Author Linda Farthing discusses the successes and ongoing challenges facing Evo Morales and Bolivia.
In December 2005, for the first time in its history, the majority-indigenous country Bolivia elected an indigenous candidate as president. Evo Morales and his left-wing Movimiento al Socialismo — Instrumento Político por la Soberanía de los Pueblos (Movement Toward Socialism — Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples, MAS) garnered a decisive 53.7 percent of the presidential vote and a similar legislative vote share. This electoral success of the party, which had been founded only a decade earlier, constituted a watershed for the continent’s poorest country. For years, Bolivia had been plagued by various crises and tremendous economic and political instability and had seen five other presidents during the five years leading up to this election.