Association New Peru: Some notes on a “coup d’état” in Bolivia (Corrected and expanded)

Military personnel stand guard in Plaza Murillo, located in the administrative capital of Bolivia, La Paz.

Hereby we share an article published by the Association New Peru.

Through the newscasts of various bourgeois media, we learned, on June 26, of the news of a “Coup d’état in Bolivia” in which a small number of high-ranking officers, troops and two or three tanks were involved, which after having been deployed in front of the presidential palace in Plaza Murillo have withdrawn, with the coup leader being arrested by military forces loyal to President Arce of the Movement for Socialism Party (MAS), whose leader is Hugo Morales and who is only socialist on the letterhead, because he represents the interests of the bureaucratic faction of the great native bourgeoisie.

“Bolivia lived hours of uncertainty this Wednesday after a group of military personnel mobilized in the center of La Paz, something that President Luis Arce called an attempted “coup d’état.”

Later, Arce appointed new military chiefs, including General José Wilson Sánchez, who assumed the general command of the Army.

While this act was taking place at the government headquarters, the members of the army who had mobilized in the center of La Paz began to leave Plaza Murillo.

At the time of his arrest, the military accused Luis Arce of mounting the coup attempt to “increase his popularity.” Zúñiga said it was a “self-coup.”

Former President Evo Morales – leader of the ruling party Movement to Socialism – described what happened on Wednesday as “a coup d’état” in progress.

Juan José Zúñiga had been removed as head of the Army on Tuesday after making statements against Morales and stating that “he cannot be president of this country any longer,” in reference to the former president’s aspirations to run for office again.”

A number of media outlets consulted have shown that the theory of a self-coup was later disavowed by Morales himself. And the coup was also rejected by representatives of the comprador faction of the Bolivian big bourgeoisie. The current governor of Santa Cruz, Luis Fernando Camacho, declared: “The mandate of the popular vote must be respected. Any action against it is absolutely illegal and unconstitutional,” as did former president Jorge Tuto Quiroga and even former de facto president Jeanine Añez, the former president before Arce.


As will be recalled, Evo Morales won the presidential elections at the end of 2005. Until before that event there was a situation of instability in all areas with continuous changes in government. In this situation, representing the bureaucratic faction of the big bourgeoisie, he assumed the government and implemented a program based on state enterprise and investment to maintain the old semi-colonial, semi-feudal society, on the basis of which a bureaucratic capitalism developed at the service of imperialism, mainly Yankee. The bourgeois economists say that the “primary-export” model continued, that is, bureaucratic capitalism and the economic policy of economic growth based on exports to the world market, whose result has been the same as always, to promote growth without economic development and, after the cycle of rising commodity prices, to return to the point from which it started.

“The economy grew significantly from 2006, and there were also significant advances in the social area. However, all this happened in an extremely advantageous external environment, now known as the super cycle of raw materials, with terms of trade extraordinarily favorable not only for Bolivia, but also for the entire region” (1)

In this way, the MAS with Morales continued the path of its predecessors, the governments of the comprador and bureaucratic factions (*).

It is important to know that the MAS is divided into two factions, one led by the current president of the country and the other by the “historical leader” of the MAS, Hugo Morales. Arce has opted for the comprador program to get out of the current economic crisis that afflicts bureaucratic capitalism in Bolivia, as will be seen in the final note of the BBC (**).

Morales was also president of the country for consecutive periods from 2005 to 2019, when due to a political crisis at the top he had to temporarily leave for Mexico and then Argentina, giving rise to a transitional government of the representative of the comprador faction of the Bolivian big bourgeoisie, Jeanine Añez, and, as agreed, new elections were called and the MAS was able to return to the government headed by Arce.

The solution to the situation of impasse in the collusion and struggle between the two factions of the Bolivian big bourgeoisie in 2019 was arranged between Hugo Morales and the head of the OAS, the servant of Yankee imperialism Almagro. Thus, the castling was monitored by Yankee imperialism through Almago.

Almagro of the OAS is the same one with whom the ronda member, counterrevolutionary and genocidal Pedro Castillo Terrones entered into negotiations, to find a way out of the situation in which he and his reactionary government found themselves, at the head of the fascist, genocidal and traitorous regime in Peru, before his reactionary “self-coup” and “counter-coup.”

