Alfonso Gumucio writes in Pagina Siete:
The Government’s own information analyzed by experts indicates that most of the companies that are administered by the State (existing, nationalized or created by Evo Morales) have failed due to corruption and mismanagement. There are more visible cases than others, but they are not the most important.
For example, Bolivia is the only country in the world that does not have a postal service because it went bankrupt because of excess personnel and lack of an intelligent strategy, even if they blame new technologies. There are small countries in the world (Tonga, Hungary, Iceland, Namibia, among others) that for many years, before internet, maintain mail services specializing in stamps for collectors: series on nature (birds, fish, mammals, flowers) or on technology (history of aviation), among other topics. (The photo of Evo is not very attractive in a collection of stamps).
Companies managed by the State have gone bankrupt or are subsidized and operate at a loss, such as Enatex, Papelbol, Ecobol, Quipus, the cable car and others. The Government is not even good to supervise, as is the case of the Bolivian Road Administration. The gas industry (YPFB) works – despite corruption – because it is in the hands of multinationals (which nationalization?). Boliviana de Aviación is maintained despite several technical mishaps because insurance companies require minimum safety standards.
There is an extremely successful company that does not enter into the accounting of the State but sustains the economy and offers at first sight a feeling of prosperity. We see with hypocritical admiration how hundreds of new buildings rise in Santa Cruz or La Paz, and there are large shopping centers with stores where you can find the most “chic” brands and faces of the world. The main avenues of the cities are full of importers of vehicles, from the most luxurious to the cheapest.
All this is the mirage of a buoyant economy, but the State has little to do with it. On the other hand, the Government has a lot to do, because 67% of the country’s economy is informal, outside the control of the State, but allowed and encouraged by the Government because it produces precisely that illusion of well-being of which a good part of society is accomplice.
The lady vendor of the Achumani market who goes twice a year to Nicaragua to bring rum Flor de Caña or the legal importer of Johnny Walker know that they are part of the parallel mechanism of the Bolivian economy that is nourished by contraband and drug trafficking, with a lot of green money in cash.
In this informal economy, cocaine is the one that generates the most resources conveniently “washed and ironed” through construction, car sales and other apparently legal businesses, but which have not been subject to audits because it is not convenient for the government to do them, nor to the owners of those businesses. In the background everyone is happy that things continue as they are. In private, they talk about the Government’s pests, but in fact they are accomplices.
Before, 300 kilos of coca leaf were needed to produce a kilo of cocaine, but now with modern washers and dryers it is no longer necessary for poor peasants to burn their feet with coca and chemicals. The “new technologies” allow to remove the same kilo of drug with barely 100 kilos of leaf.
The production of 350 to 400 tons of cocaine per year indicates that the highly publicized catches represent only a small percentage. The United States is no longer the main market, but Brazil, with a large permeable frontier and good purchasing power (the Real is still strong).
The international organizations shamelessly shut up. The first report of the European Union ratified that six thousand hectares in Yungas were sufficient for traditional consumption. The government of Evo Morales did not like that report, forced the European Union to change and double the number of hectares. Now we are “officially” four times more, without counting all the hidden hectares and all those that produce coca outside of Yungas and Chapare.
President Morales said that he “longed” for the whole world to pijchar [chew coca leafs] … Such stupidity puts his statement up to (or below) Trump’s. Is it that the whole world would pijchar coca from the Chapare? Not even the indigenous Bolivians like it.
@AlfonsoGumucio is a writer and filmmaker
Bolivian Thoughts opinion: Alfonso Gumucio describes Bolivia like no other! This is what Bolivia turned to be, ever since evo assumed power and destroyed our nation!