"In Bolivia, the Indigenous people govern completely differently ... with pride," Evo Morales said.
Bolivian President Evo Morales rose to the defense of Indigenous people after Brazilian lawmaker Rodrigo Amorim told “Indian sympathizers” they could live in Bolivia if they disagreed with the "renewal" plans intended for native Brazilian territories.
The future of some 14,300 sq. meter property formerly reserved for Indigenous communities has been the site of numerous protests since 2013.
On Sunday, the right-wing Brazilian official told demonstrators, “The space could serve as parking, shopping, leisure area or equipment.
"Indians sympathizers can go to Bolivia, where in addition to being a communist, an Indian still governs," Amorim said, referring to Morales who is Indigenous of the Aymara community.
Bolivian state officials denounced the Brazilian politician, calling his behavior both outrageous and racist.
Hector Arce, Bolivia’s Minister of Justice, said, “Our Indigenous peoples deserve all respect and appreciation and an elected representative of a country as big and dignified as Brazil. They should publicly apologize.”
Morales responded immediately, tweeting, “We regret the resurgence of racist supremacy ideology. Faced with intolerance and discrimination, Indigenous people promote respect and integration. We have the same rights because we are children of the same Mother Earth.”
However, during an event in Cochabamba, he remarked that the comment was “hardly surprising” coming from a politician who supports the extreme right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro.
"There have always been policies to exterminate the indigenous movement during the colony and the republic. For those who know their history, it is not a novelty what the lawmaker in Brazil says," said Morales.
"In Bolivia, Indigenous people govern completely differently. It is something historic, unprecedented — a pride," the president said.