BOLIVIA: Security tight as Bolivia prepares to make history with first Indian presidentRecord ID: 687548
- Title: BOLIVIA: Security tight as Bolivia prepares to make history with first Indian president
- Date: 22nd January 2006
- Summary: VENDORS PREPARING NEWSPAPERS TO BE SOLD (5 SHOTS)
- Reuters ID: LVA9BYYZLHCRJJB105WWC7ZNSAQQ
- Duration: 00:00:14
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Story Text: Security was tight around La Paz on Sunday (January 22) as Bolivia prepared to swear in leftist Evo Morales as its first indigenous president in a festive climate as the poor Indian majority celebrated the long-awaited rise to power of one of its own.
"For me, I feel proud that a farmer could be president because he will lead the country well, I know he will lead it well," said newspaper vendor, Rodolfo Ibanez.
Morales takes office after winning 54 percent of the vote on December 18 in the biggest landslide since the country's return to democracy in 1982.
Bolivians rich and poor hope the historic handover will bring stability to their nation, South America's poorest, where the two previous presidents were toppled by street protests.
In an unprecedented show of international support for the landlocked country, 12 heads of state will be in the world's highest capital to watch the Aymara Indian and coca growers' leader don the presidential sash in Congress.
Many of those presidents are fellow Latin American leftists, a reflection of the region's shift leftward as voters reject free-market economic policies that did little to bring down high poverty rates.
The 46-year-old Morales was born in a hardscrabble highland village, herded llamas as a boy and saw four of his six siblings die as babies. A bachelor of modest means, he eschews the Western coat and tie in favour of a striped pullover and has cut his presidential salary in half to $1,700 a month.
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