Between market economy and welfare state, Bolivia modeled by Morales

Evo Morales' Movement to Socialism is campaigning on the achievements of its thirteen years in power and extolling its economic and social record.

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Evo Morales campaign posters, in a street in El Alto, on October 16th. Stringer. / REUTERS

Hilda Huanca rushes into the cable car that leads to El Alto, a suburb of the capital, above La Paz, more than 4,000 meters above sea level. Head of a small wholesale transport company, she trades with Europe and the United States. "The activity is good," she believes, satisfied. "Last year we hired three employees. "

With nearly a million inhabitants, El Alto, the second largest city in the country, is one of the strategic crossroads that connects the inland with the Chilean and Peruvian ports of the Pacific. A young city, in which 30% of the inhabitants are under 30 years old, and where are implanted a large part of the Bolivian companies.

Luis Chachaqui, he saw his activity jump. His small construction company, created in 2011 with three employees now counts sixty and is present throughout the territory. "We have contracts with the public and the private sector. Recently, we built an Olympic swimming pool and an exhibition park ", he says proudly. Driven by a dynamic internal market, Hilda Huanca and Luis Chachaqui are among those who benefited from Bolivia's economic boom.

An economic stability of which Evo Morales has made its main asset

With a projection of 4% growth this year and, on average, 5% for fifteen years according to the Latin American Strategic Center for Geopolitics (Celag, left-leaning), Bolivia has one of the best growth rates of the region.

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An economic stability of which Evo Morales, president since 2005, has made his main asset to win the presidential battle on 20 October. Candidate for his fourth reelection, he puts on the slogan "A secure future" and boasts an advantageous balance sheet: significant foreign exchange reserves, low inflation, and unemployment at the lowest level (4%).

With great support for communication, the Movement towards Socialism (MAS – party of Evo Morales) spreads the image of a modern Bolivia that has been transformed, notably through the construction of infrastructure, bridges and roads. Projects that appeal to the greatest number, in this country of 11 million inhabitants, to rugged geography and isolated areas, between mountains, forests and valleys.

Nationalization of strategic sectors

However, according to the Bolivian president, the "economic miracle" owes nothing to a divine boost, but to its policy of nationalization of strategic sectors. When he came to power, Evo Morales nationalized gas and oil. At the same time, it enjoys a high commodity price cycle.


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