LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales presented his new biography, “Mi Vida, de Orinoca al Palacio Quemado,” which contains little-known aspects of a life that began in the remote Andean indigenous community of Isallavi on Oct. 26, 1959.
Morales said he decided to tell the truth because many books, both good and bad, have been published about his life and even one that, he said, was written full of distortions and lies by an alleged CIA agent, whom he did not identify.
Told in the first person and edited by his ex-communication minister, Ivan Canelas, the book was presented Friday to ministers, union and community leaders, and foreign diplomats.
Canelas and Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera related the content of the book, which covers the life of the president from his birth in the village of Isallavi, a community of the Orinoca region, to his entry into the presidential residence of Quemado Palace in La Paz.
“Who would have imagined back then that a peasant boy, born to poverty in an unknown, forgotten region of the altiplano, would one day become president,” Canelas said.
The book tells that Morales – an Aymara Indian and the Andean nation’s first indigenous president – was the fifth of seven children born to Dionisio Morales and Maria Ayma.
Morales says that he was born on a sheepskin and that he lived in a house with no water or electricity and where meals were cooked over a wood fire.
He also tells of his life as a shepherd, his long walks to school and to visit other communities, his stint as a trumpet-player in a band, his love of soccer, his military service and his moving on to become a union leader in the central coca-producing region of Chapare, and later a politician.
Coca, the source of cocaine, is cultivated legally in limited amounts for legal uses in cooking, folk medicine and Andean religious rites in Bolivia.