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“Do it yourself! Now you don't have to wait until January 22! End the uncomfortable suspense created by the question, “How will our President-elect dress?” by Joaquin Cuevas, Used by permission from artist.
Is Bolivian President-elect Evo Morales a candidate to be voted best or perhaps, worst dressed on some of those year-end lists? During his worldwide tour to gather support for his upcoming administration, many critics had plenty to say about the unique style of dress for a man, who stands moments away from assuming power in the country of Bolivia. Some have wondered whether Morales’ striped sweater might stick and become his trademark. After all, he was photographed with the same sweater during meetings in Spain, China and South Africa.
Bolivian bloggers have weighed in on this topic, which has become such a topic of conversation in Bolivia and a subject of enormous suspense. Such as, Sergio Asturizaga, who writes in his blog Así como me ves me tienes that Morales’ refusal to wear a coat and tie cannot be attributed to an excuse that Morales never used such style of dress. Asturizaga posts a high school picture of a young-looking Morales in guess what? A coat and tie.
There’s a certain sense of innocence to Morales’ choice of wardrobe, notes Miguel Esquirol. But, as written on El Forastero, he thinks that it creates an unforgettable image, as soon Morales will be highly respected and easily recognizable. Jaime C. Rubin de Celis of JCR’s Place thinks that if Morales really wants to distance himself from the the old political guard and showcase his indigenous roots, then he should ditch the multi-colored sweater in favor of actual traditional indigenous dress. This could play a part in promoting a part of the Bolivian culture, something that leaders from Africa or the Far East often do to display their culture. On the other hand, Javier F. believes that we could soon be seeing Morales a bit more formal. After his visit to China, Morales admitted that he is not really “used to protocol.” In his blog, Debatiendo Bolivia, he posts links to op/ed pieces about this subject and writes that this comment about protocol may signal a change from his typical “look”.
Political cartoonist Joaquin Cuevas does not leave the matter to chance. In his drawing (pictured above) he lets the reader choose Morales’ dress. Cuevas, who draws for the La Paz newspaper La Razon and has his own blog La Vida del Chico Larva, will be one of three Bolivian representatives in the XVI Iberoamerican Art Show organized by the Association of Cutural Representatives from the Diplomatic Missions and Embassies in Washington, DC.
Other issues relating to Morales also were discussed in the Bolivian blogosphere this past week. Gabriel Iriarte Rico, currently living in France, recalls a football match in 2004 in the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia, where his friends invited Morales to participate. In that match, according to Iriarte Rico, Morales displayed a certain sense of simplicity and qualities that might serve the new President well. He writes in Gabriel al Sur de Francia:
I called for him to pass me the ball and he did, he wasn’t selfish, although a little chubby perhaps. Even with his good ball handling skills, he was not a show-off. On that dirt field at the Cala Cala sports complex, I remember seeing him draw a penalty call and his sudden fall, from which he didn't complain. He didn't insist on kicking the penalty, even though the others did insist that he take it. After approaching the ball in a shy manner, he drilled the accurate shot that made the goalkeeper lunge. If Evo retains many of those characteristics as President of Bolivia, that he demonstrated on the field, the entire team will be successful, maybe even we’ll go to the next World Cup.
Speaking of sports, in the blog El Clavo en El Zapato, Fadrique Iglesias Mendizábal, an observer of the world of amateur and professional sports, is hopeful and comments on the possibility of the creation of a Ministry of Sports during Morales’ Presidency. In the past, the public servant in charge of sports in the country was only at a Vice-Ministry level. He speculates that some of the names who might become part of the next Cabinent are Bolivian National Team captain, Julio Cesar Baldivieso and Geovana Irusta, one of the few Bolivian Olympians.
As the world tour winds down and perhaps the end of the line for the infamous sweater, Miguel Buitrago of MABB, summarizes the global visits and wonders what Morales might accomplish with the pledges provided by the world leaders. Alvaro Piaggo’s Blog de Bolivia wonders “whether we (Bolivia) really want to be side by side with Cuba, China and Iran while hoping to be a country that promotes freedom for its people and overall progress for the country and continent?”
Finally, Eduardo Avila of Barrio Flores runs down the ten most interesting stories of 2005. In addition, Nick Buxton posts some of his favorite photographs from Bolivia taken during his time living in La Paz on his web site Open Veins.