Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Is La Paz Undergoing a "Detroitization"?, The City Suffers, No Juan Gabriel in La Paz

La Razon says that after the disturbances of the past weeks many Businessmen are looking to leave La Paz and El Alto for other regions of the country and abroad. I have heard that there is widespread unease among La Paz' wealthy and middle classes, and that many of them are looking to leave the city as well.

The net effect could be the equivalent of the 'white flight' seen in several US cities in the 60's. In Detroit for example, businesses and city residents fled to the suburbs after rioting by African-Americans in the City. As in Bolivia, a lot of the rage against the white establishment was justified by the overt racism of authorities and the local elites. But, whatever the motives, in the end the result was a disaster for the City and all of its residents. A reduced tax base and a loss of business can only serve to further impoverish the area.

Turning to the topic of more immediate damages, the Chamber of Commerce has estimated that losses due to the recent disturbances at 100 million dollars, losses in the trucking sector alone are reputed to be about $10 million U.S. The paper also says that around 80 businesses ini La Paz/El Alto closed shop leaving 2,400 people unemployed.

Brasil, Argentina, Chile y PerĂº, meanwhile have decided to negotiate alternatives to Bolivian gas, with Peru acting as the supplier. What the article doesn't say is that speculation is that Peru might end up selling its own smaller production and buying cheaper Bolivian gas for its internal consumption and for resale.

In the City itself, City Hall is stuck with a big tab for all the windows and parks trashed by the crowds, including windows at the Palace of Culture. La Paz was also stripped of the venue for the 2006 South American games, which would have brought some welcome revenue to the City and the local merchants.

And, Juan Gabriel, the Mexican singer-songwriter, known as "El Divo de Juarez", has just cancelled his upcoming appearance in La Paz, to the sorrow of middle aged hausfraus from La Paz' wealthier neighborhoods.


A.M. Mora y Leon said...

Boli-Nica, you totally rock. Some of the best blogging in the entire blogosphere. Damn you're good. I have you linked here and there on and more. Email me some time if you are up to it.

ammorayleon at

Boli-Nica said...

Thanks for the compliment!

b/t/w I wish my little blog had 1/10 of the stuff yours does.

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