"It is not right to concentrate capital in the hands of a few while the poor die of hunger," a fist-clenching Morales declared to wild cheers during his inauguration speech before Bolivia's Congress. "... We don't want Bolivia and its economic resources held hostage by the United States or Europe."Rather than using soft, diplomatic tones as a gesture to reach out to the US Presidential administration of George W. Bush, Morales expressed his views bluntly, clearly, and publicly.
You can almost hear the alarms going off in the White House, and the hallowed halls of the Project for a New American Century.
"I am convinced that only with the strength of the people and the unity of the people will we end the colonial model, the neo-liberal model," Mr Morales told the ssembled crowds, all dressed in indigenous costume.
The "colonial" and "neo-liberal" models are embodied by the US, which the new president has repeatedly referred to as the "imperial power".
Fasten your seatbelts; we're in for a bumpy ride...
Morales, 46, alarmed the wealthy, largely white elite in Bolivia and raised hackles in Washington with his promise to nationalize the country's natural gas reserves, which are the second-largest in South America.
But the promise won him widespread support in a country where about half the population is considered to live in extreme poverty.