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Bolivia: The Work of the Constituent Assembly and Government Regulations

[Editor's Note: We welcome Mario Duran, who was featured in this Global Voices interview, as a new author covering the Bolivian blogosphere. This is his first contribution to the site.]

Many things have been happening in the Bolivian blogosphere, such as concerns over the work of the Constituent Assembly. In the nine months since its inauguration, not a single article has been written. The delegates are even demanding a time extension to continue working. Hugo Miranda of Angel Caido [ES] writes:

que se les puede pedir a gente que solo asiste 3 dias a la semana a Sucre (martes, miercoles, jueves), que no tiene ni la minima idea de lo que es una CONSTITUCION, que gana 10 000 palos (sin contar asesores, que son MUY BUENOS), que ni asiste a sus comisiones, gente que lo unico bueno que hizo hasta hoy es apadrinar promociones y unos cuantos campeonatos de Futsal, voly y demas…

What else could you ask for from people that only work three days a week in Sucre (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays), and that do not have the slightest idea of what it is to write a CONSTITUTION. They earn 10,000 Bolivianos – national currency (without counting their EXCELLENT advisors), yet do not even attend committee meetings. They are only good for sponsoring and attending graduations and some indoor football and volleyball tournaments.

The social conflicts in Bolivia motivated Guccio’s Gustavo Machiado to talk about the import of used clothing from the United States and the prohibition established by the Evo Morales administration. He wonders whether Bolivia actually has a national industry and whether the internal market provides sufficient economic capacity. He writes:

Pienso que el problema aquí, mas que ser un problema de oferta es un problema de demanda y de ahí que encuentro absurda la idea de reconversión que postula el gobierno. ¿Realmente habrá una demanda de ropa nueva en Bolivia? ¿No será que la gente compra ropa usada porque su presupuesto no le alcanza para comprar ropa nueva o por ahí aun siendo usada es de mejor calidad que la nueva (made in Bolivia claro)?

I think the problem here, is that it is more than a problem of supply, rather a problem of demand and the absurdity of this change of stance of the government. Is there really a demand of new clothing in Bolivia? Would it be that people purchase used clothing because their budget does not stretch to buy new clothing or that used clothing might be of better quality than the new clothing (made in Bolivia of course)?

Andres Pucci declares his support for the measure adopted by the Forestry Superintendency [ES] that prohibits the export of sawn wood, which foments the processing of this material, and he writes:

Esta medida de sólo exportar ciertas especies (no todas) trabajadas es excelente, de lo mejor que se ha hecho este gobierno, obligará a empresarios a usar la cabeza, a contratar ingenieros, técnicos, obreros, contadores, camioneros, montacarguistas, cargadores y demás, aparte de comprar maquinaria a los excelentes fabricantes de maquinaria para procesar madera que existe en bolivia (ej. Sansetenea en Cbba.)

This restriction of allowing the export of certain types of wood (not all) is excellent, and it is one of the best things that this government has done. It forces the businessmen to use their heads and to hire engineers, technicians, workers, accountants, truckers, loaders and others, in addition to purchase machinery for the excellent factories to process the wood that exists in Bolivia. (i.e. Sansetenea in Cochabamba).

From Palabras Libres, Mario Duran also questions the worker aristocracy (teachers and health care workers) who in addition to having a neverending supply of benefits they continue to ask for more and he proposes that:

El gobierno debería considerar declarar al magisterio, como profesión libre e incluir a los profesionales en salud al estatuto del funcionario público, dicha medida precautelara derechos básicos de las personas, el acceso a la educación y la salud.

The government should consider declaring teaching as a free profession and include the health care workers into the public employee statute, which would protect the basic human rights of the access to education and health.

Translated by Eduardo Avila

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