Many refer to El Alto as La Paz's shanty town. The majority population in Bolivia is Aymaras or Quechuas Indian from the "original nations of the Andes" (Brea, 2007). The majority in Bolivia are poor indigenous peoples.
He visited many nations who have established socialist agendas within their countries. Those visited include Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro. The goal of those visits was to align Bolivia's government with other successful socialist states. A result of those visits was economic aid from Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Morales' political party (Movement for Socialism) rejects the neo-liberal policies and capitalism of the United States in favor of a socialist government that focuses on improving the welfare of all Bolivians. The focus of Morales' political campaign had been in support of indigenous rights. In his inaugural address Morales stated:
"The 500 years of Indian resistance have not been in vain. ...
2. Economic Policies and Nationalization
One of Morales' first moves was the nationalization of Bolivia's hydrocarbons. Prior to nationalization foreign companies took the majority of profits and left the Bolivians with a mere 18% of the profits. Bolivia's "Gas War" began with the people's protesting against privatization of Bolivia's natural resources. Although past presidents had declared Bolivia's natural resources as property of the State (Martinez, 2007) Bolivia's leaders continued to bow down to the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) mandated reforms. Thus, Bolivia's resources were sold with profits going to foreign corporations in the oil and gas business (82%) (Martinez, 2007). 89% of Bolivian voters requested that the government take control of Bolivia's natural resources (Martinez, 2007).
Many believe that Evo Morales nationalized Bolivia's natural resources by following Venezuela's Hugo Chavez's lead. In fact Morales actually followed Norway's lead in nationalizing their oil resources. Norway's government receives 90% of the revenue generated by the sale of oil (Martinez, 2007). In addition, Norway's government owns the most shares of the State's oil company.
Despite nationalization, private companies that received the 82% of profits prior to nationalization continue to operate within Bolivia receiving lower profits (including Exxon-Mobile, a U.S. Corporation). The Bolivian government did not seize assets of companies working within Bolivia, just the higher cut of the profits generated by the sale of oil and natural gas by these companies.
The profits from oil and gas sales have been used by the Bolivian government to improve the educational system within Bolivia and make available low/no interest loans to the poor to