Apparently, Yankee imperialism and the intelligence services of the reactionary and genocidal Army of the Peruvian State whispered in Castillo’s ear that they would support him in his “self-coup” to carry out the “counter-coup” with the fascist, genocidal and traitor Dina Boluarte. Everything indicates that this was the case: Castillo’s trip to the US, his interview with Almagro, the arrival of the OAS Commission in Lima and the report, all before the declaration of a “self-coup” on December 7, 2022. In addition, the way it happened and the statements of Castillos and the characters involved after December 7, 2022 – which seem more like the magical realism of García Marquez’s novels – despite the little that has been leaked to public knowledge and taking into account the precedent of the deceitful way in which the old Bush government proceeded with Saddam Hussein, to have a pretext to invade Iraq, this conclusion can be drawn in this regard without much fear of being wrong. Remember that the former genocidal president of the US, Bush, who was also head of the CIA, through his ambassador whispered in Saddam’s ear that if he invaded Kuwait they would not intervene.

We have made this long interpolation on the case of the “self-coup” of the rondero Castillo in Peru, due to the circumstances and the way in which the “failed coup” in Bolivia took place, which was dissipated in less than three hours. Therefore, for many it has been a staging by the reactionary president Arce and his friend General Zuñiga, giving rise to the conspiracy argument of the Argentine newspaper Página 12 (see its World section, days 26 and 27 of this month).

The reactionary newspaper El País (June 28, 2024), in its editorial article: “Bolivia returns to normality after the failed coup without solving the underlying problems”, describes the “failed coup” as “unexpected and implausible”.

Regarding these events in Bolivia, what is the responsibility of the Maoists in these situations?

In any case, regarding these events in Bolivia, we want to say that what corresponds to the revolutionaries in that country is to focus on the reconstruction of the Communist Party. That, one cannot focus on the defense of the constitution and against the coup d’état, those who proceed in this way focus on the enemy, they do not focus on the power of the people, of the masses. In the struggle for power, what is the main thing? The revolutionary struggle or the counterrevolutionary struggle for political power. Which of the two changes and transforms things? The Revolution, obviously, is that of the proletariat and this tendency develops more and more, hence the need for the CP to initiate and develop the people’s war to culminate the democratic revolution.

What we have to preach is that the P.W. is the form that corresponds to the revolutionary struggle.

In the face of fascism, fascist denial of the constitution and bourgeois laws, for the corporatization of society, applying its fascist conception and policy and developing a fascist legal system. Our position is the defense of the rights of the people and the justice that they exercise. It is not about raising bourgeois laws; we are for the conquest of power for the proletariat and the people, for the new power conquered and defended by the people’s war that supports it, for a new legal system that serves today the joint dictatorship, under the direction of the proletariat, represented by the PC, supported by the worker-peasant alliance and in perspective, the dictatorship of the proletariat.

We need a new legal system that must be a product of the Revolution. We must not fight fascism with the liberal-democratic criterion.

Then there is the dispute between the two factions, in the MAS there are positions of liberal democracy and the fascist tendency, today they are arguing about how to get bureaucratic capitalism and the Bolivian landowner-bureaucratic State out of the crisis at the service of imperialism, mainly Yankee, and at what moment to apply such and such measures. There is no monolithism (President Mao).

Is the Arce government in a position to develop a self-coup? It seems not. That has to do with how much capacity it can deceive the masses. In addition, it is not in a position because the MAS is divided

The armed forces have remained on the balcony for the most part, in those three hours of the attempted “coup” they have remained mostly on the balcony. Today the two factions, both inside and outside the MAS, are in conflict but they can collude and thus will be in conflict-collusion-etc. It is a problem of contradiction within the reaction, particularly within the big bourgeoisie, but that complicates other bourgeois and petite bourgeois sectors.

Revolutionaries must worry about mass work to promote their struggles to serve the reconstitution of the CP, now more than ever, the masses are an arena of contention, which reaction and revisionism want to tie down. Do not forget the game of contention of the imperialist powers.

Revolutionaries must not stand in the queue of any of the reactionary factions. They must expose the process, make people understand what it is about and denounce opportunism, which seeks to contain the revolution and defend the State. Opportunism does not care how much blood, shackles and hunger the masses suffer. It is the same phenomenon as the old tradition of revisionism of social democracy.

