After Chile, here comes the news of the Indian candidate Evo Morales leading the exit polls by a definitive margin. South America now has Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and potentially Chile turn Left, besides Cuba. All this in “America’s backyard”, as Henry Kissinger once derisively remarked about South America. Bush may now have to worry about the ‘backyard’- Morales has promised to be a ‘nightmare’ for Washington.The turn of events in South America is also a caution to those who are enamoured of the “free- market” economics in India. There is nothing like a trickle down effect in economics. Its not there in in a continent of 400m, and certainly not for a nation of over 1.1 billion.
“I am the candidate of those despised in Bolivian history, the candidate of the most disdained, discriminated against,” he said after working through a crowd of admirers some of whom rushed forward to kiss him before voting at a decrepit basketball court in the village school.He compared the struggle of his Movement Toward Socialism party to those of Indian leaders who fought Spanish conquerers, as well as to the independence hero Simon Bolivar and socialist icon Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
Eduardo Gamarra, a Bolivian political expert, said Morales’ bid to become the latest South American leftist to win election was fueled by support that went undetected in pre-election projections. Many Indians blame the country’s free-market policies for enriching white elite at the expense of the majority poor.
Meanwhile, reports about Chavez congratulating Morales pour in.
At a party at Morales’ home in Cochabamba, his supporters toasted as the candidate announced that Chavez planned to contact Cuba’s Fidel Castro.Said Morales of Chavez: “He’s going to tell Fidel the good news” – eliciting laughs from those nearby.
Morales has promised to be “Washington’s nightmare,” indicating he would exercise more state control over South America’s second-largest natural gas reserves and bring an end to U.S.-backed coca eradication efforts.