October 28, 2004

Decentralization: The relevance of the State Government.

MABB is a registered TM.

This is the beginning of a new series about the decentralization process in Bolivia. In the same way as the corruption series, each article will begin with the word decentralization. This will make it easy to search all the relevant articles, when using the search feature at the top of the page.

One of the ideas I (others before me) have been pondering while I read more about the decentralization process in Bolivia is the relevance of the departmental level of government.

The decentralization process in Bolivia began with the Popular Participation Law (PPL) (Later, I will describe in more detail the whole process). With this law, essentially, Bolivia was divided into 314 municipalities. Each municipality has a government, which receives funds from the central government. This establishes a direct relationship between municipality and government.

In the middle is the departamento (state) government.

Since, the funds flow directly from the government to the municipalities, there is a serious question about the relevance of the departametos level of government. And, the question is: Is this level of government necessary?

Currently, Bolivia is going through yet another phase of crisis. This time it stems from the departamento of Santa Cruz. The main civic organization, Comite Pro Santa Cruz (CPSC), which is composed of hundreds of other civic organizations, has decided to start a period of protests in light of the government's intentions of passing the proposed Hydrocarbons Law. What the CPSC demands is, mainly autonomy for Santa Cruz.

This promises to be an equally tense time as the last crisis. We'll keep an eye on it!