Daily Archives: September 22, 2013

Is there legal certainty in today’s Bolivia?

A sound Editorial from El Deber:

The legal assurances

El Deber logoOne of the little observed consequences of the rise of prices of raw materials exported by Bolivia is that in the country, there is now the petty idea that the economy can grow without the need for private investment. The bonanza had other consequences, like the little care on the use of the resources that entered the country, but perhaps the worst long-term consequence is that the Government saw no need to approve an investment law.

Seven long years has lived up by now, the country without an investment law, without a hydrocarbon law and a mining code, in a vacuum that was filled with insufficient and short-term measures. Oil companies are the ones who pronounced with greater clarity on this issue. The leaders of the Bolivian Chamber of hydrocarbons have said that they want a long-term climate, i.e., a law to invest in exploration. The mining companies said it with facts: investments will not be made in the country despite the high international prices. But the international financial organizations have dealt with recall, with persistent regularity, that there are no legal assurances for investments in Bolivia. The European Union has said it also in a tiresome way.

But something paralyzes the Government when it comes to passing those laws that are absolutely essential to the economy. Earlier this year, was mentioned in Parliament the possibility to pass a law that would punish the take-overs of the mines and punish the guilty parties with eight years in prison. But the project was stalled when some ‘Ayllu’ from the Highlands claimed the right to continue raiding mines. Something similar happens in Santa Cruz, where the groups that define themselves as ‘landless’, opt for raiding farms in production before the helpless gaze of the authorities. The doubts will follow, surely, but the lack of investment in mining and petroleum that has caused the decline in production, while insecurity in the agricultural sector caused the current shortage of fruits and vegetables in the country.

With these facts it is demonstrated that laws, legal security, the defense of private property, are repercussions that affect people, the Bolivians. Perhaps knowing that, the Government will choose to do what they should have done seven years ago. We cannot wait any longer. The consequences may be very regrettable

Editorial Board: Peter F. Rivero Jordán, Juan Carlos Rivero Jordán, Tuffi Aré Vázquez, Lupe Cajias, Agustín Saavedra Weise and Percy Añez Rivero