rate of discrimination and violence towards Indigenous Peoples. Rising to power, Evo Morales has become a widespread and powerful symbol for Indigenous Peoples’ rights.
As the first Indigenous president in Bolivia, with a majority Indigenous population, Evo Morales not only represents a victory over discrimination and inequality in the country but also stands in contrast to hundreds of years of oppression against Indigenous groups not only in Bolivia, but around the world.
In his heartfelt words at the ceremony, Morales vowed, in his mother tongue Aymara, then Quechua and Spanish, to serve Bolivia and guarantee equality among the people. President Evo Morales recognized the many underlying issues that have not been addressed, including the defense of women’s rights.
Over the next few days, we will follow up on this blog with more information from Natalia as she returns from Bolivia.
For more information:
- In pictures: Bolivia celebrates presidency, BBC
- Evo Morales y Álvaro García asumen su segundo periodo, Los Tiempos (in Spanish)