Republic of Bolivia: Wikis

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Plurinational State of Bolivia
(English)
Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia
(Spanish)
Bulibya Mamallaqta  (Quechua)
Wuliwya Suyu  (Aymara)
Tetã Volívia  (Guaraní)
Flag Coat of arms
Motto"¡La unión es la fuerza!"  (Spanish)
"Unity is the strength!"
AnthemBolivianos, el hado propicio  (Spanish)
Wiphala of Qulla Suyu:
Wiphala of Qulla Suyu
Capital Sucre (constitutional capital)[1]
19°2′S 65°15′W / 19.033°S 65.25°W / -19.033; -65.25

La Paz (seat of government)
16°30′S 68°09′W / 16.5°S 68.15°W / -16.5; -68.15

Largest city Santa Cruz de la Sierra
17°48′S 63°10′W / 17.8°S 63.167°W / -17.8; -63.167
Official language(s) Spanish, and 36 native languages co-officials[2]
Ethnic groups  30% Mestizo, 30% Quechua, 25% Aymara, 15% White[3]
Demonym Bolivian
Government Unitary Presidential republic
 -  President Evo Morales
 -  Vice President Álvaro García
Independence
 -  from Spain August 6, 1825 
Area
 -  Total 1,098,581 km2 (28th)
424,163 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 1.29
Population
 -  2010 Calculation: 10,907,778[5] estimate 9,775,246[4] (84th)
 -  2001 census 8,280,184 
 -  Density 8.9/km2 (210th)
23/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2009 estimate
 -  Total $45.488 Billion[5] 
 -  Per capita $4,345[5] 
GDP (nominal) 2009 estimate
 -  Total $17.549 Billion[5] 
 -  Per capita $2,900[5] 
Gini (2002) 60.1 (high
HDI (2007) 0.729[6] (medium) (113th)
Currency Boliviano (BOB)
Time zone (UTC-4)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .bo
Calling code +591

Coordinates: 16°42′43″S 64°39′58″W / 16.712°S 64.666°W / -16.712; -64.666 Bolivia, officially known as : The Plurinational State of Bolivia,[7][8] is a landlocked country in central South America. It is bordered by Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina to the south, and Chile and Peru to the west.

Prior to European colonization, the Bolivian territory was a part of the Inca Empire, which was the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century. During most of the Spanish colonial period, this territory was called Upper Peru or Charcas and was under the administration of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which included most of Spain's South American colonies. After declaring independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the republic, named for Simón Bolívar, on August 6, 1825. Bolivia has struggled through periods of political instability, dictatorships and economic woes.

Bolivia is a democratic republic, divided into nine departments. Its geography is varied from the peaks of the Andes in the west, to the eastern lowlands, situated within the Amazon Basin. It is a developing country, with a medium Human Development Index score, and a poverty level around 60%. Its main economic activities include agriculture, forestry, and fishing, mining and manufacturing goods such as textiles, clothing, refined metals, and refined petroleum. Bolivia is very wealthy in minerals especially tin.

The Bolivian population, estimated at 9 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, Asians and Africans. The main language spoken is Spanish, although the Aymara and Quechua languages are also common. The large number of different cultures within Bolivia has contributed greatly to a wide diversity in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.

Contents

Etymology

Bolivian Declaration of Independence in the Casa de la Libertad, Sucre.

The word Bolivia is derived from Bolívar, the last name of the famous American Libertador Simón Bolívar. The name came about when Antonio Jose de Sucre was given the option by Bolivar to either keep Upper Peru (present-day Bolivia) under the newly formed Republic of Peru, to unite with the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, or to formally declare its independence from the Viceroyalty of Peru that had dominated most of the region. Sucre opted to create a new nation and, with local support, named it in honor of Simón Bolívar.[9]

However, the original name given to the newly formed country was Republic of Bolívar. The name would not change to Bolivia until some days later when congressman Manuel Martín Cruz proposed: "If from Romulus comes Rome, then from Bolívar comes Bolivia" (Spanish: Si de Rómulo Roma, de Bolívar Bolivia). The name stuck and was approved by the republic on October 3, 1825.

