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Cocalero (2007) — BoliviaCocalero (2007) — Bolivia

On December 18, 2005 the Aymara Indian Evo Morales won 54% of the vote to become Bolivia's first indigenous president. This documentary film, a Sundance selection, follows his unlikely rise to power. Morales' political awakening came in the 1980's admidst the US-led attempt to eradicate Bolivia's coca crop, when he learned of a man who was doused with gasoline and burned alive by government soldiers. "Without coca," observed one peasant, "we have nothing." As an ardent socialist and anti-capitalist, Morales led the coca unions and the MAS political party in its remarkable grass roots campaign among the illiterate, the poor, the indigenous, and especially the women. The most interesting scenes occur in Morales' rural village of El Chapare, where he was a farmer of bananas and rice, and where in the final scene his toothless mother chews on a coca leaf and wonders aloud, "will he have to wear a suit and tie as president?" In Spanish with English subtitles. [In 2009 Morales won a second term of office with 63% of the vote]

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