A fading government?

These thoughts are from Humberto Vacaflor, an excellent journalist [inside brackets like this, I clarify a little bit more for those of you that are not familiar with the issues], for the full article in Spanish, please see link below.

Potosi indigenous people (Ayllus) from the bordering region with Chile have concluded not to accept that the deadline for the legalization of smuggling cars was over and announced protests. [a clear and open confrontation to what current government tries to manage and rule, had this been done in Santa Cruz, or other eastern parts of Bolivia, as it happened before, the government reacts promptly by enforcing the law, arrests have been made; however, this is not the case, as these people (Ayllus) have supported current president and political party in government]

Going back to the issue of smuggling cars, in recent days, according to evidence gathered at site, the rate of entry of these vehicles to Bolivia was 200 per hour. The operators of this illegal activity assured that the Government will extend the deadline for the legalization and will open a new record, including new vehicles [to be smuggled and then legalized].

This practice has lasted for a long time, and has become the lifestyle of thousands of people. There are tractor drivers who help cars get out of the sand/mud. And Ayllus are used to charge a ‘toll’ to every passing car [a tax created by them]. All this without the invaluable contribution of customs officers.

The day you want to cut the smuggling of LPG cylinders to Peru [the price of liquified gas, in small containers used for cooking or dangerously placed in cars has a subsidized price inside Bolivia and crosses the border, smuggled, to get a higher price; at times there is no gas for Bolivians but the sale of those “garrafas” continues across the border, making evident that Bolivian controls are non existent], thousands of people will also be left without income, and that will also make Peruvians to run out of fuel. And so on to cover all illegal activities.

The day the Government, the current or successor, wants to tax the mining cooperatives there will be an armed [and violent] conflict. [not so long ago current government gave them a tax exemption, that is another form of subsidy, as there are strong linkages with this group and the political party in power]

Or if a tax is placed as export duty fees on coca leaves that go to Argentina, now passing over 5,000 tons per year, if that were to happen, then it could be a huge violent conflict.

[Vacaflor then goes at comparing with Somalia and Belgium, how they react at the non-existent presence of government; and he concludes with the following paragraph]

In Bolivia we are contributing to another reality. A country with a state that has been renamed, but still unable to control the whole territory. Drug traffickers operating in some national parks are only a detail of this state in the process of fading.


Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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