BOLIVIA: Indigenous leaders gather in Bolivia to show support for President-elect Evo Morales
- Title: BOLIVIA: Indigenous leaders gather in Bolivia to show support for President-elect Evo Morales
- Date: 21st January 2006
- Summary: CLOSE OF MORALES CHEWING COCA LEAVES INDIGENOUS WOMAN WITH HER BABY GENERAL VIEW OF MORALES TALKING TO THE CROWD CLOSE UP OF FACE OF AN INDIGENOUS WOMAN LISTENING
- Reuters ID: LVA36DIX5AVZBG0QWVDF2MP2YPZM
- Duration: 00:00:20
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Story Text: Indigenous leaders from across the Americas gathered in Bolivia on Friday (January 20) to support the administration of President-elect Evo Morales at the First Meeting of Indigenous Authorities of America.
At the one-day meeting in La Paz, delegates from the native people of north, south and central America participated in traditional ceremonies and prayers to deities to foster unity and back Morales, an Aymara Indian.
The 46-year-old president-elect herded llamas as a boy and never went to university.
Wearing traditional dress, the Indigenous delegates also used coca in their ceremonies.
Morales, who attended the meeting, made the defence of coca as a legal and valid traditional plant a central tenet of his campaign.
He addressed the crowd, vowing to change his country from the inside.
"We want to change our Bolivia with votes, not with bullets," he said.
"We are in the midst of that process so we want to say publicly to those governments that instead of threats, instead of intimidation, instead of boycotts, they might support this process of change that we nourished in democracy in this country. I'm still convinced, brothers and sisters, that this is not the time to raise guns of war against the empire. What we are facing now is the empire raising guns against the people, and we want to change our Bolivia, our Latin America, for our people."
Delegates came from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Honduras, El Salvador, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.
On Saturday (January 21), just one day before his inauguration, Morales will attend an Aymara ceremony at the pre-Inca ruins of Tiwanaku near Lake Titicaca, where he will be blessed by an Aymara priest and thank Pachamama (Mother Earth) for helping him win.
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