The function of the Maoists is to develop the reconstitution of the CP for the PW. Mass work must have two parts: the part of demand and the part of the fact that only the revolution can solve the problem. If we only focus on demand, we fall into a vicious circle, we advance but we lose when repression comes, it is like going back to bourgeois democracy: constitutional or bourgeois democracy under military dictatorship, or what is worse, going out through fascism. The only way to ward this off is to make the revolution. Thus, what we ultimately want to highlight is this: Bolivian society has only one way out, there is only one way out, the New Democratic Revolution, which implies satisfying the needs of the people, that is, the proletariat, the peasantry, the petite bourgeoisie, and also taking into account the interests of the national bourgeoisie, that is the only way out, there is no other; every position, every proposal of alternatives are nothing but evolutionary plans to serve the old order to maintain and develop – we are not saying develop – so that it survives, it is the problem of the evolution of the system. As Chairman Gonzalo has established:

“We are not an alternative and we will never propose alternatives, because we are not going to promote the evolution of the system, what we want is the destruction of the system, and there is no possible alternative; there is no solution, which is to destroy the old State, its backbone, the armed forces, and destroy its entire system of social relations of exploitation to create new social relations of production, that is in summary the position that we must maintain, there is no other. Many times reactionary politicians or profiteers say that we do not propose an alternative, we simply criticize, criticize, criticize, but we do not propose what alternative can be followed, of course; why?: because we are not in favor of the evolution of the system, we are in favor of its destruction and the creation of a new one, we are in favor of New Democracy, that is the reason.

In short, what we must clearly emphasize is the only way out: New Democratic Revolution.”

(1) Note: the fact that the price of exported goods from backward countries increases does not in any case, in any period, imply that the goods exported from our countries have a value equal to the goods imported from imperialist countries. This deterioration or improvement of the “terms of trade” comes from the economists of imperialism, from CEPAL, because exchange is always unequal. Marx in Capital (vol. III) wrote in this regard:

“Capital invested in foreign trade can yield a higher rate of profit because, first of all, in this case it competes with goods produced by other countries with lesser production facilities, so that the more advanced country sells its goods above their value, although cheaper than the competing countries. To the extent that here the work of the more advanced country is valued as work of greater specific weight, the rate of profit increases when the work that has not been paid as such is sold as qualitatively superior. The same relation may hold with regard to the country to which commodities are sent and from which commodities are brought; namely, that such a country supplies a greater quantity of objectified labour in kind than it receives, and thus nevertheless obtains the commodity cheaper than it could produce itself. It is just the same as the manufacturer who uses a new invention before it is generalised, and sells it cheaper than his competitors, yet nevertheless sells his commodity above its individual value, i.e., valorises as surplus labour the specifically higher productive power of the labour he has employed. In this way he realises a surplus profit. On the other hand, as regards capital invested in colonies, etc., these can yield higher rates of profit because in such places the rate of profit is generally higher on account of their low development, and the same with the employment of slaves and coolies, etc., the exploitation of labour.”

( * ) The MAS with Morales continued the path of its predecessors, the governments of the comprador and bureaucratic factions

As the study we quote says:

“Bolivia did have important cycles of boom and growth, mainly driven by increases in the international prices of raw materials. However, the surplus generated in those periods was not properly used to diversify the economy towards the secondary sector. Rather, what is observed over and over again is the substitution of one natural resource for another or, paraphrasing Gudynas (2015), diversification, but of extractivism. The sequence has been: silver ore (1825-1894), rubber (1890-1910), tin (1900-1985), natural gas (1999 to today) and soybeans (1997 to today). In general, all governments have resorted to the theme of diversification and have tried to implement some type of industrialization policy, but efforts have so far been unsuccessful. (…) limitations of the Bolivian State and the role it has played in its attempt to promote development”

“In the primary hydrocarbon link (upstream), exploitation is divided into oil and natural gas, the latter being the most significant production (98%). The strategic public company Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), now present in all activities of this production chain, maintains exploration and production contracts with about a dozen national and foreign companies. 47 Foreign direct investment by these transnationals represented 31.6% of the total in 2017. In mining, zinc, 48 tin, gold, silver, lead, copper and tungsten are mainly produced. There are three different forms or groups of production: private mining (large, medium and small), national and foreign,49 mining cooperatives and state mining,50 whose average shares (period 1990-2013) with respect to the total production value were 57%, 36% and 6%, respectively (UDAPE, 2015). Foreign direct investment by foreign mining companies represented 20.7% of the total in 2017.

Since 2006, several state companies have become part of this manufacturing sector, although private companies predominate, some of which have attracted foreign direct investment in recent years, which reached 21.2% of the total in 2017.

