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The Key to Evo Morales’ Political Longevity

Why He's Outlasted Other Latin American Left-Wing Leaders

Bolivian President Evo Morales speaks during a ceremony that marks his 12 years in office at the national Congress session in La Paz, Bolivia, January 2018.  David Mercado / REUTERS

A little more than a decade ago, it looked as though the political left was sweeping Latin America. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez dominated the regional stage, while left-wing presidents rose to power in a slew of countries, from El Salvador and Honduras to Argentina and Chile. But now there seems to be a turn back in the other direction, as leaders and parties have been defeated in several countries and Venezuela has descended into authoritarianism and chaos verging on state failure.

Yet, one leader survives, and with more stability and success than many initially anticipated. Now, with a recent court ruling removing term limits, that leader is seeking to extend his tenure in office even further. At the current moment, it is worth asking: Why has Bolivian President Evo Morales lasted while other leftist leaders haven’t?

THE UNIFIED BOLIVIAN LEFT

Morales was inaugurated as Bolivia’s first indigenous

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