Photos: Bolivia’s Aymara divided over Evo Morales as he seeks re-election

Bolivian leader Evo Morales came to power in 2006 with a pledge to champion marginalized indigenous groups including his own important Andean tribe the Aymara, which helped carry him to the presidency. But the left-leaning former coca farmer faces a rising tide of dissatisfaction, even among the indigenous groups he has most visibly supported, as he bids for an unprecedented and contentious fourth term in elections on Sunday.

Updated On Oct 18, 2019 05:02 PM IST
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Dancers from a preste celebration shoot confetti in Eloy Salmon Street in Zona Gran Poder, La Paz, Bolivia. Bolivian leader Evo Morales came to power in 2006 with a pledge to champion marginalized indigenous groups including his own important Andean tribe the Aymara, which helped carry him to the presidency. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 18, 2019 05:02 PM IST

Dancers from a preste celebration shoot confetti in Eloy Salmon Street in Zona Gran Poder, La Paz, Bolivia. Bolivian leader Evo Morales came to power in 2006 with a pledge to champion marginalized indigenous groups including his own important Andean tribe the Aymara, which helped carry him to the presidency. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)

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Miniature dollar bills and confetti lie on the floor during preste celebrations. The bills originate from the traditional ‘Alasita’ celebration where miniatures are used to represent items people desire. Morales, widely known simply as “Evo,” has helped lift many out of poverty since he came to office, and even changed the country’s name to the Plurinational State of Bolivia to honour its diverse ethnic groups long treated as second-class citizens. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 18, 2019 05:02 PM IST

Miniature dollar bills and confetti lie on the floor during preste celebrations. The bills originate from the traditional ‘Alasita’ celebration where miniatures are used to represent items people desire. Morales, widely known simply as “Evo,” has helped lift many out of poverty since he came to office, and even changed the country’s name to the Plurinational State of Bolivia to honour its diverse ethnic groups long treated as second-class citizens. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)

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But the left-leaning former coca farmer faces a rising tide of dissatisfaction, even among the indigenous groups he has most visibly supported, as he bids for an unprecedented and contentious fourth term in elections on Sunday. Most polls show his main rival, Carlos Mesa, closing the gap on Morales, posing the fiercest electoral challenge yet to Latin America’s longest continuous standing leader. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 18, 2019 05:02 PM IST

But the left-leaning former coca farmer faces a rising tide of dissatisfaction, even among the indigenous groups he has most visibly supported, as he bids for an unprecedented and contentious fourth term in elections on Sunday. Most polls show his main rival, Carlos Mesa, closing the gap on Morales, posing the fiercest electoral challenge yet to Latin America’s longest continuous standing leader. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)

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Morales is counting on the backing of Bolivia’s more than 4 million indigenous people as he looks to extend his presidency to a potential 19 years - in defiance of term limits and a local referendum in 2016 that voted against him running. However, many of the Aymara are split over Morales. Allegations of cronyism and lavish projects - including a $34 million, 28-floor presidential palace in La Paz have created a sense of unease. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 18, 2019 05:02 PM IST

Morales is counting on the backing of Bolivia’s more than 4 million indigenous people as he looks to extend his presidency to a potential 19 years - in defiance of term limits and a local referendum in 2016 that voted against him running. However, many of the Aymara are split over Morales. Allegations of cronyism and lavish projects - including a $34 million, 28-floor presidential palace in La Paz have created a sense of unease. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)

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Aymara radio presenter and Youtuber Yolanda Mamami, 34, also known as ‘Big Mouth Chola’, a reference to the indigenous women often clad in iconic wide dresses and bowler hats who have gained prominence under Morales, walks down the main square to interview congress members. “Indigenous ideologies haven’t really been translated to politics... It’s like a fashion show of folklore, as if the indigenous were just clothing,” she said. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 18, 2019 05:02 PM IST

Aymara radio presenter and Youtuber Yolanda Mamami, 34, also known as ‘Big Mouth Chola’, a reference to the indigenous women often clad in iconic wide dresses and bowler hats who have gained prominence under Morales, walks down the main square to interview congress members. “Indigenous ideologies haven’t really been translated to politics... It’s like a fashion show of folklore, as if the indigenous were just clothing,” she said. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)

