Bolivian Sociopolitical/Economics 101 – Miraculous populism: discourse and reality

Eric Cardenas writes in El Diario, picture from the internet:

In these months the permanent electoral campaign of more than thirteen years of the government of “masista populism” has been increased, around the president who governs us three continuous periods, against what is provided by the Political Constitution of the State (written by and for the regime), and even more against the provisions of the people in the referendum of February 21, 20l6, which said NO! to a new renomination of the president-candidate, since the discourse of the ruling party mentions an alleged “economic miracle”, in comparison to the previous situation of the Republic.

This propaganda makes no mention that the “miracle” originates from the high international prices of raw materials (gas and minerals) that we export. Nor is it said that in the previous “hated” governments of “neoliberalism” the foundations of this situation were prepared, due to private investments in the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves; nor is anything said about the cancellation of the external debt that overwhelmed us, less than the results of the decentralization measures (autonomies), the educational reform that raised the level of teachers, etc. Moreover, according to the intentional criteria of the officials, all the previous Republican life was bad.

The truth is that more than 300,000 million dollars that by various sources entered the public treasury in these almost fourteen years (not counting those that did not enter and were administered from political offices), were largely “squandered”, because with that amount that “as never before” entered the public treasury, a new country could have been built; on the contrary, according to reports from international organizations, we continue to be the poorest country in South America and among the poorest in Latin America.

The official propaganda speech exalts the growth of the economy “as never before in the country and in comparison with the countries of the continent.” The truth is that they grew more than our country, Panama, Peru, Chile, Paraguay (it reached more than 8%), and in the years 60-64 and later, national growth was an average of 6.5%.

While it is true that resources for road infrastructure have been turned over, in almost all of these works the “surcharge” has been the rule; in public investments, industries have been raised in sectors that already exist in private activity, constituting an “unfair competition to the industrial private sector”, such as milk, sugar, cement, mining, etc., (the detail of these investments was done in a previous article) and in iron, lithium and others, it has been delivered to transnationals of the capitalist world (despite the permanent anti-capitalist discourse of the president of the Plurinational State).

Away from the reality of presidential speeches and replicated by other authorities, the truth is that four years ago we are under the economic frame of “lean season”, because we are with a trade balance deficit of 1,305 million dollars (2017), this year it will reach 1,400. The public deficit has risen from 3.4% of GDP to 8.8% for this year, (in governments from 2000 to 2005 it reached 5.8%). The external debt is at 10,200 million dollars. Gas reserves fell from 27 to 10 TCFs. The income from oil revenues has fallen from 24,606 million dollars (2014) to 12,045 in this year, we must take into account that more than 14% of the public investment was with resources from the oil rent (HDI), which reaches 31% of tax revenue (according to Min. Economy and Finance).

Despite this delicate economic situation, the government believes that we are still in the process of being the Switzerland of America, as the president-candidate said. That we would be a power in the world in the next ten years, that in those ten years we will match the Chilean economy (Vice President), etc., and we continue with an excessive fiscal expenditure in propaganda and electoral campaign.

Officials also now speak daily of democracy, when in reality we have no independence from powers or agencies; we are in an illegal and unconstitutional electoral process, with persecution and political repression (case of Gutiérrez and other leaders of Adepcoca), without general amnesty of defendants, exiled and imprisoned for political reasons, disguised as common crimes; union independence is run over, dividing these organizations when they do not respond to the interests of the regime, there is no democratic control over government management and we are drowned in corruption.

The government claims that fiction surpasses reality, but it is present in people’s pockets, in unemployment, informal activity, the deterioration of the quality of life, that is, in Human Development.

The author is a lawyer, political scientist and writer.

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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