(Photo: Dado Galdieri ASSOCIATED PRESS)
It’s no wonder that Bolivian President Evo Morales is mockingly referred to as “Ego” Morales by his critics: He has just built a $7.1 million museum to glorify his life story. And that may be one of his least scandalous ego trips.
Morales, a Venezuela-backed authoritarian populist who has grabbed near-absolute powers since he was elected in 2005, personally presided over the Feb. 2 inauguration of the museum built in his home village of Orinoca. It is named the Museum of the Democratic and Cultural Revolution, but everybody in Bolivia knows it as “Evo’s museum.”
The modernistic building, built with government funds, exhibits a life-size statue of Morales, portraits of him with world leaders, honorary doctorates from various universities — despite the fact that he never finished high school — soccer shirts worn by him or given to him by famous soccer players, and boyhood mementos including the trumpet he played as a child.
It is Bolivia’s “biggest and most modern museum,” Culture Minister Vilma Alanoca told reporters. Morales himself dedicated the museum with tears in his eyes, proclaiming: “This date will mark history. This museum is the patrimony of all who struggled for the liberation of our people.”
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