Why do Bolivians struggle so much with a mining law? with this gov?!

The Bolivian government sucks, as best expressed by Humberto Vacaflor: they can not apply the mining law in the highlands, they can not open a UMOPAR headquarters in Yapacani, they can not drive away the encroachers in Santa Cruz, they can not prevent the entry of contraband or off drugs, they can not control the “deals” of their party affiliates, they can not sue Brazil for the Beni flooding caused by dams, then WTF are they doing in government!!??

To make things worse, two more Bolivians died this week as a result of this gov’s wrongdoings, this time the mining law, and the following Editorial from El Diario [04/01/14] is really enlightening:

A law as was planned?

El Diario logoThe reality of the national mining sector is based on the government that protects and favors the mining cooperatives by virtually giving them tax exemption in the country and preferably granting them rich areas, which with high-tech employment would yield more. The origin of this preference is the political alliance that the government has with these cooperatives. The Law of Mining and Metallurgy in discussion in the Legislative Assembly declares [the coops as] “nonprofit”, although they are capitalist enterprises that do not apply the General Labor Law.

2014-04-02 08.46.59 amThe draft Law, dating three years ago, in which the lead was taken by the cooperative sector and other operators with a barely informed Executive Branch, including Comibol, that appears removed by the Administrative Mining Authority under the Ministry of Mining,  that is more centralism which is detrimental to the departmental governments. In principle the new text established the tax of 1% of net production for cooperatives. This item was removed and transferred to the 2015 Financial year, probably just to eliminate objections. [El Diario’s cartoon, 04/02/14 shows the 1% paid versus all that is “earned”, coops do not care of the environment nor do they do or enforce Environmental Impact Assessments]

In the act of submission of the draft to the Legislative, President Morales ordered the Legislative to sanction without reforms or modifications [as he controls all powers, resembling dictatorial rulers]. Now when there are some amendments, Fencomin recalls: “Our president has indicated very clearly that you should not change any items.” Not the first time that to the Legislative, the Executive Body dictate what they should do. The various committees of the House where the law was analyzed, complied to the letter the presidential statement.

The Deputies reply was in merely two important respects. First, the concession contracts and others who were signed between cooperatives or private and Jurisdictional Administrative Mining Authority henceforth must go through the sieve to get the legislative approval. Modification that bothers the cooperatives.

Moreover, following the rules so far, dealers could associate with each other or with third parties without requiring the permission of the authority, including cooperatives. The amendment states that any act of association, these (coops) need to change their tax status automatically entering the common mining tax regime. The Fencomin and their associated pressures threaten to and surrounding the Legislative Palace, which recalls another similar siege to the adoption of the new Constitution.

Another issue is that about 7,000 released Special Temporary contracts should become bidding contracts. That number covers all types of dealers, whether or not private, state, etc. It is objected that for being pre-established rights they acquire a status and can not be changed, so that the measure should only apply to new contracts.

Farmers and agro sectors claim that the project does not include the “prior consultation” and may affect production and the environment, and the use of surface water and to the detriment of rural communities. The pressures have begun with roadblocks, the law can return to the original cooperative project.


On April 2, 2014, the government went back to the discussion table and said they will no longer enforce the approval of this law… two people died, several policemen were taken hostages, beaten, tortured by leaving them out in the cold night of the highlands, naked… anarchy rules Bolivia.

When there was a clash between the public-owned mines [COMIBOL] and cooperative miners, 16 dead resulted from that confrontation in Huanuni. Both sides were political supporters of the ruling party… while the ruling party left them fight “on their own” and did nothing… the VP only offered the coffins for the burials…

Bolivia’s government is centralist, demagogue, ochlocratic and is well into their illegitimate electoral campaign to perpetuate in power…

While all the above happens, citizens cannot use their right of mobility, road blocks are everywhere and the social and economic lives of the majority remain hostages to this barbaric style of doing politics.

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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