How is that, how President?

Maggy Talavera’s wonderful analysis in Pagina Siete:

How is that, how President?

Maggy TalaveraWhen Evo Morales delivered his first speech as President of Bolivia, seven years ago, a question particularly caught the attention and was a matter of opinions in the national and international press. It was addressed to the former President Jaime Paz Zamora, who was present at the ceremony. “How is that, how don Jaime?”, exclaimed Morales addressing to Paz. The question rang to interpellation, because it had been preceded by an affirmation of the new President: “It is not possible that our Governments have led us to the runners-up of corruption”.

Morales then alluded to corruption in customs and national service of roads, which cited the example of a scourge which, as he argued then, his Government would combat “along with the opposition” and with foreign agencies. He even suggest to those who were still in command of these institutions to resign, “morality”, and “to bring new people to teach how to operate, managed with honesty”. Many believed that this would be. Indeed, it is what appears to have made in customs, under the chairmanship of Marlene Ardaya. But stop counting, it seems.

The reality has been responsible for demonstrating, in these seven years, that the promised fight against corruption not went from being one more wording, no date on the calendar. Not only because there was not, nor is there, a joint work with international agencies and the opposition to advance on that commitment, but also – and mainly – by the notorious lack of political willingness to start a genuine process of change in the practice of power and how to manage the State. Apparently, rather, is the opposite: have reinforced and ‘improved’ the old political practices.

There are examples enough to collect in these seven years of Government of the MAS, and not just in regards to the administration of the institutions of the State, as it may be the case of the now called “Administradora Boliviana de Caminos” [Bolivian Road Administration], among others, or the new State-owned enterprises. There are other even more serious cases because they affect not only material goods and public investments, but also to human capital and the State institutions. In the case of human capital, with dramas that have reached even fatal outcomes, i.e., have claimed victims, many innocent people.

The gravity of the case is even the greater impunity fed from the central power in almost all cases of corruption where there have been involved authorities, leaders and militants of the MAS. Ah, true: Santos Ramírez, the former second man of importance in the MAS, is imprisoned in the prison of San Pedro. We will have to remember that it is only one against thousand that are free, despite the complaints against them and, in several cases, even with court rulings. The case of paceño Assemblyman Pinto, accused of being jointly responsible for the murder of the Mayor of Ayo-Ayo, is only one of many other similar cases in which impunity comes as an official endorsement.

The network of extortion discovered in the judiciary with direct links to the Executive, the possession of a MAS mayor who was denounced for rape at La Guardia, the business of the Chinese barges, irregularities in housing projects, allegations of corruption in YPFB, the case of smuggling 33 trucks in Pando, others that are directed to the current holder of transparency and anti-corruption, and a long etcetera, configured a painful reality that already cracked the constructed image of the moral-reserve-President and which forces to return to the question made to Paz: How is that, how President, who despite seven years of “change process” there is no such thing, especially if it is about a fight against corruption?

Of course that question should be directed to more than one authority, and not only to the President of the country, because it is also proven that corruption is not an evil which is generated or affect only the central power. It is present in other public and private bodies that feed it in the most diverse ways, in complicity with majorities and minorities in a more permissive society that seems to have found a way of life in corrupt practices. But this observation may not divert attention from the main focus of infection. And that focus is, without doubt, in those who have greater power to transform or degenerate society.

While I will wait for the words of the President in a new January 22, in which I hope to find an answer to How is that, how President?, I am reviewing what was written recently by Rosa Montero in the country of Spain: “I do not know well what is happening in this society, but is scary. Economic greed has skyrocketed in such a way that people seem to have missed the cotter pin or, at least, any qualms. We have become a country of criminals.”

I commend Maggy Talavera for being so direct, if this government would listen and amend their governmental practices?… The world must learn who really is the current president and his party…

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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