How a populist president helped Bolivia’s poor – but built himself a palace

The link between South American populism and declining inequality is striking – especially in Evo Morales’ landlocked nation

The whirr of a helicopter setting off from Evo Morales’ new 29-storey presidential palace sends the pigeons in a nearby square scattering. To critics of Bolivia’s longest-serving leader, the glass-fronted building adorned by a helipad is an alarming sign of the president’s increasing vanity.

Inocencio Carvajal Lopez, however, remains unfazed. For this 62-year-old indigenous leader, the sight of the bright red helicopter is, like the palace itself, a sign that Bolivia is at last on the up.

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