History

Tiwanaku at its largest territorial extent, AD 950

The region that is now known as Bolivia has been constantly occupied for over 2000 years, when the Aymara arrived in the region. Present-day Aymara associate themselves with an advanced civilization situated at Tiwanaku, in Western Bolivia. The capital city of Tiwanaku dates as early as 1500 BC as a small agriculturally based village.[10]

The community grew to urban proportions between AD 600 and AD 800, becoming an important regional power in the southern Andes. According to early estimates, at its maximum extent, the city covered approximately 6.5 square kilometres, and had between 15,000 – 30,000 inhabitants.[11] However, satellite imaging was used recently to map the extent of fossilized suka kollus across the three primary valleys of Tiwanaku, arriving at population-carrying capacity estimates of anywhere between 285,000 and 1,482,000 people.[12]

Around AD 400, Tiwanaku went from being a locally dominant force to a predatory state. Tiwanaku expanded its reaches into the Yungas and brought its culture and way of life to many other cultures in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. However, Tiwanaku was not a violent culture in many aspects. In order to expand its reach Tiwanaku became very political creating colonies, trade agreements (which made the other cultures rather dependant), and state cults.[13]

The empire continued to grow with no end in sight. William H. Isbell states that "Tiahuanaco underwent a dramatic transformation between AD 600 and 700 that established new monumental standards for civic architecture and greatly increased the resident population."[14] Tiwanaku continued to absorb cultures rather than eradicate them. Archaeologists have seen a dramatic adoption of Tiwanaku ceramics in the cultures who became part of the Tiwanaku empire. Tiwanaku gained its power through the trade it implemented between all of the cities within its empire.[13]

The elites gained their status by the surplus of food they gained from all of the regions and then by having the ability to redistribute the food among all the people. This is where the control of llama herds became very significant to Tiwanaku. The llama herds were essential for carrying goods back and forth between the centre and the periphery as well as symbolizing the distance between the commoners and the elites. Their power continued to grow in this manner of a surplus of resources until about AD 950. At this time a dramatic shift in climate occurred.[15]

At this point in time there was a significant drop in precipitation for the Titicaca Basin. Some archaeologists even venture to say that a great drought occurred. As the rain became less and less many of the cities further away from Lake Titicaca began to produce fewer crops to give to the elites. As the surplus of food ran out for the elites their power began to fall. The capital city became the last place of production, due to the resiliency of the raised fields, but in the end even the intelligent design of the fields was no match for the weather. Tiwanaku disappeared around AD 1000 because food production, their main source of power, dried up. The land was not inhabited for many years after that.[15]

Inca expansion (1438–1527)

Between 1438 and 1527, the Incan empire, on a mass expansion, acquired much of what is now western Bolivia. The Incans wouldn't maintain control of the region for long however, as the rapidly expanding Inca Empire was internally weak. As such, the Spanish conquest would be remarkably easy.

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Colonial period

The Spanish conquest began in 1524 and was mostly completed by 1533. The territory now called Bolivia was then known as "Upper Peru" and was under the authority of the Viceroy of Lima. Local government came from the Audiencia de Charcas located in Chuquisaca (La Plata—modern Sucre). Founded in 1545 as a mining town, Potosí soon produced fabulous wealth, becoming largest city in the New World with a population exceeding 150,000 people.[16]

By the late 16th century Bolivian silver was an important source of revenue for the Spanish Empire.[17] A steady stream of natives served as labor force (the Spanish employed the pre-Columbian draft system called the mita).[18] Upper Peru was bounded to Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776. Túpac Katari led the indigenous rebellion that laid siege to La Paz in March of 1781, during which 20,000 people died.[19] As Spanish royal authority weakened during the Napoleonic wars, sentiment against colonial rule grew.

