Bolivian President Morales sworn in for second term

Evo Morales has begun a second term as Bolivia's president by declaring colonialism dead in the Andean nation.

Bolivian President Morales sworn in for second term

Evo Morales has begun a second term as Bolivia's president by declaring colonialism dead in the Andean nation.

The Aymara Indian was sworn in wearing a sash on which traditional national figures were replaced by two 19th-century heroes of indigenous resistance.

Morales, an Aymara Indian and Bolivia's first indigenous president, won a sweeping re-election victory in December on the back of broad support from the poor Indian majority.

In a speech to inaugurate his second term, Morales promised to launch state-run paper, cement, dairy and drug companies and develop iron and lithium industries to help Bolivia export value-added products instead of raw materials.

Morales also vowed to continue to deepen rights for Bolivia's Indian poor.

Morales says he has sought to eradicate all vestiges of colonial repression and discrimination against Bolivia's indigenous majority. He was re-elected by a landslide in December.

"Comrades, democracy has been consolidated ... the colonial state has died and the multicultural state has been born," he said.

Bolivian Indians make up around 60 percent of the population and have long complained of discrimination by a mixed-raced minority that had a stronghold on politics until Morales first became president in January 2006.

After winning a majority in both houses of Congress, the ruling party can now call for referendums to amend the constitution.

Agencies

Last Mod: 23 Ocak 2010, 16:21
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