Morales vows to fight Bolivia poverty

President uses Independence Day address to call for complete eradication of extreme poverty in his country by 2025.

    Morales vows to fight Bolivia poverty
    Morales came to power in 2006, promising to improve the lot of the country's indigenous populations [AP]

    Bolivian President Evo Morales has called for the complete eradication of extreme poverty in his country by 2025, in an address marking his country's Independence Day.

    Morales delivered his annual message, which also serves as a kind of "State of the Union" address, in the western city of Oruro on Monday.

    The speech focused on his goals for fighting poverty and improving access to basic services by the time Bolivia celebrates its bicentennial in 2025, 200 years after the country gained independence from Spain.

    He also called for improved food security and access to electricity and portable water for every citizen. 

    Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America, with about a quarter of the population making less than $2 a day.

    In addition to poverty, Bolivia wrestles with social unrest and crime.

    The president participated in traditional indigenous ceremonies and led a military parade as part of the Independence Day festivities.

    'Errors' acknowledged

    Morales came to power in 2006 promising to improve the lot of the country's indigenous populations, of which he is a member.

    However, his popularity ratings have suffered as his administration has been beset by corruption scandals and what some organisations say has been increased drug trafficking in the last few years, although the government disputes that.
    His approval rating dropped to 33 per cent in June.

    In his speech, Morales acknowledged making "errors" but argued that he had worked in favour of the country's disadvantaged.

    "Who doesn't make mistakes?" he asked. "But I want to tell you all on our Independence Day that there can be mistakes, but there will never be treasons against the struggle of the Bolivian people."

    He also touted revenue increases under his tenure that he attributed to the nationalisation of the country's hydrocarbon industry.

    Morales' Movement Towards Socialism party has already said he will run for president again in 2014.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.