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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 11:46 GMT
Bolivia leader vows more reform
By Daniel Schweimler
BBC South America correspondent

Evo Morales
Evo Morales says he has met people's expectations
Bolivian President Evo Morales has marked a year in power by vowing further measures to alleviate poverty.

He said he wanted to raise taxes on foreign mining firms and would press ahead with plans to redistribute land to poor peasant farmers.

Mr Morales listed what he considered had been his achievements, while his government admitted to six mistakes.

As he delivered his four-hour speech to Congress, opposition members silently walked out in protest.

'Benefit Bolivians'

When Evo Morales took office a year ago as Bolivia's first indigenous leader, he promised radical change to tackle poverty in South America's poorest country.

He nationalised the energy industry and promised to redistribute up to one-fifth of the country's idle and illegally-acquired land.

In his second year, he is promising much more of the same.

In Monday's four-hour long speech he said he wanted to further raise taxes on foreign mining firms.

Mining resources, he said, had to benefit Bolivians.

Opposition concerns

Mr Morales highlighted his achievements in his first 12 months in office and condemned previous governments as crooks.

Opposition leaders said the president had broken an agreement not to verbally attack them in Congress, and walked out in silence.

His government did admit to having made six major errors, including not recognising the opposition that would arise in response to their radical changes.

And opposition is growing in the gas and oil producing regions in the east of Bolivia.

Many people there are worried that the government's changes will frighten away foreign investors and they might lose land in the redistribution programme.

Expectations when Evo Morales took office were high. He says that in a busy first year he has more than met them.

But not everyone in Bolivia seems to agree - an opinion poll published to mark the anniversary suggests his support has fallen from 74 to 59%.


SEE ALSO
Tensions mount in Bolivian region
18 Jan 07 |  Americas
Morales to tackle Bolivia clashes
12 Jan 07 |  Americas
Rival protesters clash in Bolivia
12 Jan 07 |  Americas
Bolivia 'risks revolt over land'
17 Nov 06 |  Americas
Struggle for land in Bolivia
14 Sep 06 |  Americas



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