March 08, 2008

The Destabilizing Effects of Inflation

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The effects of inflation are being felt in Bolivia. As you have seen on my last post, inflation is rising and with it, instability and discontent against the government, that is. That is somewhat new in this new political environment when the protests come from what the government considers its bases. Especially, when the prices of food and services rise, people tend to protest. In Bolivia, this is literally the case. Over the past weeks, there have been several marches against the rise in prices. The last one, last Friday (April 7), we say the revival or the re-awakening of the Bolivian Central Worker's Union, the COB. This organization staged a march against the rise in prices in La Paz, Cochabamba, Oruro and Potosi. As in previous times, they blamed the government for it. One of their slogans said: "Evo the people are hungry."

The question is, is this the beginning of a new situation in the political arena? or is it the come back of an old situation on the newest government? I tend to see it as the come back of an old situation. The rise in prices, and with it of the quality of life, together with the revival of the COB, remind me of "good old times" (ironically meant) when the dispute on the streets was about salaries, jobs, and prices.