Independence and subsequent wars

The struggle for independence started in 1809, and after 16 years of war the republic was proclaimed on August 6, 1825, named for Simón Bolívar.

In 1836, Bolivia, under the rule of Marshal Andrés de Santa Cruz, invaded Peru to reinstall the deposed president, General Luis José de Orbegoso. Peru and Bolivia formed the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, with de Santa Cruz as the Supreme Protector. Following tension between the Confederation and Chile, Chile declared war on December 28, 1836. Argentina, Chile's ally, declared war on the Confederation on May 9, 1837. The Peruvian-Bolivian forces achieved several major victories during the War of the Confederation: the defeat of the Argentinian expedition and the defeat of the first Chilean expedition on the fields of Paucarpata near the city of Arequipa.

On the same field the Paucarpata Treaty was signed with the unconditional surrender of the Chilean and Peruvian rebel army. The treaty stipulated that Chile withdraw from Peru-Bolivia, return captured Confederate ships, economic relations would be normalized, and the Confederation would pay Peruvian debt to Chile. In Chile public outrage over the treaty forced the government to reject it. Chile organized a second attack on the Confederation and defeated it in the Battle of Yungay. After this defeat, Santa Cruz resigned and went to exile in Ecuador and then Paris, and the Peruvian-Bolivian Confederation was dissolved.

Following the independence of Peru, Peruvian president General Agustín Gamarra invaded Bolivia. The Peruvian army was decisively defeated at the Battle of Ingavi on November 20, 1841, where Gamarra was killed. The Bolivian army under General José Ballivián then mounted a counter-offensive managing to capture the Peruvian port of Arica. Later, both sides signed a peace treaty, the Declaration of Independence of Bolivia, in 1842, putting a final end to the war.

Economic instability and continued wars

A period of political and economic instability in the early to mid-19th century weakened Bolivia. Then in the War of the Pacific (1879–83) against Chile, it lost its access to the sea and the adjoining rich salitre (saltpeter) fields, together with the port of Antofagasta.

Since its independence, Bolivia has lost over half of its territory to neighboring countries in wars. It also lost the state of Acre, in the Acre War; this region was (known for its production of rubber). Peasants and the Bolivian army fought briefly but after a few victories, and facing the prospect of a total war against Brazil, it was forced to sign the Treaty of Petrópolis in 1903, in which Bolivia lost this rich territory.

In the late 19th century, an increase in the world price of gold brought Bolivia relative prosperity and political stability. During the early 20th century, tin replaced gold as the country's most important source of wealth. A succession of governments controlled by the economic and social elite followed laissez-faire capitalist policies through the first thirty years of the 20th century.[citation needed]

Living conditions of the native people, who constitute most of the population, remained deplorable. With work opportunities limited to primitive conditions in the mines and in large estates having nearly feudal status, they had no access to education, economic opportunity, and political participation. Bolivia's defeat by Paraguay in the Chaco War (1932–35), where Bolivia lost a great part of the Gran Chaco region in dispute, marked a turning-point.[20][21][22]

Nationalist Revolutionary Movement

A llama in the Laguna Colorada, a shallow salt lake in the southwestern Bolivian sector of the Altiplano.

The Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (MNR) emerged as a broadly based party. Denied its victory in the 1951 presidential elections, the MNR led a successful revolution in 1952. Under President Víctor Paz Estenssoro, the MNR, having strong popular pressure, introduced universal suffrage into his political platform and carried out a sweeping land-reform promoting rural education and nationalization of the country's largest tin mines.

Twelve years of tumultuous rule left the MNR divided. In 1964, a military junta overthrew President Estenssoro at the outset of his third term. The 1969 death of President René Barrientos Ortuño, a former member of the junta elected president in 1966, led to a succession of weak governments. Alarmed by the rising Popular Assembly and the increase in popularity of The Presidente Juan Jose Torres, the military, the MNR, and others installed Coronel (later General) Hugo Banzer Suárez as president in 1971.

