Luis Arce Catacora will be the candidate for the presidency of Bolivia for the Movement to Socialism (MAS), the party led by Evo Morales. The former Bolivian president himself, asylum seeker in Argentina, made the announcement at a hotel in Buenos Aires. Luis Arce was minister of Economy during almost all the mandate of Morales and his appointment supposes a wink to the middle classes and the moderate sectors. The union leader David Choquehuanca, Aymara and with the ability to attract the vote of the indigenous communities was elected as vice-presidential candidate.
“It is not easy to choose a candidate, it has taken 208 hours of debate,” said Evo Morales, while a hundred people, delegates of the MAS or members of the Bolivian community in Buenos Aires, shouted “we will return, we will return.” “The other time [en referencia a las elecciones del pasado 20 de octubre] they stole our triumph, but on May 3 we will win in the first round, ”the former president promised, before the enthusiasm of those attending the announcement.
It seems clear that Evo Morales was forced to compromise. In the last election campaign, before the count was considered fraudulent by the Organization of American States and the Army “advised” the resignation of the hitherto president, it was assumed that he had appointed as successor to the young coca grower leader Andronico Rodriguez, of 29 years. Rodriguez appeared with Morales in almost all public events. Andrónico Rodríguez was on the list of four candidates (Rodríguez himself, Diego Pary Rodríguez, David Choquehuanca and Luis Arce) on which the MAS congress debated. But Andrónico Rodríguez (who excused his attendance at the Buenos Aires meeting) did not convince the delegates.
Several people who participated in the discussions said that Evo Morales then opted for Choquehuanca. Finally, the former president bowed to the majority who preferred a candidate with experience and moderate image like Luis Arce, who is credited with the “economic miracle” of Bolivia during the 13 years in which Morales was president.
“I had high hopes for Andrónico, but the polls go first and it is not easy to reach agreements with the representatives of each department,” Morales admitted. “Sometimes you have to sacrifice yourself, I hope youth understand me,” he added. According to the former president, the MAS needs “allies in the city and in the countryside,” and “just as Luis Arce guarantees the national economy, his candidacy partner, David Choquehuanca, brings a scientific knowledge of the indigenous natives.”
Evo Morales made repeated calls to unity within the party and said that “the US empire” would do its best to promote division. “The United States does not want Evo to return to Bolivia,” said the former president, speaking in third person, “but soon we will return.” Morales had to flee Bolivia last November 11. It was initially hosted by Mexico. After the arrival to the Argentine presidency of the Peronist Alberto Fernández, on December 10, he traveled to Buenos Aires, where he was granted refugee status and subsequently, because of the arrest warrants issued by the new provisional government of Bolivia, the of asylee.
Morales said that, under the provisional presidency of the ultra-rightist Jeanine Añez, named in very debatable circumstances, Bolivia had become a dictatorship. “Now, raising your voice against the coup is already being a terrorist,” he said. “But we will recover democracy.” A week ago, during a meeting with militants in Buenos Aires, Morales said that in Bolivia we had to “organize armed militias, as in Venezuela.” The proposal scandalized numerous MAS leaders. Two days later, on Thursday, the former president rectified: “A few days ago, my words about the formation of militias were made public. I retract them. My deepest conviction has always been the defense of life and peace. ”