Daily Archives: June 10, 2011

Drought, blackouts, corruption, gas: four failures in Bolivia

Today is a bad day, there are four big issues that expose our lack of sound economic and public policies. Bolivia displays its worst face:

1. The Pilcomayo river as it goes from Potosi, Chuquisaca, Tarija departments, en route to Argentina/Paraguay is experiencing severe environmental damage. Not only mining pollution from Potosi mines but now a drought in the Tarija portion plus sediments in Argentina, have caused that the fish went down by 90% as compared with last year’s production. There are 200 indigenous families and around the same communities in the Tarija department that use fish as their primary food intake. Sediment and use of Pilcomayo water for agriculture in Argentina and Paraguay are the main cause for such depletion. On June 13, there will be a meeting in Paraguay to address remedies for that sedimentation. However, if any accord happens, it will be a long run remedy, countries are not that speedy to assess and implement actions; over the short run those communities will see their incomes and food depleted.


2. Blackouts across the country are expected during Sep/Oct this year. Let alone a higher demand of energy during this winter, which is starting and with a severe cold weather forecast envisioned. Sometime ago, one of the energy plants had severe damage as a result of their personnel not being qualified, that happened after there was a “nationalization.” These days, ENDE reports its service is at the limit; they only have around 10% of reserves.


3. The Inter American Development Bank (IADB, BID in Spanish) has issued a report that states Bolivia ranks first in corruption anomalies. IADB’s Office of Institutional Integrity, revealed that between 2007 and 2010, Bolivia was sanctioned 72 times over the inappropriate use of the credits received. During 2009 there were 52 cases of reported corruption region wide, 24 of which happened in Bolivia, that is around 50%. The first link below represents today’s editorial from El Deber (Spanish), the second one is the link to the IADB office (English).



4. This is one brings more shame than anything. Just picture one of your clients telling you that you should also sell your product to other people… Brazil told us in a very polite and at times patronizing manner, that we should be considering other markets to our natural gas. I leave you with that, as today’s catastrophic news overwhelmed me.