La Paz.- Bolivia’s interim government said that former President Evo Morales spent four times as many on building sports courts as he did on public health and sanitation works, in an attempt to please his supporters for electoral purposes. Acting Presidential Minister Yerko Nunez said Wednesday at a press conference that authorities conducted an audit of Morales’ main social program, called “Bolivia Changes, Evo Meets,” and found that he spent $520 million for $1,029 sports and only $115 million on 239 health works.
Morales’ critics used to attack him for what they considered excessive expenses.
There was a million-dollar dance of state economic resources between 2011 and 2019,” Núñez said.
Much of the work was carried out in Chapare, the cocal region of the center of the country, a political redoubt of the former manifer who lives as a refugee in Argentina.” Bolivia changes, Evo fulfills” was Morales’ star program in his nearly 14 years in power. “Projects were a prebenda,” according to Núñez.The program started in 2006 with an initial fund donated by the then president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, morales’ ally.The program invested, among others, $38 million in the construction of 121 headquarters for trade unions affiliated with the previous government. While in power, Morales was questioned for disputing expenses when the country was going through a bonanza with high commodity prices, but there were no financial reports and the allegations were ignored, says political analyst Carlos Cordero.But now, he said, the interim government’s release “comes out in the midst of the election campaign and that detracts from it’s credibility and weight,” he said. Morales had not spoken out, but his party, the Movement for Socialism (MAS), which is a favorite of the May 3 election, criticized the revelations.” The government is only seeking to smear Morales for electoral purposes. The program financed works at the request of the mayors, that was their purpose, they were not government priorities. It filled the needs of rural villages and the works are in every corner of the country,” said MAS Deputy Juan Cala.” Now they criticize Evo. He’s spent a lot of money, but he was making plays. Now, we’re not seeing works from this government, just criticism,” Margarita Conde, a neighbor ingende renia, in the neighboring city of El Alto, told the Associated Press. With Morales, the country’s living conditions improved, however Bolivia is still the poorest country in South America with 17% of its population living in extreme poverty, according to official data. The former president resigned in November when the police and army withdrew support from him after several weeks of protests over fraud allegations in the October 20 presidential election in which he sought a fourth term. His party is a favorite in the upcoming presidential election with former Economy Minister Luis Arce as a candidate in the face of fragmented opposition including Acting President Jeanine Añez from the right-wing alliance Together.
Maple. / EFE.
Morales aspires to get a seat in Congress, although the election management authority has yet to resolve whether it is eligible to participate in elections.