It is also important to note that the issue of employment may be highly biased by the level of informality in the country. According to World Bank statistics (2018), informal employment, as a percentage of total non-agricultural employment, reached 77.3% on average in the period 2007-2017. This means that, outside of agricultural activity, official figures may be hiding about three-quarters of workers who provide services in other sectors, but as informal workers, which is extremely high.”

And we end this part with a quote that shows the never-ending story that can only be ended with the destruction of the three mountains: imperialism, bureaucratic capitalism and semi-feudalism:

“The positive external shock of raw material prices began to reverse from 2015 (Chart 4), but the inertia of reprimarization of the economy will surely continue for several more years. What is impossible to predict is how manufacturing exports will evolve or adapt to this new environment” (The quotes come from “Bolivia”, SERGIO G. VILL ARROEL BÖHRT, early 2019, The challenges of productive transformation in Latin America, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Proyecto Regional Transformación Social-Ecológica, 2020).

Another consulted author says about the period of Morales as president and of Arce as his Minister of Economy, in Genealogy of power and geopolitics of the economy*, Raúl Prada Alcoreza, February 26, 2019; available at <>, writes among other things:

“Specifically, the State’s greatest income is received from the export of hydrocarbon resources, mainly gas. In second place, we can note the mining resources, followed, to a lesser extent, by food products and manufactures. It can be noted that there are currently plans to develop the generation and exploitation of electric energy, with the construction of dams and hydroelectric, thermoelectric, geothermal, photovoltaic and wind plants. It is said that, in comparative terms, the Bolivian economy is the fourteenth economy in Latin America, if we take into account the nominal gross domestic product (GDP), as well as the thirteenth in terms of GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) prices.

According to statistics provided by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) on the participation of economic activities in GDP, public administration services account for the largest share, with more than 15%, followed by agriculture, forestry, hunting and fishing with around 12%; and manufacturing industries with more than 10%. If we take into account that the share of mineral exploitation reaches more than 9% and hydrocarbon exploitation a little more than 4%, we would have that traditional extractive exploitation participates with around 14% in the formation of GDP. Thus, it turns out that traditional extractive exploitation is the second sector, after public administration services. Therefore, from the perspective of economic activities, under the focus of macro-economic indicators, the Bolivian economy appears as an economy mainly of services and extractive exploitation. That is, around 30% of the economic structure, composed of economic activities, is made up of state services and extractive exploitation. If we add to this share the share of agriculture, forestry, hunting and fishing, approximately 41% of the GDP’s composition corresponds to services and is extractive and agricultural. With the share of financial institutions, which reaches nearly 10%, the composition of more than half of the GDP turns out to be services, extractive, agricultural and financial. Only 9% corresponds to the manufacturing industry and the rest to transport and storage, trade, construction, communication and other services. If these other services, which exceed 6%, are added to state services, then the aforementioned composition reaches more than 56%. Considering other data, 17% of the share of the GDP corresponds to transport, trade, construction, electricity, gas and water and communications.

In the case of the Bolivian economic field, the preponderance of extractive activities stands out in what corresponds to the economic activities themselves and much more if it is about exports. According to Henry Veltmeyer (2015, pp. 129-130), when Morales assumed power and established his post-neoliberal regime in January 2006, backed by a social movement, around 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 90% of exports were in the extractive sectors of hydrocarbon exploitation and mining. By mid-2011—the middle of his second administration—this economic structure was consolidated; commodity exports, which now approached 96% of total exports, made Bolivia the most resource-dependent economy in the region. In 2011, mining accounted for 6.2% of GDP and 37.3% of exports, while the hydrocarbon sector contributed 6.9% of GDP and 45% of exports. This shows us that dependence is generated in the exchange relations: in exports and imports.


It is said that in the 2010s Bolivia is experiencing the “golden decade.” This is supported by the fact that it managed to double its GDP in just 7 years, in the period 2010-2017; and this despite the fall in the world price of a barrel of oil and the decrease in raw materials, as well as natural disasters (floods and droughts). On the other hand, Bolivia has managed to maintain a fixed and stable exchange rate for its currency against the dollar, even devaluing the US currency by 15% during the period 2006-2011, when it went from 8.06 to just 6.86. 2 But, this “golden decade” is a media cliché; one cannot ignore a long period of high prices for raw materials—which is still radiating, in terms of impact—when the fall of these prices has already begun. A “golden period” cannot last so short and then disappear as if nothing had happened, as if everything had been a fiction. What happens is that primary export economies, as defined by economists, are highly vulnerable to variations in the international market. What there was was an artificial bonanza caused precisely by the rise in the price of these raw materials; the bonanza evaporated because it was managed by a rentier State. And the fact is that a rentier State spends and enriches the rentier bourgeoisie, but it does not accumulate capital, it does not convert the State’s income into capital. In other words, it does not invest productively, although that term appears in the calculation of GDP, even in the absence of productive investment processes.

