"El Patrimonio del Gabinete de Evo" (The Heritage of Evo's Cabinet)

"El Patrimonio del Gabinete de Evo" (The Heritage of Evo's Cabinet)

Organisation: EL DEBER newspaper (Bolivia)

Publication Date: 04/10/2016

Size of team/newsroom:small


‘The Heritage of Evo's Cabinet’ is a pioneer initiative in Bolivia that aims to promote the transparency of figures in public management. This work is meant to kick-start a long series of future research of data journalism (as it will be); which is a vital tool for the public accountability in this digital era, the fight against corruption, the strengthening of democracy, the transparency in public management, the following of the taxpayers' money and the participation of the citizenry. How it all began Late in May, in 2015, around 65 journalists, computer programmers, developers, and designers gathered together at the call of La Publica with the support of Hivos and Oxfam. They all worked for five days in the city of La Paz for the 1st Accelerator of Data Journalism in Bolivia; this under the direction of famous data journalist Sandra Crucianelli. At the end of the event, there was some sort of ‘hackathon’ in which eight teams presented their final projects, among which was ‘the Assets of the Cabinet of Evo’ which was one of the three winning projects. ‘How have the assets of the cabinet of Evo Morales developed in the last decade?’ was the question that originated this current research and which is based on the affidavits of goods and income of public workers that is published by the General State Controller in its website. The team, formed by journalist Nelfi Fernandez and developer Willians Chorolque, began the work early in July with the guiding of Sandra Crucianelli. One of the first tasks was to identify all of the 97 people who, as ministers, were part of the Government of Evo Morales. The research covers up 10 years of government; since January 22, 2006 until January 20, 2016. Our objectives -To contribute to the opening of an Open Government to foster citizen participation, to strengthen democracy, and to promote transparency on public administration. -To Show the public the patrimonial behavior of the cabinet of President Evo Morales, from January 22, 2006 until January 20, 2016, through a web site that allows confronting the Affidavits with the economic reality of the declarant at time of the declaration and at the end of the office term. -To promote the dissemination of citizens' right to get the personal information of who, by their own decision and interest, decided to take a place in public management. - To promote the access to information as a way of exercising citizen control over the institutional transparency so that all citizens get to know how their taxes are managed and to participate more actively in the democratic life of the country. -To create a space in which the informed citizenry deliberates whether or not it is for affidavits containing general information from the authorities or of those that reveal, precisely, the economic behavior of officials who manage the country's resources. At the same time, we want to generate the discussion of mechanisms to enforce the law and social control.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

Patiently and effort, with the commitment to contribute to the transparency of Bolivian democracy, the team worked during eight months in this investigation. The result is a magnificent report of the transparency in public management never seen before in Bolivia, one of the few countries in South America wich is not part of the Alliance for the Open Government. This is why Bolivia needs data journalism, committed with the defense of democracy and focused in the society service and people’s interests. What does the site allow us to do? 1. The Heritage of Evo's Cabinet' is hosted in (http://data.eldeber.com.bo) where users can search, compare, and visualize data (Assets, Liabilities, and Net Revenue) by ministers and ministries as well as the days when these officials remained in office and how ministries evolved in the last 10 years of Evo Morales as the president of Bolivia. 2. The application also has a link to the affidavits and income of each minister on the website of the General Comptroller of the State and a copy of the document can be downloaded. 3. Each of the 97 people who passed by the Executive in the last decade has a brief biographical profile, and a brief analysis of their assets, respectively. 4. Users can also observe in graphs the equity performance of 97 people, including those of the president and vice president, who have been part of the cabinet of Evo Morales since January 22, 2006 until January 20, 2016. 5. In order to dispel doubts users may have, there is a subsection of the Frequently-Asked-Questions-and-Answers document. There is also a description of how the research of data journalism has been developed.

Technologies used for this project:

1. General State Comptroller Affidavits of assets and income of the 97 people who make up the cabinet of ministers of Evo Morales in the last 10 years were downloaded. The information downloaded dates from early 2002 until January 20, 2016. 2. Information from 1.032 PDF files was extracted in a sheet in Excel with the assets, liabilities, rent and Revenue. -In order to download the information, we used Python https://www.python.org -To extract the information, we used Tabula http://tabula.technology - To do the analysis of information, we used Google Sheets http://drive.google.com 3. Once all the information was collected, we selected the data, and developed a sheet with the evolution of the ministries of government. 4. We elaborated a summary table containing the time ministers in office, which was the basis for the graph in which users can see the days in office, and the portfolio of State of a particular person. 5. Using the library of HighCharts, we elaborated the graphs for the 97 people under investigation. 6. As a legal backup, it has the supreme decrees of the possessions of each minister and their salaries and increments. 7. A Frequent-Questions-and-Answers document was developed to clarify questions or help better use of the site. 8. While the graphs of each researcher can help users visualize the patrimonial behavior (Assets, Liabilities, Revenue, Net and its variation) of the investigated, an analysis of the assets accompanies them, which will also help understand the time of a person in a particular ministry. 9. To assemble the biographical profile of the 97 people investigated, it was necessary to also use publications by the public press. 10. After downloading, extracting and processing the data, graphics and visualizations were developed. From this, the newspaper reports were prepared. 11. Finally, the design of the site.
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