Pueblo enfermo – Sick people

A very interesting analysis of Bolivian society, the title of this article is the same as the work produced by Alcides Arguedas, related also to Bolivian character.

J. Lizandro Coca Olmos writes for Los Tiempos:

Sick people

The young son of one family got the national customs service job and like everything in life, should choose a code of conduct to be applied in such a position.

He recalled many family talks related to the nerve of officials of different levels of the State, taking advantage of their posts to enrich themselves illegally, reflections of pundits and analysts, media reports and others, condemning the actions of many politicians and bureaucrats, who used the public patrimony which, as if it was his own, using, abusing and exploiting without discrimination, and becoming exploiters of the public instead of being their servers.

Then chose the young, make a difference and exercising the public function honestly. Everything was going well, until he noticed that it was beginning to be looked at with severe hostility by his co-workers. The honesty of the young man was not welcome, first, because he did not allowed to others practicing the traditional vices of corrupt bureaucracy and, secondly, because the only one in the institution not obtaining illegal benefits, was not exactly trustworthy, because only when all within the business act alike, each must felt sure that there would not be informers.

But that’s not all. When senior officials were involved in the matter, the younger should not only endure open hostilities, but that very soon began him to be excluded from important meetings, impose secondary obligations and reduced functions. He noticed that honesty was undesirable, persecuted and punished, when he believed that it would be awarded.

However, most to his surprise when he discovered that in his neighborhood, he was seen as a complete jerk. “Six months in the Office and has not managed even a little car!” murmured the neighbors, who saluted him trying to hide their faces in disgust while passing by the street.

The surprise was complete when, at the beginning of the meal with the family, his parents tried to reflect on the ephemeral nature of public offices, and the corresponding urgency of leverage while those deals are available to him. “Only God knows when again there will be a chance” said his father, while his older brother had summed it up, objecting to his behavior “don’t be a donkey, you have to take advantage of”.

The young concluded, that all complaints against corruption were nothing more than socially consolidated hypocrisy, and decided to change the attitude in the performance of his duties.

In doing so, found that complicity generated a kind of camaraderie between him and his companions, being invited to parties and gatherings of the institution, and receiving the appreciation of chiefs and leaders for being “a great guy, very cooperative”.

In a few months he got not just a car, but an important heritage, that bloats with pride to their families, who exclaimed that his son was “doing well”.

Neighbors not only began to have a special courtesy to him, but introduced their daughters, with the hope that, as a result of love, could marry that “good catch”.

That’s how a sick people behaves. From a simple College test to a major public office; that who refuses to cheat is a nasty and bad companion, and the cheater is a great guy, popular among peers.

Look around in a self-critical spirit, and say if we really abhor corruption, or if the only thing that bothers us is that we did not get our slice.

The author is a political analyst.


Strong but needed reflection!! The evil is among us and it is only up to us, individually to turn this society around!!

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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