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Viva La Raza! Maori Party Congrats To Bolivia

Viva La Raza!

Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leaders; Maori Party

Maori Party Celebrates Indigenous victory in Bolivian Elections

20 December 2005

The Maori Party today sent a letter of congratulations to Aymara Indian, Evo Morales, who has been elected as Bolivia’s first indigenous President.

“We join with other indigenous peoples of the world in celebrating the important precedent established by Morales” stated Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party. “Indeed, the Maori Party looks forward to emulating this victory one day, in Aotearoa”.

“This is a great triumph for Bolivia - a country in which 60% of the population of 8.6m people identify themselves as indigenous” stated Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader, Maori Party.

“The success of Movimiento al Socialismo (Movement towards Socialism) will be welcomed by the indigenous peoples of Bolivia” stated Dr Sharples, “particularly the large number of marginalised and impoverished communities who will see this election as providing a sign of hope for their future”.

Official statistics show that 74% of the population in Bolivia live below the poverty line. Political analysts have described the country as being plagued with deep-rooted racism and discrimination, in addition to serious social and political divisions.

“The voiceless of Bolivia have been given a voice” stated Mrs Turia. “The elections represent the remarkable rise in political influence of indigenous peoples throughout Latin America” stated Mrs Turia. “It was inspiring to learn of the high turnout (about 80%)” .

“We are particularly excited by the commitments Morales has stated, towards changing the constitution through a Constituent Assembly, in order to improve the rights of Bolivia’s indigenous majority".

“We will watch these developments with great interest; and intend, as part of our foreign policy, to engage with the indigenous Government of Bolivia in order to progress that which we may have in common”.

“We are aware that there will be other forces who will do what they can to undermine the significance of this democratic revolution” stated Dr Sharples.

“We are, however, heartened by the passion, the commitment and the independent voice that Morales brings to Bolivia and its indigenous peoples” stated Dr Sharples.

“It gives us great strength as we think about the Maori Electoral Option campaign kicking off on 3 April 2006”.

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