Bolivia's first Indigenous president inaugurated

January 22, 2006

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Aymara Indian Evo Morales was inaugurated as President of Bolivia today, making him that country's first-ever Indigenous president.

Mr Morales won 54% of the popular vote in elections in December 2005.

'I wish to tell you, my Indian brothers, that the 500-year Indigenous and popular campaign of resistance has not been in vain,' he told supporters.

Mr Morales' official inauguration came a day after traditional ceremonies at the ancient Incan site of Tiwanacu where, barefoot and dressed in a red tunic, Mr Morales said, 'Today begins a new era for the native peoples of the world.'

Mr Morales' victory is the latest sign of Indians' increasing visibility in public life across Latin America since the 1970s, as the Indigenous movement has gained in strength.