Bolivia's New Government
EVO MORALES, who took office on January 22nd as Bolivia's first elected president of indigenous descent, is still trying to be all things to all men. In a long and rambling inauguration speech, he saluted Che Guevara, denounced “neo-liberalism” and coca eradication, called for the nationalisation of natural resources and the setting up of state-owned industries, and thanked Venezuela's Hugo Chávez for his support. He also called for private investment, for an “alliance” against the drug trade with the United States, and hinted that he might support an Americas free-trade accord if it helped small business.For the sake of the people of Bolivia I hope I am wrong, but this has all the makings of an imminent disaster.
His first actions smacked more of radicalism than pragmatism. The cabinet he has formed consists mainly of activists from the social movements that vaulted him to power and their intellectual allies. Nearly all have as little experience of government as Mr Morales, who led a coca growers' union.