Cat Call: Bolivian Airline Calls Psychic to Find Missing Cat | Bolivia
A Bolivian airline has called in an “interspecies communicator,” or animal psychic, to find a missing cat after a passenger’s pet went missing in transit.
The incident has raised sharp questions about the performance of many of Bolivia’s state-owned enterprises, a source of contention between the leftist government and its opposition.
Tito’s cat was declared lost by owner Andrea Iturre, who told Bolivian media that the airline called off the search after a week, but agreed to pay his expenses while he continued to look around at the airport in Tarija, Bolivia.
A medium working remotely from La Paz contacted Iturre via WhatsApp and said he felt Tito was still alive. But to this day there is no trace of the missing cat.
The incident sparked ridicule on social media and also sparked fresh criticism of the national airline, known by its Spanish acronym BOA, which was founded in 2007 after the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) came to power.
MAS has ruled Bolivia for nearly a year since 2006, and during that time it has nationalized one company and created dozens of other public companies.
The party’s economic model is defined by its rejection of neoliberal policies of privatization and promotion of the role of the state in the economy.
According to the government, the purpose of SOEs is to generate resources, help finance its social programs and be the engine of the country’s “new economic architecture.”
But the opposition says that they are managing state enterprises for political purposes and wasting state funds.
Bolivia’s state-owned enterprises employ more than 35,000 people, a significant number in a country where the vast majority work in the informal sector.
In total, they are expected to generate about $280 million in 2023, according to the government budget.
But that figure is skewed by state-owned gas company YPFB, which generates three-quarters of all the group’s revenue – natural gas is Bolivia’s number one export – and several others, including the largely-monopoly BOA, the company’s public airline. .
While the rest are smaller, almost all are loss-making or don’t disclose financial information, according to Cedla, a Bolivian think tank.
Sociologist Fernanda Vanderli responded to Sedla’s findings by pointing out that profitability is not the only way to evaluate public companies. Other factors can be taken into account, such as the creation of quality jobs, environmental sustainability and improved social welfare.
In 2022, BOA received two out of five star ratings from Skytrax, the airline rating service. BOA said the investigation was overdue and questioned Skytrax’s objectivity.
Tito’s plight soon became a public issue, Jorge Silva, Deputy Minister of Consumer Affairs: “[The psychic] he talked to Tito and said that he could find out where he was, if he was afraid or hiding or if something more serious happened.
Reactions on social media were mixed. “If the animal shelter really found Tito the cat,” said a Twitter user“I will eat my tweets about the genius behind this idea.”
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