Veltmeyer (2015) states:

In order to illustrate how lucrative and beneficial a joint venture contract with Comibol [Corporación Minera de Bolivia] can be for a foreign company, Colque and Poveda analyzed the San Vicente project, operated by the Canadian firm Pan American Silver Corporation, making an assessment of the company’s profit and loss statements (projected to 2009) and based on the amount invested for the year 2018, the project’s profits from the extraction of silver and zinc could increase by 220%. This level of profit —they concluded— is the result of two conditions: the continuation of a neoliberal policy regime that allows the extraction of resources from reserves, where the exploitation costs are assumed by Comibol, guaranteeing, in effect, profits with minimal risk, and a highly favorable tax regime for foreign investors.

Veltmeyer and Petras (2015) therefore conclude that the policies of the Morales-García Linera regime in the mining sector, which to a certain extent are a continuation of the neoliberal model of previous regimes (and which could be seen as a new form of privatization rather than nationalization), have created a scenario in which the extraction and export of minerals and metals is dominated by transnationals. San Cristóbal, Sinchi Wayra and Manquiri (owned by foreigners) together account for more than half of mineral production and export, while the cooperative sector contributed 30% and the State (comibol) only 10%.

And, after the quote, the author asks:

Can we speak of sovereignty under these conditions? If the control of the country’s strategic exports is in the hands of extractive transnationals, obviously not. The sovereignty that the “progressive government” speaks of is demagogy; it is part of its populist rhetoric. What happens is that now the transnationals control the transfer of natural resources through a “revolutionary government.”

So, the question is: how are economy and power articulated? This, to put it in the usual way, without problems of conceptualization, especially taking into account the perspective of complexity.

In other words: if the extractive colonial model of dependent capitalism can be reproduced using various conservative governments, then liberal governments, then revolutionary nationalists, to continue with neoliberal governments, with the “progressive governments” taking over later (these authors call dependent capitalism to conceal the contradictions of what Maoism calls bureaucratic capitalism).


• June 26, 2024

Updated June 27, 2024

Bolivia experienced hours of uncertainty this Wednesday after a group of soldiers mobilized in the center of La Paz, something that President Luis Arce described as an attempted “coup d’état.”

Soldiers and military vehicles took control of Plaza Murillo in La Paz for a few hours, and entered the Palacio Quemado, the former seat of government, led by General Juan José Zúñiga, who had been dismissed as head of the Bolivian Army on Tuesday for statements he had made about former President Evo Morales.

After the start of the military actions, President Arce gave a televised speech surrounded by members of his cabinet in which he called for the mobilization of the people and said: “We are firm to confront any coup attempt.”

“We want to urge everyone to defend democracy”

Later, Arce appointed new military chiefs, including General José Wilson Sánchez, who assumed the general command of the Army.

After taking the oath of office, the military man declared: “Nobody wants to see the image that we are seeing in the streets. That is why now in my capacity as commander… I ask, order, and dispose that all personnel who are mobilized in the streets must return to their units.”

While this act was taking place at the government headquarters, the members of the army who had mobilized in the center of La Paz began to leave Plaza Murillo.

Once the troops had withdrawn, Luis Arce went out onto the presidential balcony and in front of a crowd thanked the citizens who had mobilized. Hundreds of people gathered in the vicinity of the government headquarters, despite the opposition of the rebels, who tried to block their way with tear gas.

The arrest of Zúñiga and his controversial words

At the time of his arrest, the military man accused Luis Arce of organizing the coup attempt to “boost his popularity.”

“On Sunday at La Salle school I met with the president and the president told me that ‘the situation is very screwed, this week is going to be critical. So it is necessary to prepare something to boost my popularity,'” said Zúñiga in front of the cameras during his arrest.

The general continued describing his alleged conversation with Arce, in which he asked him if they should “bring out the armored vehicles?” and Arce answered affirmatively: “Bring them out.” According to Zúñiga, that same night preparations began, mobilizing military vehicles.

Before he was taken into custody, Zúñiga said that it was a “self-coup.”

