Promised is debt

Hugo Marcelo Balderrama

Promised is debt is a phrase used to signal the fulfillment of a promise or the payment of an acquired liability. However, it does not exclusively refer to a chrematistic question, but is also used to show a moral obligation contracted with someone.

However, I would add another meaning: Everything that politicians promise you ends up becoming debt. But with an aggravating circumstance, they will not pay it, but you. Let me expand on the idea.

In the 14 years of Evo Morales’ management, there were three government programs. In the economic area, the MAS made a series of promises framed in redistributing wealth, reducing poverty and industrializing gas.

During its first administration (2006-2009) the MAS had the slogan of spending as much as possible. One, because the gas industry had been expropriated. And two, because they benefited from implausibly high prices for raw materials.

Already in the second period (2009 – 2014) two phenomena occurred. First, the growth of 6.8% of GDP in 2013. Second, just one year later and after applying the largest state spending program in the history of Bolivia, the slowdown to 5.5%. Although for many these data went unnoticed, few of us predicted the problems that were approaching in the medium term.

For the third management (2015 – 2020) there were no longer international prices. In addition, the economic policies of past administrations began to show their cracks in indicators such as the growing fiscal deficit. Evo Morales himself, at the beginning of what would be his last stage as president, asked to tighten his belts. But that outburst of good sense was only rhetoric. Well, the government replaced the income from gas rents with large doses of debt (internal and external).

According to a report prepared by the Jubilee Foundation, based on data from the Central Bank of Bolivia itself, the country’s external debt quintupled in 12 years, going from $2,208 million in 2007 to $11,268 million in 2019.

After the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), proposed since 2005, became effective, the external debt registered a notable decrease in 2007, with a balance of $2,208 million.

However, and despite being in the period of high commodity prices, in 2008 the country began a new process of indebtedness. Look how contradictory the matter is, the Bolivian government had high incomes, like in no other stage, and, at the same time, it was indebted. Any way you look at it, that’s a huge waste.

The level of indebtedness in recent years – which coincides with the time of 21F and the electoral fraud of 2019 – has been so high that only in 2017 there was an increase in debt of approximately 30%. As a result of this irresponsible economic management, the installment to be paid ―principal, interest and commissions― reached $787 million in 2019.

Jubileo points out that, for the year 2020, the main creditors were IDB, CAF, private (Sovereign Bonds), China and the World Bank.

For Raúl Tortolero, a Mexican journalist and political analyst, the increase in the foreign debt of South American countries with China is part of a geopolitical reconfiguration strategy that attempts to end the hegemony of the United States.

Personally, I agree with Tortolero’s analysis. Well, the governments aligned with the Sao Paulo Forum are not interested in economic management, much less health or education. Their sole objective is to maintain power in order to continue enriching the large drug cartels. And they are going to transfer the cost of the external debt, they are already doing it, to those who have the least option to defend themselves: the ordinary citizen. Since higher levels of indebtedness translate into more taxes, more inflation and fewer guarantees for private property.

That’s right, kind reader, everything that the Movement Towards Socialism promised us is a debt that they are not going to pay, but you, and with the most expensive price: your freedom and your property.

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