What is needed in Bolivia? Coca crops or textiles…?

Humberto Vacaflor writes in El Diario:

Coca crops or textiles

Humberto VacaflorWhen the government announced the dismissal of workers of the National Textile Corporation (Enatex), it should be disclosed for reasons of national accounting and awareness, the number of jobs that illegal coca has created in the country.

Because, as everyone knows, the company that now must lay off workers, was born when the government thought it had to assume the consequences of their decision not to be bound to the program to eliminate illegal coca posed by the ATPDEA.

To eliminate illegal coca crops in exchange for United States to open its market to textiles from coca producing countries: that is the barter proposed by the US, barter exchange that the MAS government refused, saying that the eradication of these illegal plantations was a matter of “national dignity”.

The company Ametex, who was taking advantage of that program and had also opened markets for domestic textiles in other continents, was mortally wounded with this commitment made by the Bolivian government, and was nationalized under the name Enatex.

The result is hard and comes just as the Minister of the Presidency Juan Ramon Quintana, proclaimed the new doctrine of his party: “you don’t eat with dignity.”

Apart from this lesson of crude pragmatism of the most rabid capitalism, the question of whether employment by employment, illegal coca crops as defended with blood and fire by the government of Evo Morales, created enough jobs to replace those that have been closed in this long crisis of the textile sector. Hundreds of factories closed in this process, or migrated to other countries.

True, jobs in the textile industry were the legal sector of the economy, of the decent sector, of that who pays taxes and causing exports that are made facing the sun, while the jobs created by the Chapare coca are the another sector of the illegal economy, the sinful economy, but they are jobs, will say the pragmatists of capitalism.

The country has opted, when the MAS government is in charge of national bets, for the illegal economy. We all know, though few want to admit.

There are other consequences of this commitment, beginning with the insecurity prevailing in the country along the path of illegal exports. It is an accounting that will surely be done by future generations.



Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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