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From Shepherd to Union Coca Leader to Becoming the First Indigenous President of Bolivia

From Shepherd to Union Coca Leader to Becoming the First Indigenous President of Bolivia

A Conversation with Martin Sivak, Journalist and Author of "Jefazo: An Intimate Portrait of Evo Morales"

Thursday, December 4, 2008
9:55 a.m.
Trotter 203

Evo Morales, current president of Bolivia, is one of the most fascinating figures of recent decades and his fame amply transcends Latin America. In the war against drugs in the 80's and 90's, Morales was a main U.S. target. His first measures as president - a nationalization plan, an agrarian reform, and an alliance with Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro - provoked the U.S. government to locate him in the Axis of Evil, and caused the internal opposition to accuse him of creating a civil dictatorship and polarizing the country.

Journalist Martin Sivak has had unique access to Evo Morales. Having interviewed him first in 1995, he remained in close contact with him over the following decade in which Morales became a coca union leader, imprisoned, tortured, accused of drug-trafficking and being an Andean Osama Bin Laden deputy, a national leader, and finally, president. Sivak traveled with President Morales to Africa, the U.S., Latin America, and every corner of Bolivia. Sivak was present at large rallies, cabinet meetings (with Morales' intimate circle, mayors, and unionists), and in bilateral encounters with Gadaffi, Clinton, and Chavez, among others. Sivak was also privy to rare moments with Morales away from politics, playing soccer, watching, television, talking and dining with friends and associates.

"Jefazo, Intimate Portait of Evo Morales" passionately portrays the complexity of a leader, simple and modest in appearance, but prepared to lead what he calls a democratic and cultural revolution, with the clear aim of over-turning history.

Martin Sivak is a journalist. Currently living in New York City, he is also the author of five non-fiction books, four about Bolivia. Sivak has received grants and awards from the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy, and from Transparency International and the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Foundation.