“With the oil price crisis,” he said, “Latin America’s average growth rate was 3.98 percent, while Bolivia’s average was 4.95 percent.”
“Between 2014 and 2016 we had 4.8-percent economic growth despite the capitalist crisis that occurred with the fall of oil,” he continued. “The biggest problem we had is in international reserves. The most we ever had was in is 2015 with US $15 billion of reserves, which unfortunately fell in 2016. Remember that when we took over, the government reserves were US $1.7 billion. We now have US $10 billion.”
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Morales said the Central Bank of Bolivia is in charge of dealing with the oil crisis.
During his one-hour and 11-minute speech, Morales also spoke about foreign policy, promising investments in the health sector — such as the installation of nuclear health centers to fight cancer — and promised continued investment in road projects and schools.
Meanwhile, opposition Senator Yerko Núñez of the Democratic Unity party, criticized the president’s speech and questioned why Morales did not focus more on Bolivia’s economic crisis.
“There are various crises,” he said. “We were hit by falling oil prices, and though not as much as other countries, it affected us. What will be done about it? That should be the focus of the president’s message.”
Opposition Governor of La Paz Felix Patzi said the fact that the speech did not address “the political instability that exists in Bolivia” should be alarming to people.
“There are political problems that are causing democratic institutions to crumble,” he said. “There are difficulties with respect to basic freedoms, such as free speech, and there is a subjugation of indigenous rights.”