Bolivian DNA: Chasing the President. Evo Morales, onetime coca grower, turned people's brother

Colourful, fascinating and diverse, Bolivia lures adventurers from across the globe. TV host and journalist Pavel Selin is no exception: he’s been dreaming about seeing the country high in the Andes for 25 years. He travels from Russia, to discover a land of spectacular beauty, indigenous people, coca leaves and ‘Brother-President’ Evo Morales. Pavel’s longtime friend, Ramiro Rivero, will guide him through his Bolivian journey.

To get from Moscow to the country’s national capital La Paz takes Pavel Selin a little more than 27 hours. But the long flights are worth it as he hasn’t seen his friend Ramiro since university days. After meeting up with his friend, it’s time to organise a meeting with the president, but catching up with Evo Morales’ busy schedule is not easy. 

The pair finds the president at his residence ready for his morning exercise at 4 am. He needs to stay fit “to lead the country and remain undefeated on a football field,” the president says. An avid football fan, Presiden Morales plays as a midfielder with the Sport Boys club. 
Another presidential passion, as well as many Bolivians, is coca leaves. Evo Morales is a former coca grower, and while many Bolivians chew the leaves, he brews coca flour with water and honey. Pavel tries out this local habit while the team follows the president on a trip across the country. 

Wherever he goes in Bolivia, people cheer and greet the president with traditional music, costumes and festivities. Morales is sure “the best security is the people,” who often refer to him as ‘Brother-President.’ Having first emerged as the leader of the coca growers (cocaleros) union, Evo Morales won a landslide victory in the 2005 presidential election. He became the first leader to come from the indigenous population in centuries. 

Meanwhile, Pavel discovers small towns and traditions of the indigenous Aymara and Quechua people, tastes local cooking and visits Evo Morales’ home village. To delve into the Bolivian culture and learn more about the ‘Brother-President,’ watch “Russo-Latino. Bolivian DNA” on RTD.