All Markets in Bolivia to Close on Feb. 10

Market stalls throughout the country will be closed on Thursday, 10 February as vendors protest against high prices and what they deem to be unfair competition by government-owned EMAPA stores. Union leaders claim the government has monopolized the sale of certain foods such as sugar, which since the opening of EMAPA, has doubled in price. They state that by contracting with sugar mills to purchase all available sugar produced, for example, the government has effectively made it impossible for other wholesalers and vendors to purchase or sell the product. Over the past three months sugar has become scarce and people have had to wait in line or search in multiple places to find the product. They fear the same will occur with other products which are also becoming scarce, such as corn and cement. The latter is being sold in rations. The unions are demanding the government close EMAPA as they fear it will begin to monopolize the sale of other products as well.

Read more in Spanish

Comments for All Markets in Bolivia to Close on Feb. 10

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 09, 2011
Sugar smuggled to Peru
by: Anonymous

Bolivian smugglers in the altiplano are also to blame. Since sugar costs more in Peru, they smuggle tons of sugar from Bolivia to Peru and sell it for a higher price. Now the Bolivian sugar that the Peruvians have stored up is being re-sold to Bolivia at twice the cost!

I saw a report on TV. A reporter secretly filmed how they smuggle the sugar across the border right under the noses of the police and city guards (they pay the guards Bs. 5 to let them smuggle it).

Feb 09, 2011
EMAPA wasn't supposed to sell sugar
by: Anonymous

EMAPA wasn't established to be a seller. In fact, it was established supposedly to help small farmers improve their production. Then EMAPA started selling sugar, flour, oil and rice. Initially it was selling it at prices lower than in the markets. Then EMAPA increased the price of sugar and the government said they did that because the price of sugar internationally is higher. But that doesn't make any sense. In other countries wages are tens of times higher than in Bolivia. Bolivian salaries have not increased. The national basic wage is still under $100 a month. There's no basis for comparison.

Now people have to get up at 3 or 4 in the morning to go stand in line at the local EMAPA stores to buy one kilo of sugar. This affects the poorest people the most. They work for daily wages and they have to take off from work just to spend hours in line to buy sugar. Sometimes they wait in line and then the EMAPA store opens late and closes early - or doesn't have sugar at all.

Feb 09, 2011
They hid the sugar first
by: Anonymous

The "gremialistas" or market sellers are just as much to blame for the price of sugar going up. When it became evident that there was going to be a sugar shortage the sellers in the markets hid the sugar and said they didn't have any. They would sell only little by little and sold it super expensive saying they only had a little. Right now in the markets in the outlying areas of the city sugar is selling for as high as Bs. 12 a kilo - 3 times what it used to cost just 3 months ago.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Bolivia News 2011.