News / Americas

    Bolivia's President to Seek Third Term

    Bolivia's President Evo Morales reads an official statement during a news conference in Sucre, July 8, 2014.
    Bolivia's President Evo Morales reads an official statement during a news conference in Sucre, July 8, 2014.
    Reuters

    Bolivia's President Evo Morales will run for re-election in October to press on with his promise of expanding social reforms in the Andean nation, the vice president of the ruling party said on Monday.

    The former coca farmer became Bolivia's first indigenous leader in 2006. Morales, 54, is lauded by supporters as a champion of the poor committed to easing the country's grinding poverty and standing up against the United States.

    Historically one of South America's most unstable countries, Bolivia has enjoyed relative prosperity and calm since Morales came to power. Gross domestic product per capita doubled between 2005 and 2011.

    "Our president and vice president are confirmed as candidates for re-election," Concepcion Ortiz, vice president of the ruling Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), said. "Social organizations across the country have said that he has to go for re-election."

    Morales critics accuse the leftist politician of defying the constitution, which allows a president two consecutive terms in office. Morales was first elected in 2006 and then again in 2009. The constitutional term limit was adopted in 2009.

    Last year the Supreme Court decreed his 2006-09 period in office should not be counted as a first term as it preceded the adoption of the constitution.

    The opposition called the ruling unacceptable.

    Morales is the clear front-runner in the Oct. 12 vote, polling at about 44 percent. His nearest rival, cement tycoon Samuel Doria Medina, trails by almost 30 points.

    To win the election, a candidate needs to win an absolute majority or at least 40 percent with a winning margin of more 10 percentage points or more over the second-place candidate.

    Bolivia is one of Latin America's poorest countries. However the vote comes a year after the roughly $30 billion economy grew 6.5 percent, its quickest pace in nearly 30 years, boosted by high prices for natural gas sold to Argentina and Brazil.

    Growth will slow to a 5.7 percent this year, according to government estimates in December.

    Under Morales, Bolivia has nationalized key industries, including the hydrocarbon and utility sectors. But he has been willing to guarantee legal assurances for foreign miners.

    A new government program, "United we live well", pledges to consolidate the achievements of eight years in office, and continue political, economic and social reforms.

    Morales is a harsh critic of the United States and staunch ally of Venezuela and Cuba.

    In typically fiery rhetoric, Morales accused Washington and its European allies of "state terrorism" designed to intimidate after several European nations banned his jet from their airspace believing U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden was onboard.

    Bolivia's opposition claims it is the victim of persistent political harassment by the government and that several prominent opponents of Morales have been forced into exile.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    Venezuela Critics Press for Progress on Presidential Recall

    Socialist government digging in its heels to stop a presidential recall vote as it fights to hold onto power amid an economic collapse

    Brazil Prosecutor Freezes $11.7M of Facebook Funds Due to WhatsApp Case

    Facebook failed to comply with court order to supply data on users of company's messaging service who are under criminal investigation

    No Amnesty for War Rapists: Colombia Peace Talks Turn to Women's Rights

    Government, FARC rebels have pledged to improve access to land for women and ensure perpetrators of sexual violence will not be eligible for amnesty as part of ongoing peace talks

    UN Asks Brazil Authorities to Investigate Journalist's Death

    UNESCO's Director-General Irina Bokova condemns the killing of Joao Miranda do Carmo, the third reporter to die in Brazil this year

    Venezuela Food Shortages Leave Zoo Animals Hungry

    Some 50 animals have starved to death in last six months at one of main zoos, according to a union leader

    Anti-mining Politician Freed from Jail in Peru Slams Government

    Gregorio Santos, who was freed from jail Wednesday, accuses the government of locking him up for two years in order to keep him from power