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News > Bolivia

The Bolivian Right To Downsize the State and Foster Free Trade

  • Seven presidential candidates debate in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Oct. 3, 2020.

    Seven presidential candidates debate in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Oct. 3, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @telesurenglish

Published 3 October 2020

For the right-wing presidential candidates, Bolivia's economic and political stabilization will be achieved through budget cuts, trade liberalization, external borrowing, and other orthodox policies which they consider being "without ideology."

In the third part of the first presidential debate in Bolivia on Saturday night, the candidates had to make proposals to resolve the economic, political, and social instability created since the coup led by Jeanine Añez against former President Evo Morales in November 2019.


The Bolivian Poor Will Not Pay for the Crisis, Luis Arce Vows

Although the speeches of the presidential candidates did not generate uncontrolled situations of conflict, the right-wing politicians avoided mentioning concrete actions to return the country to normalcy. The attack on the Socialist candidate Luis Arce, however, prevailed.

Carlos Mesa, Citizen Community

While the former-president Mesa promised to maintain cash transfer programs to the poorest, his policies to promote economic stability would be based on a fight against "multidimensional poverty." For this, he offered direct social investment and "no great public works."

Regarding the economic, cultural and social divisions affecting the Bolivian regions, Mesa mentioned that he will resolve the regional differences with "dialogue, persuasion, and commitment to transformation."

If this does not happen, he would enforce what the Constitution says.

Luis Fernando Camacho, We Believe party.

Instead of referring to concrete economic stabilization policies, Camacho blamed the economic crisis on excess public spending. Therefore, the right-wing politician proposes downsizing the state as the most effective anti-crisis option.

To solve the Bolivian trade deficit, Camacho will promote manufacturing and mining and will seek markets "without ideologies."

As part of this strategy, the We Believe leader announced that he will look forward to signing a free trade agreement with the United States.

Chi Hyun Chung, Front for Victory

According to this candidate, 95 percent of the Bolivian oil industry is not internationally competitive. To prevent this from continuing, he proposes to attract foreign investment by reducing taxes on entrepreneurs.

If he becomes president, foreign investors will have legal security and will only pay 2 percent of their income "to increase the international competitiveness of the country."

Luis Arce, Movement Towards Socialism (MAS)

Arce explained that Bolivia needs to resume a development path but with stability of expectations in the economic, political and social aspects simultaneously. Only then will companies and workers be able to carry out their activities in a normal way.

The MAS presidential candidate also pointed out that dialogue is the only way to overcome conflicts in the distribution of social wealth.

Regarding political alliances in the national assembly, Arce pointed out that electoral preferences show that the Socialist bench will reach the parliamentary majority because Bolivians want to once again have a government that guarantees them better living conditions.

Any parliamentary alliance will be made only if other political organizations commit to achieving that collective desire.

Maria de la Cruz Baya, Nationalist Democratic Action (ADN)

She proposed to overcome the problems of the Bolivian balance of payments through a floating exchange rate. Rather than provide details on this proposal, Baya once again blamed drug trafficking for the problems in the Bolivian economy.

She then proposed creating a tax for farmers who grow coca for traditional consumption.

Feliciano Mamani, Bolivian National Action Party (PAN-BOL)

When asked how he will increase the country's international monetary reserves, Mamani returned to the rhetorical discourse on eliminating corruption and reducing the number of public employees.

He did not offer specific answers on the problem of the management of the Bolivian financial system, but hinted that he would persecute those who fled with money outside the country.

Jorge Quiroga, Free 21 Party

To overcome the current crisis, he said that it would require to introduce some US$8 billion into the Bolivian economy. These resources would be obtained by distributing public companies in shares among Bolivians who are over 18 years of age.

Instead of defining concrete measures to control inflation, Quiroga focused his speech on the attack on the government of Evo Morales.

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