While the world has been fixated on developments in Asia in the middle east, our neighbors to the south are kicking up a shitstorm of their own. The latest proof of the growing influence of South America is the election of Leftist coca grower leader Evo Morales as the first indigenous president of Bolivia with ambitious plans to overhaul South America's poorest nation and reverse five centuries of discrimination against the Indian majority. His rise to power began with leadership of the coca growers and his high-profile opposition to U.S.-funded eradication of coca, the plant used to make cocaine. "Long live coca, death to the gringos," was his slogan. He joins Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro as vocal leaders with little love for American foreign policy.
As further proof of Morales's cultural currency, he has become a fashion icon as well, joining the pope and Iraq's Hamid Karzai (who Tom Ford then at Gucci dubbed "the chicest man on the planet today") among others as singular style leaders. Morales' common man approach has him eschewing the Armani favored by South American politicians for a striped sweater that has become the rage in Bolivia.
more background here