Bolivia: La Victoria de los Conservadores

Bolivia vive un momento de definiciones. En los últimos años descubrió una nueva fuente de riquezas, el gas natural, y puede haber quedado atrapada ya en lo que se conoce como “la maldición de los recursos naturales”. El principal problema es que ninguna de las fuerzas políticas parece advertir el problema y, lo que es peor, la población se muestra ansiosa de embarcarse en políticas de desarrollo que ya generaron frustraciones en el pasado. Políticas que, precisamente, reproducen la maldición y condenan a la pobreza y la dependencia a sociedades ricas en recursos naturales.

Se ha comprobado ya, con investigaciones y estudios desde diversas disciplinas, que ningún país ha sido capaz de desarrollar una economía fuerte y equitativa en base a la exportación de minerales, gas o petróleo. Al contrario, las evidencias demuestran que mientras más importantes sean esas exportaciones, más lento es el crecimiento económico y más graves son los problemas de pobreza y desigualdad.

No es necesario remitirse a las experiencias del Africa o del Medio Oriente para entender este problema. Bolivia tiene una larga historia de la cual puede aprender. Las montañas de plata en Potosí y estaño en Oruro ya entregaron su riqueza sin dejar huellas de desarrollo o bienestar. Culpar a los colonizadores españoles o al imperialismo y las transnacionales no logra esconder el hecho de que enormes cantidades de dinero fueron a parar a manos de cleptocracias políticas, burocracias ineficientes, gigantescos e inútiles proyectos de desarrollo como plantas industriales, fundiciones minerales o subsidios de incentivo que terminaron comprando el apoyo de quienes fueran capaces de ejercer presión sobre gobiernos débiles o ilegítimos.

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