Banzer ruled with MNR support from 1971 to 1974. Then, impatient with schisms in the coalition, he replaced civilians with members of the armed forces and suspended political activities. The economy grew impressively during most of Banzer's presidency, but human rights violations and eventual fiscal crises undercut his support. He was forced to call elections in 1978, and Bolivia again entered a period of political turmoil.

Military governments: García Meza and Siles Zuazo

Elections in 1979 and 1981 were inconclusive and marked by fraud. There were coups d'état, counter-coups, and caretaker governments. In 1980, General Luis García Meza Tejada carried out a ruthless and violent coup d'état that did not have popular support. He pacified the people by promising to remain in power only for one year. (At the end of the year, he staged a televised rally to claim popular support and announced, "Bueno, me quedo," or, "All right; I'll stay [in office]."[23] He was deposed shortly thereafter.) His government was notorious for human-rights-abuses, narcotics-trafficking, and economic mismanagement; during his presidency, the inflation that later crippled the Bolivian economy could already be felt. Later convicted in absentia for various crimes, including murder, García Meza was extradited from Brazil and began serving a 30-year sentence in 1995.

After a military rebellion forced out Meza in 1981, three other military governments in 14 months struggled with Bolivia's growing problems. Unrest forced the military to convoke the Congress elected in 1980 and allow it to choose a new chief executive. In October 1982, Hernán Siles Zuazo again became president, 22 years after the end of his first term of office (1956–60).

Sánchez de Lozada and Banzer: Liberalizing the economy

Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada pursued an aggressive economic and social reform agenda. The most dramatic reform was the "capitalization" program, under which investors, typically foreign, acquired 50% ownership and management control of public enterprises, such as the state oil corporation, telecommunications system, airlines, railroads, and electric utilities, in return for agreed upon capital investments.

The reforms and economic restructuring were strongly opposed by certain segments of society, which instigated frequent and sometimes violent protests, particularly in La Paz and the Chapare coca-growing region, from 1994 through 1996. The de Lozada government pursued a policy of offering monetary compensation for voluntary eradication of illegal coca by its growers in the Chapare region. The policy produced little net reduction in coca, and in the mid-1990s Bolivia accounted for about one-third of the world's coca that was being processed into cocaine. The coca leaf has long been part of the Bolivian culture, as indigenous workers have traditionally used the leaf for its properties as a mild stimulant and appetite suppressant.

During this time, the umbrella labor-organization of Bolivia, the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB), became increasingly unable to effectively challenge government policy. A teachers' strike in 1995 was defeated because the COB could not marshal the support of many of its members, including construction and factory workers. The state also used selective martial law to keep the disruptions caused by the teachers to a minimum. The teachers were led by Trotskyites, and were considered to be the most militant union in the COB. Their downfall was a major blow to the COB, which also became mired in internal corruption and infighting in 1996.

In the 1997 elections, General Hugo Banzer, leader of the Nationalist Democratic Action party (ADN) and former dictator (1971–1978), won 22% of the vote, while the MNR candidate won 18%. General Banzer formed a coalition of the ADN, MIR, UCS, and CONDEPA parties, which held a majority of seats in the Bolivian Congress. The Congress elected him as president, and he was inaugurated on August 6, 1997. During the election-campaign, Banzer had promised to suspend the privatization of the state-owned oil-company, YPFB. But this seemed unlikely to happen, considering Bolivia's weak position globally. The Banzer government basically continued the free-market and privatization-policies of its predecessor.

The relatively robust economic growth of the mid-1990s continued until about the third year of its term in office. After that, regional, global and domestic factors contributed to a decline in economic growth. Financial crises in Argentina and Brazil, lower world prices for export-commodities, and reduced employment in the coca-sector depressed the Bolivian economy. The public also perceived a significant amount of public-sector corruption. These factors contributed to increasing social protests during the second half of Banzer's term.[citation needed]

At the outset of his government, President Banzer launched a policy of using special police-units to physically eradicate the illegal coca of the Chapare region. The policy produced a sudden and dramatic four-year decline in Bolivia's illegal coca-crop, to the point that Bolivia became a relatively small supplier of coca for cocaine. Those left unemployed by coca-eradication streamed into the cities, especially El Alto, the slum-neighborhood of La Paz. The MIR of Jaime Paz Zamora remained a coalition-partner throughout the Banzer government, supporting this policy (called the Dignity Plan).[citation needed]

On August 6, 2001, Banzer resigned from office after being diagnosed with cancer. He died less than a year later. Vice President Jorge Fernando Quiroga Ramírez completed the final year of his term.

