Bolivia opens $7m museum honouring President Morales

Facility dubbed the Evo museum criticised for location in poor rural area

School notebooks and T-shirts from famous footballers are among the many personal objects displayed at a new $7m (5.6m) museum inaugurated by the Bolivian president, Evo Morales.

Unveiled in his native village of Orinoca, in the altiplano, the new institution is officially called the Museum of the Democratic and Cultural Revolution. The culture minister, Wilma Alanoca, said the new facility was the largest and most modern museum in Bolivia.

However, Bolivias political opposition has dubbed it the Evo museum and is questioning its cost and ostentatiousness in a rural area of humble homes where there is deep poverty.

The museums three wings have interactive rooms and digital exhibits detailing the struggles of Bolivias people throughout history. But the main attraction is the personal objects and exhibits devoted to Morales, Bolivias long-serving leftist president and its first leader to come from an indigenous group.

President Evo Morales in front of a painting of him at the museum. Photograph: David Mercado/Reuters
Portraits, stone busts, honorary doctorates, photos of Morales with world leaders, football trophies and the trumpet he played in his youth are accompanied by interactive screens featuring his world tours and speeches at international forums.

An emotional Morales shed tears at an inauguration ceremony this week that featured Andean music and dancing.

He recalled his childhood in Orinoca, a village of 700 inhabitants, 90% of whom live in poverty.

This date will mark history. This museum is the patrimony of all who struggled for the liberation of our people, Morales said.

The vice president, Alvaro Garca Linera, said those who criticised the museum were racist and agents of the empire a reference sometimes used for the United States.

Opposition MP Gonzalo Barrientos called the museum a waste.

Morales has been president for 11 years. He presided over an economic boom fuelled by high prices for the countrys minerals and natural gas, but his popularity has fallen amid corruption scandals, a deteriorating economy and his decision to run for a fourth term despite losing a referendum on the issue.

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