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Journalist Sonia Quispe presents the news show Yatiyawi. It is the first news show spoken in Aymaran broadcast internationally. “In these 13 years of Morales government I believe the most humble people have benefited, the farmers that live off the land,” she said, adding that while Evo wasn’t perfect, only he could keep driving the process of change in the country. “There are many problems and issues to be fixed but I believe in him.” (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 18, 2019 05:02 PM IST

Journalist Sonia Quispe presents the news show Yatiyawi. It is the first news show spoken in Aymaran broadcast internationally. “In these 13 years of Morales government I believe the most humble people have benefited, the farmers that live off the land,” she said, adding that while Evo wasn’t perfect, only he could keep driving the process of change in the country. “There are many problems and issues to be fixed but I believe in him.” (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)

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Members of a morenada fraternity perform in front of a colourful events salon, locally known as “cholet”, during the Gran Poder Fiesta. One recent issue that has hurt Morales has been forest fires that raged though the farm-belt region of Santa Cruz. Morales closed his election campaign out there and violent clashes broke out between protesters and police. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 18, 2019 05:02 PM IST

Members of a morenada fraternity perform in front of a colourful events salon, locally known as “cholet”, during the Gran Poder Fiesta. One recent issue that has hurt Morales has been forest fires that raged though the farm-belt region of Santa Cruz. Morales closed his election campaign out there and violent clashes broke out between protesters and police. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)

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Aymara congress member Mercedes Marquez works in her office in La Paz. Marquez spoke highly of Morales despite some of the headwinds he has faced. She said he had championed the rights of indigenous people after years of repression and humiliation. The lawmaker, who worked as a seamstress and trader before entering politics, pointed to steady economic growth under Morales, helped by a natural resource boom. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 18, 2019 05:02 PM IST

Aymara congress member Mercedes Marquez works in her office in La Paz. Marquez spoke highly of Morales despite some of the headwinds he has faced. She said he had championed the rights of indigenous people after years of repression and humiliation. The lawmaker, who worked as a seamstress and trader before entering politics, pointed to steady economic growth under Morales, helped by a natural resource boom. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)

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“We have gas at home, modern educational units, paved streets, football pitches, aid for children, adults and mothers, a new health care system, zero illiteracy, a fight against poverty, cable cars, and modern markets,” Marquez said. “I support the re-election of Evo Morales and (vice president) Alvaro Garcia Linera. If not them, then whom?” said Marquez. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 18, 2019 05:02 PM IST

“We have gas at home, modern educational units, paved streets, football pitches, aid for children, adults and mothers, a new health care system, zero illiteracy, a fight against poverty, cable cars, and modern markets,” Marquez said. “I support the re-election of Evo Morales and (vice president) Alvaro Garcia Linera. If not them, then whom?” said Marquez. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)

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President of Salon Owners of the North Association Jhonny Segales, in one of his colourful cholets, in El Alto. According to Segales, the success of most Aymara people was down to hard work and not any help they got from Morales. “People here are like that, always working, gathering, saving, this is the spirit we have,” said Segales, wearing a smartly tailored brown jacket and on-and-off his phone on business calls. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 18, 2019 05:02 PM IST

President of Salon Owners of the North Association Jhonny Segales, in one of his colourful cholets, in El Alto. According to Segales, the success of most Aymara people was down to hard work and not any help they got from Morales. “People here are like that, always working, gathering, saving, this is the spirit we have,” said Segales, wearing a smartly tailored brown jacket and on-and-off his phone on business calls. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)

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Miniature dollar bills are displayed inside a jacket pocket to symbolise a petition of wealth to the gods during preste celebrations.”This government hits our growth with very unequal tax policies,” Segales said , who though disillusioned by the government said it had started well when Morales first came to power. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 18, 2019 05:02 PM IST

Miniature dollar bills are displayed inside a jacket pocket to symbolise a petition of wealth to the gods during preste celebrations.”This government hits our growth with very unequal tax policies,” Segales said , who though disillusioned by the government said it had started well when Morales first came to power. (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)

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“How can they say they rule for the poor but spend millions on luxury? When they came to power in the first elections they did good things but I see now it was only to get our sympathy,” Segales said. “This government is not for all people or for the poor as they say, but only really for the people who support it.” (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 18, 2019 05:02 PM IST

“How can they say they rule for the poor but spend millions on luxury? When they came to power in the first elections they did good things but I see now it was only to get our sympathy,” Segales said. “This government is not for all people or for the poor as they say, but only really for the people who support it.” (Manuel Seoane / REUTERS)

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