The local press claims that the general will be prosecuted for the crimes of terrorism and armed uprising against the security and sovereignty of the State, along with the former commander of the Bolivian Navy Juan Arnez Salvador.

Former President Evo Morales – leader of the ruling party Movement for Socialism – described what happened on Wednesday as “a coup d’état” in progress.

“At this moment, personnel from the Armed Forces and tanks are being deployed in Plaza Murillo. They called for an emergency meeting at the Army General Staff in Miraflores at 3:00 pm in combat uniforms,” ​​he wrote in X.

Juan José Zúñiga had been removed as head of the Army on Tuesday after making statements against Morales and stating that “he can no longer be president of this country,” in reference to the former president’s aspirations to run for office again.

“If the time comes, I will not allow him to trample on the Constitution, to disobey the mandate of the people,” Zúñiga had said in a television interview, assuring that the Armed Forces are “the armed wing of the people, the armed wing of the country,” and threatening to arrest Morales. The official rejected the dismissal and for a few more hours he remained in his office and even attended an official event.

The underlying crisis

Arce and Morales, who were once allies, have been in a political confrontation in recent months over the future of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party and the former president’s attempt to aspire to a new mandate.

In various public statements, Arce said he was the target of a “soft coup” that aims to “shorten mandates” and which is supported by Morales’ followers.

In turn, the former president has denounced that Arce seeks to undermine his aspirations for a new presidential candidacy by taking over the leadership of the MAS.

Morales left power in 2019, after a military uprising following the first round of the presidential elections. He then left the country with the support of Mexico, but returned once Arce returned the MAS to power.

In parallel, Bolivia faces a serious economic crisis due to a lack of fuel and a shortage of foreign currency. This has led to union protests, for which Arce blames Morales (BBC, June 26, 2024)

On the same BBC:

• February 23, 2024

The Bolivian government adopted a series of measures this week to address the serious shortage of dollars in the country, which represent a break with the pillars of what has been its economic policy since Evo Morales’ Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) came to power in 2006.

After meeting with business groups, the Minister of Economy, Marcelo Montenegro, announced the economic reforms, which modify some of those that have been hallmarks of the government’s policy for years, such as the subsidy for the purchase of fuel and the control of exports.

Experts have been warning for some time of a deterioration in the Bolivian economy, and the change in government policy is interpreted as an attempt by President Luis Arce to straighten out the situation before the next elections in the country, scheduled for next year.

Arce thus modifies some of the economic policies that he helped design when he was Minister of Economy for former President Morales. (…)

WAS What is the economic situation in Bolivia

According to Juan Antonio Morales, “the country faces a complex macroeconomic situation due to the depletion of its international reserves and the deterioration of the trade balance.”

A concern shared by the analysts of the Fitch rating agency, who this week lowered the credit rating of the Andean country due to the “uncertainty” and “macroeconomic risks it faces.”

The government rejected the agency’s new evaluation because it did not take into account that Bolivia has “the lowest inflation in the region” or other “strengths” of its economy.

The main reason for concern is the fall in its international reserves.

Edwin Rojas, current president of the Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB), estimated the reserves at US$1.7 billion last January, when the country had around US$15 billion ten years ago. Added to this is the decline in revenue from natural gas exports.

Bolivia’s gas fields have been depleted and, after years in which revenue from gas exports underpinned sustained growth and poverty reduction during the presidency of Evo Morales (2006-2019), the country began to import more fuel than it exports, which reduced its foreign exchange earnings and worsened the shortage of dollars.


Former BCB president Juan Antonio Morales believes that “Bolivia needs these adjustment measures, even if it must take them to protect the most vulnerable.”

Jaime Dunn, however, points out that the “measures adopted are very timid and do not attack the root of the problem, which is high public spending.”

Morales doubts that the issuance of debt in dollars will have a significant impact, since “the banks and the financial sector do not trust the Central Bank much because of the amounts it already owes them.”

The expert believes that if the reforms do not work, Bolivia may have no alternative but to request assistance from the International Monetary Fund, which is anathema to the ruling party.

Adding to the uncertainty is a complicated political panorama.

The MAS split between supporters of President Arce and former President Evo Morales and the two are now rivals. Morales has criticized the government’s economic management and describes the current situation as “worse than in neoliberal times.”

According to Dunn, “Evo is skillfully exploiting discontent with the economic situation.”

The division of the ruling party has deprived the executive of the majority it would need in the National Assembly to sell the Central Bank’s gold reserves, which further limits its room for maneuver.

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