Pagina Siete reports an estimated 8,000 stolen vehicles (mostly from neighboring countries) are currently in the process of nationalization, as declared by the president of the National Customs of Bolivia (ANB), Marlene Ardaya to ERBOL network, and published by Pagina Siete on Monday Oct. 31 .
Ardaya previously indicated that, as a result of allowing over 128,000 vehicles that were smuggled and now in the process of making them legal, 8,000 were identified as stolen from different countries of the region (mostly from Chile); approximately 6.24% of the total smuggled cars.
“There is still going on a process of identification of those 8,000. Around 20% from Brazil (about 1,600 vehicles); and Chile from 2,000 to 2,500 vehicles, “said Ardaya. She said that there is a presidential instruction to return the stolen vehicles, however, that this has not yet been possible, on the grounds that judicial proceedings are lengthy. “The country where the stolen car is from, needs to issue a warrant through its Foreign Ministry, then (go) to the Bolivian prosecutor and after a process the return is possible,” said the president of the Customs. Such process is estimated to be around three months until the car returns to its owner.
Legalizing smuggled cars caused diplomatic unrest with our neighboring countries and a three month red tape in the best case scenario is not only impractical but seriously damages our credibility and reputation. Say for example: if we know there are 1,600 vehicles from Brazil, have them shipped to the border and have the Brazilian government take custody of them and have them carry on the process of returning them to their owners!
We should also think about 8,000 Bolivian citizens who have been misled and practically lost their savings when they agreed to purchase those stolen vehicles. Whether they realized that or not, they lost, had the government been more respectful to the law (not allowing smuggled cars) and stopped such a large quantity of used cars, most of them junk from other Continents (with lots of environmental issues and an increase in the gasoline/diesel subsidies), who shouldn’t have had this problem.