23 Brown J. World Aff. 77 (2016)
A Populism of Indignities: Bolivian Populism under Evo Morales

handle is hein.journals/brownjwa23 and id is 77 raw text is: 









A Populism of Indignities:

  Bolivian Populism Under Evo Morales


             MARTEN BRIENEN
             Lecturer, Department of Political Science
             Oklahoma State University


To THE CASUAL OBSERVER, THE era of Bolivian president Juan Evo Morales Ayma
has been a story of great achievement. His election in 2005 was hailed by both
the global and regional left as nothing short of a triumph for socialism and
environmentalism, and it was celebrated as the coming-of-age of the Bolivian
indigenous movement.' He could hardly have been more appealing: unortho-
dox in his choice of clothing-refusing, for example, to wear a tie-and railing        77
against U.S. imperialism, this once-poor cocalero (coca farmer) of decidedly
modest birth promised to break with the political status quo and bring about
social justice for the downtrodden.2 Moreover, for the first time since the brutal
conquest perpetrated by Francisco Pizarro, a member of the historically oppressed
indigenous majority would rule Bolivia, promising to follow the indigenous
traditions of communalism and respect for Mother Nature.
     It cannot be denied that in the decade since Morales' inauguration in
2006, Bolivia has gone through an uninterrupted period of economic growth
and relative political stability.' Moreover, it has done so even as prices for natu-
ral gas-the country's most important export-have plummeted, and several
members of Morales' left-leaning cohort (members of the so-called pink tide

MARTEN BRIENEN received his PhD from the University of Amsterdam. He served on the faculty of the
University of Miami between 2005 and 2013, serving as the Director of Latin American Studies programs
from 2011 to 2013. Since 2013, he has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Political Sci-
ence at Oklahoma State University. He has focused his attention primarily on the Andean countries, and
more specifically on Bolivia. His research has included work on the role of indigenous peoples in Andean
history and politics, on drug trafficking, and on energy security. He would argue that those themes all
touch on an underlying theme of weak state institutions.
Copyright  2016 by the Brown Journal of WorldAffairs


FALL/WINTER 2016 - VOLUME XXIII, ISSUE I

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