Published in El Pais, 16 Mayo 2020.
During this COVID-19 pandemic many public officials are taking advantage of their power. I will show two examples for your reflection. The first is to use the FAB planes to carry friends and public officials who cannot walk to birthdays or deliveries of COVID-19 material that may be worth less than the entire trip. The second example is the one of Bolivian travellers who came back from the United States. They were first obliged to go into quarantine for 14 days in a 5-star hotel where a small bottle of water was sold at 15 Bs. A person must consume 2 liter of water and this would cost 60 Bs per day. After BOA, the state airline, publicly accepted that it broke the travel protocols by accepting people with and without COVID-19 to enter the plane, BOA should have paid the extra 7 days of the people who did the test but were obliged by the hotel to pay the stay and consumption. Worse still, on the day they were due to make their trip to the corresponding cities, a public official told them they should take the COVID-19 test at the Foianini clinic where they would pay $ 140. Many did not want to pay because there is a public centre that performs the tests for free but the official indicated that they would not be able to leave the quarantine if they did not have the test from the private clinic despite the referral of patients to private places being prohibited.
Is it normal to choose to hire a 5-star hotel? Is it normal for a public official to force passengers to take the COVID-19 test in a private place? Is it normal for public entities to mistake the protocol and people must pay the consequences? Unfortunately, this happens in Bolivia. In these days of COVID-19 many are taking advantage of their power in corrupt action.