President Evo Morales started celebrating Thursday the 10 year anniversary of his administration with an ancestral indigenous ceremony organized in the ancient city of Tiawanaku, La Paz.
In his speech, the country's first Indigenous president thanked the Bolivian people, social organizations and the church for supporting his governmental project.
“In this small but very important act, I take this opportunity to express all my gratitude for these 10 years serving the Bolivian people. We never felt abandoned by the social, indigenous, native peoples ... that have always accompanied the cultural revolution.”
IN DEPTH: 10 Years of Evo
The president arrived in the city at 5:30 a.m. local time, along with Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, dressed in the typical clothes of the Aymaras – a “Wayruro” poncho and a woollen “chullo” hat.
An Indigenous guard escorted them to the Kalasasaya temple, where they took their oath for the first time in 2006.
Photo: Twitter / @mincombolivia
The ancestral ceremony was organized by the “amautas” (“masters” or “wise men” in Quechua). It started with rituals thanking the Pachamama, or Mother Earth, and a “koa” ritual, meant to call for good crops and good personal luck, coinciding with the sunrise.
According to teleSUR correspondent Freddy Morales, at least 2,000 people attended the 45-minute ceremony, including members of the cabinet and Ayamara authorities.
The festivities will be transferred to the administrative capital, La Paz, where a formal ceremony will take place on Friday to celebrate the anniversary, followed by a civic parade of social movements. A concert will conclude the celebrations, featuring folk bands like Los Kjarkas, Kalamarka and Awatiñas.
During the 10 years that Evo Morales has been president, extreme poverty has been significantly reduced and economic growth has been among the highest of the region at over 5 percent a year.
With the people's support – Morales won three consecutive elections with respectively 54 percent, 64 percent and 61 percent of the vote. On Oct. 21 he became the longest running president in Bolivian history.