Bolivia’s Evo Morales marks 12 years in power amid mounting social struggles


Bolivia’s Evo Morales marks 12 years in power amid mounting social struggles

Tomas Rodriguez

1 February 2018

On January 22, Bolivian President Evo Morales delivered a speech marking 12 years of his government. He declared that over the course of his three terms in the presidency, “we have structurally transformed the country with greater social justice [and now] are looking more optimistically at the future.”

The policy of limited social welfare measures, combined with a fiscal pact with the Bolivian capitalist oligarchy and the defense of private property, has resulted in a “transformation” reflected most accurately in the extraordinary rise of the Bolivian banks, which last year recorded the second highest growth rate in Latin America, 12 percent, compared to an average of 4.7 percent for the region.

“This reflects the extraordinary performance of the national banking sector, which, for the sixth year in a row, has 11 national financial institution among the 250 largest in the region,” Guillermo Prömmel, the Bolivian representative of the Revista América Economía en Bolivia told the La Paz daily La Razón.

But this stunning economic performance in terms of profits generated by the financial system under the government of Evo Morales and his ruling Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) stands in stark contrast to the conditions confronting the masses of Bolivian people. The country’s poverty rate is close to 39 percent, with 64 percent working in the so-called informal sector. For the minority who are employed, the monthly minimum wage is only US$290, or US$1.57 an hour.

In his televised message to Congress, Morales proclaimed, “We are the strongest state in the entire region and the one that has grown the most in recent years in South America. Now…

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