In the June 2002 national elections, former President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (MNR) placed first with 22.5% of the vote, followed by coca-advocate and native peasant-leader Evo Morales (Movement Toward Socialism, MAS) with 20.9%. Morales edged out populist candidate Manfred Reyes Villa of the New Republican Force (NFR) by just 700 votes nationwide, earning a spot in the congressional run-off against Sánchez de Lozada on August 4, 2002.

A July agreement between the MNR and the fourth-place MIR, which had again been led in the election by former President Jaime Paz Zamora, virtually ensured the election of Sánchez de Lozada in the congressional run-off, and on August 6 he was sworn in for the second time. The MNR platform featured three overarching objectives: economic reactivation (and job creation), anti-corruption, and social inclusion.

In 2003 the Bolivian gas conflict broke out. On October 12, 2003 the government imposed martial law in El Alto after sixteen people were shot by the police and several dozen wounded in violent clashes which erupted when a caravan of oil trucks escorted by police and soldiers deploying tanks and heavy-caliber machine guns tried to breach a barricade. On 17 October 2003 Evo Morales' supporters from Cochabamba tried to march into Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the largest city of the eastern lowlands where support was strong for the president. They were turned back. Faced with the option of resigning or more bloodshed, Sanchez de Lozada offered his resignation in a letter to an emergency session of Congress. After his resignation was accepted and his vice president, Carlos Mesa, invested, he left on a commercially scheduled flight for the United States.

In March 2004, the new president Carlos Mesa announced that his government would hold a series of rallies around the country, and at its embassies abroad, demanding that Chile return to Bolivia a stretch of seacoast that the country lost in 1884 after the end of the War of the Pacific. Chile has traditionally refused to negotiate on the issue, but Mesa nonetheless made this policy a central point of his administration.

However, the country's internal situation became unfavorable for such political action on the international stage. After a resurgence of gas protests in 2005, Carlos Mesa attempted to resign in January 2005, but his offer was refused by Congress. On March 22, 2005, after weeks of new street protests from organizations accusing Mesa of bowing to U.S. corporate interests, Mesa again offered his resignation to Congress, which was accepted on June 10. The chief justice of the Supreme Court, Eduardo Rodríguez, was sworn as interim president to succeed the outgoing Carlos Mesa.

Plan de Todos

Mobilizing against neoliberalism as a common enemy, the indigenous population of the Andean region was able to achieve widespread government reform [24]. Bolivia, in particular, was quite successful due to the prominence of an indigenous population and the persistence of reformist policies. In 1993, Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada ran for presidency in alliance with the Tupac Katari Revolutionary Liberation Movement, which inspired indigenous-sensitive and multicultural-aware policies [25]. Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (colloquially known as Gonzi) was able to shift Bolivian society by selling state firms and constitutionally acknowledging the existence of a multicultural and multiethnic population. Current development has led to a neoliberal citizenship regime in which civil rights are expressed through private property ownership, formal democracy and representation, and an investment in the maintaining of infrastructure.

