Tarija’s Mayor urges end to personality cults in Bolivian politics

EFE reports in Latino Fox News:

Mayor urges end to personality cults in Bolivian politics

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-9-51-30-amLA PAZ – The Spanish-born mayor of the southern Bolivian city of Tarija, Rodrigo Paz Pereira, says that the Andean nation “needs to be a solid, institutionally based democracy” and to move away from a pattern in which political parties are no more than vehicles for individuals.

Paz Pereira, the son of former Bolivian President Jaime Paz Zamora and Spaniard Carmen Pereira, was born in Santiago de Compostela.

The family spent much of Rodrigo’s childhood outside Bolivia because Paz Zamora, an outspoken leftist, was viewed as an enemy by the succession of military regimes that held power in La Paz.

In an interview with EFE, the 49-year-old Paz Pereira said that Bolivia’s political scene has been dominated by strong leaders for nearly a century.

“Before and during democracy, political parties have coalesced around single leaders,” he said. “This includes all parties. It is not the case of just one party, but all of them.”

To achieve “21st century democracy,” Bolivia’s parties should move in the direction of collective leadership and programs that are the result of consensus, the mayor said.

He added that the state, as an institution, must be at the service of society, not the other way around.

If the state “dictates a vision and society continues that process, we lose the transformative power of the citizenry, which is central,” he said.

“Many people who are in the government today, or those who preceded them, do not understand what was required to build this democracy,” Paz Pereira said. “I felt it as a child in exile.”

Paz Pereira became Tarija’s mayor last year, defeating the candidate of President Evo Morales’ leftist MAS party.

The city is the capital of Tarija province, which holds most of Bolivia’s massive reserves of natural gas, and the new mayor took office amid a steep fall in the price of the fuel that has been reflected in the decline of the annual municipal budget from $173 million to $72 million in just two years.


Current president of Bolivia, for over 30 years, has been the top leader for the coca growers groups in the Chapare, Bolivian unions are extremelly vertical in their organizations, and as such the caudillo figure reflects also in politics … whatever the caudillo says must be done, regardless… a real problem that Bolivian society needs to overcome!

4 responses to “Tarija’s Mayor urges end to personality cults in Bolivian politics

    • He became this egocentric due to the environment under which his “leadership” sprouted … unions in Bolivia have always been extremely vertical, almost dictatorial. So, he arrived to the presidency at the best possible economic times in ALL our history, at the same time the other “leaders” of the socialism of the 21st century were experiencing the same, so here the results … I don’t agree with those who say that his entourage are the ones who make him do questionable things, I firmly believe he is the only one with all the power, this blog site has hundreds of events recollected on the mishaps of the worst govenrment ever. It is the ochlocracy ruling Bolivia by the hand of an egocentric maniac!

      • And the weaker the institutions are, the easier it is for one person to be dominant. I come from Central Europe, where we generally have quite strong and stable institutions. If a Prime Minister or Chancellor dies or has to resign, it’s really not a big deal because all the institutions keep working like the day before. In South America, not only in Bolivia, I see many people fearing for their jobs if there is a change in government.

        But I think there is also a historical readiness by the people to view politics as something personalized. Sometimes I hear people say “Evo built this housing block” or “Evo built this road”, as if it wasn’t the state as a whole who does these things. But then, when you look at the school books and how they already worship Evo, it’s no surprise. Even more reason for term limits.

      • I fully agree with you. Under this government, Bolivia lost the public service system that started to have positive results. UDAPE, the Forestry Superintendency are examples of what a public institution should be, unfortunately all was lost … the disproportionate increase of public servants, more absurd bureaucracy not only sprouted corruption but also filled the public institutions with people who are frankly not prepared for giving that service.

        Even if this person were to resign today, it will take us more than 50 years to rebuild our nation, starting with feeling all of us citizens of the same country. He made us fought among each other, poor vs rich, westlanders vs eastlanders, rural vs urban, you name it, there is no more the sentiment that we all belong to the same country. Lets not forget there are over 600 people who had to flee the country due to political persecution.

        This picture says it all: https://www.facebook.com/Bolivian.Thoughts/photos/a.1602706776656695.1073741827.1602706736656699/1753733088220729/?type=3&theater

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