Bolivia: Columnist Uses Blog to Draft Cyber-Proposal With Readers

The Bolivian government announced a drastic change in providing retirement benefits to elderly Bolivians under a plan called “Renta Dignidad”. These funds replace the annual “Bonosol”, and will come directly from the Direct Hydrocarbons Tax (IDH for its initials in Spanish) and will be payable once a month for all Bolivians aged 60 and above. The biggest change will be that this new program will reduce the cut that departments, municipalities and public universities will receive from the revenues from the nation's hydrocarbons. As a result, many of the sectors affected are saying that the new measure is unfair and a decision was made without proper debate or discussion.

One place where differing ideas are taking place is the blogosphere. Bloggers such as Carlos Gustavo Machicado of Guccio's [ES] and Ruben Hilari of Lenguas y Comunicacion Bo [ES] mention the issue in their blogs. However, one new blogger and noted economist, political analyst and newspaper columnist, Gonzalo Chavez, decided to use his blog Villazón Business School [ES] to engage his readers promising them that not only would their ideas be mentioned in his latest column, but they would be given full credit for these ideas.

Chavez extends an invitation [ES]:

Escribamos juntos. Este Domingo escribire sobre este tema en mi columna de LA Razon. Les pido ayuda con propuesta o con mejoras u ajustes a las ideas arriba mencionadas. Citaremos con nombre y apellido las propuestas. Aquellos que quieren manter el anonimato, los mencioanremos como amigos del blog Villazón Busines School. DEsempolven sus libros de finanzas o compartan sus experiencias. Esperaré comentarios y sugerencias hasta el viernes 19 de octubre al medio día. Para compensar su participación entregare 5 libros de Villazón Business School a las ideas mas creativas.

Let's write together. This Sunday, I will write about this topic in my column of the La Razon. I ask for your help with proposals or improvements and adjustments to my mentioned ideas. I will cite your first name and last name. Those that want to remain anonymous, I will mention as friends of the blog Villazón Business School. Dust off your finance books or share your experiences. I will await your comments and suggestions until Friday, October 19 at noon. To compensate your participation, I will provide 5 books of the Villazon Business School to the most creative ideas.

From that invitation, many readers anonymous or under aliases posted 25 comments. The blog's author engaged the commenters by asking for further clarification or responding to their questions. In one of the final comments, Chavez replied [ES]:

Estimados amigos del blog, gracias por comentarios y propuestas. Termine el artículo hace unos minutos, fue dificil resumir tan buens ideas, de cualquier manera el articulo hace referencia a este blog, asi que mucha gente entrará puede seguir enriqueciendo la propuesta Cibernética. Ojala que la gente del gobierno y la oposición tome estas ideas y las mejore. El lunes sorteare entre tdos los cino libros que prometí.

Dear friends of the blog, thank you for your comments and proposals. I finished the article a few minutes ago, it was difficult to summarize so many good ideas, either way the article makes reference to this blog, so that many more people can enter and continue to add to the cyber-proposal. Hopefully people in the government and the opposition take these ideas and improves upon them. On Monday, I will award the five books that I promised

On Sunday, October 21, the opinion piece was published in the La Paz daily La Razon titled “Una propuesta cibernética [ES]” (A Cyber-Proposal). The piece begins:

Éste es un artículo escrito a por lo menos 40 manos y fue posible gracias a un encuentro, en el ciberespacio, de los amigos (as) que visitan mi blog en la internet. A todos ellos mi profundo agradecimiento por los análisis y propuestas. Obviamente, las interpretaciones y errores son de mi entera responsabilidad. La mayoría quiso mantener el anonimato. Respetaré su voluntad y citaré sus pensamientos usando seudónimos.

This is an article written by the hands of at least 40 and was made possible by a gathering, in cyberspace, of friends that visit my blog on the internet. To all them, I express my profound gratitude for their analysis and proposals. Obviously, the interpretations and errors are entirely my responsibility. The majority wanted to maintain their anonymity. I respect their wishes and will credit their thoughts using pseudonyms.

Three of the commentors on the blog Ahi te veo Madrid, Raton Peres, and Malai were personally mentioned in the column for their ideas. Quotes from comments left on the blog were also printed. This was a new practice seen in Bolivian journalism and analysis, however, the online version of the column failed to provide the URL address of Chavez’ blog: Villazón Business School [ES].

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