My name is Juan P. and although the quarantine phenomenon occurred worldwide some time ago, here in Bolivia we have been in total quarantine for more than two months, with the only possibility of selective exits according to the termination of your number card and only for supply purposes or essential work.
The curious thing (I don’t know whether positive or negative) is that we already had an unusual quarantine preamble without a pandemic. In November 2019, after the national elections, there was a social-political revolt in the country that resulted in the departure of former President Evo Morales from power and the installation of an interim government until the new elections. This situation occurred after 21 days of total unemployment in the country, an unusual event, the country completely paralyzed, the nine departments immobilized, including airports and land terminals. Although the situation was different since the measure allowed non-motorized mobility, the Bolivian families through this situation managed to develop isolation mechanisms that for this pandemic are very well replicated.
The state of total quarantine is lived similarly to all countries, with the same general shortage problems that affect us all. Unlike the rest of the world, we have on the one hand an economic recession due to the political social unemployment six months ago and a similar but more extended economic recession in timeline with this quarantine. In addition to this, the interim or transitional government is an improvised government with little political structure and little command power. This does not give us any encouraging prospect in the medium or long term. At the moment the spikes of contagion and deaths have only grown, there is no immediate recovery from activities.
Recall that Bolivia was the only country in the region that maintained stable economic growth during the last 14 years of between 2 and 4% (IMF data); Now we are facing a not very encouraging scenario, without a defined political situation. The transition government already accumulates more than 35 cases of corruption in its 6 months in power and with the possibility of remaining to govern the next administration.
For all these reasons, Bolivia will unusually be one of the countries hardest hit economically by the COVID-19 phenomenon in the region. I am saying unusually, because of the history of constant growth in the economy, which had ensured a much more bearable contingent to the pandemic. And I do not mean that the previous government has followed, I mean that the new political structures have had serious and efficient plans in the medium and long term, which did not and will not happen.