In the 1990s, Bolivia introduced, the Plan de Todos, which led to the decentralization of government, introduction of bilingual education, implementation of agrarian legislation, and privatization of state owned businesses. The Plan de Todos main incentive was to encourage popular participation among the Bolivian people. The law recognizes the existence of Barrios and rural communities as Territorially Based Organizations (TBOs) and has oversight boards known as rómiles de agilancia, or vigilance committees, that are responsible for overseeing municipal governments and planning projects. The Plan formally acknowledged the existence of 311 municipalities, which benefited directly based on the size of their populations. The Plan de Todos inspired the development of a market democracy with minimally regulated capitalist economy. The Plan explicitly stated that Bolivian citizens would own a minimum of 51% of enterprises; under the Plan, most state owned enterprises (SOEs), besides mines, were sold [26]. This privatization of SOEs led to innovative neoliberal structuring that acknowledged a diverse population within Bolivia [27].

The Law of Popular Participation [28] gave municipalities the responsibility of maintaining various infrastructures (and offering services): health, education, systems of irrigation, which stripped the responsibility away from the state. The state provides municipalities with twenty percent of federal tax revenue so that each municipality can adequately maintain these infrastructures. The Law also redistributes political power to the local level.

Bolivia under the Morales administration

La Paz skyline. The city is the highest capital in the world.

The 2005 Bolivian presidential election was held on December 18, 2005. The two main candidates were Juan Evo Morales Ayma of the MAS Party and Jorge Quiroga, leader of the Social and Democratic Power (PODEMOS) Party and former head of the Acción Democrática Nacionalista (ADN) Party.

Morales won the election with 53.7% of the votes, an absolute majority, unusual in Bolivian elections. He was sworn in on January 22, 2006, for a five-year term. Prior to his official inauguration in La Paz, he was inaugurated in an Aymara ritual at the archeological site of Tiwanaku before a crowd of thousands of Aymara people and representatives of leftist movements from across Latin America. Though highly symbolic, this ritual was not historically based and primarily represented native Aymaras — not the main Quechua-speaking population. It is worth noting that since the Spanish conquest in the early 16th century, this region of South America -with a majority native population- has been ruled mostly by descendants of European immigrants.

On May 1, 2006, Morales announced his intent to re-nationalize Bolivian hydrocarbon assets. While stating that the initiative would not be an expropriation, Morales sent Bolivian troops to occupy 56 gas installations simultaneously. Troops were also sent to the two Petrobras-owned refineries in Bolivia, which provide over 90% of Bolivia's refining-capacity. A deadline of 180 days was announced, by which all foreign energy firms were required to sign new contracts giving Bolivia majority ownership and as much as 82% of revenues (the latter for the largest natural gas fields). All such firms signed contracts. Reports from the Bolivian government and the companies involved are contradictory as to plans for future investment.

By far the biggest customer for Bolivian hydrocarbons has been Brazil, which imports two-thirds of Bolivia's natural gas via pipelines operated by the semi-private Petrobras. Since gas can only be exported from landlocked Bolivia via Petrobras' large (and expensive) pipelines, the supplier and customer are strongly linked. Petrobras has announced plans to produce enough natural gas by 2011 to replace that now supplied by Bolivia. Bolivia's position is strengthened by the knowledge that hydrocarbon reserves are more highly valued now than at the times of previous nationalizations, and by the pledged support of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.

Fulfilling a campaign promise, Morales opened on August 6, 2006, the Bolivian Constituent Assembly to begin writing a new constitution aimed at giving more power to the indigenous majority.[29] Problems immediately arose when, unable to garner the two-thirds votes needed to include controversial provisions in the constitutional draft, Morales' party announced that only a simple majority would be needed to draft individual articles while two-thirds needed to pass the document in full. Violent protests arose in December 2006 in parts of the country for both two-thirds and departmental autonomy, mostly in the eastern third of the country, where much of the hydrocarbon wealth is located. MAS and its supports believed two-thirds voting rules would give an effective veto for all constitutional changes to the conservative minority.

In August 2007, more conflicts arose in Sucre, as the city demanded the discussion of the seat of government inside the assembly, hoping the executive and legislative branch could return to the city, but assembly and the government said this demand was overwhelmingly impractical and politically undesirable. The conflict turned into violence, and the assembly was moved to a military area in Oruro. Although the main opposition party boycotted the session, a constitutional draft was approved on November 24.

2009 National General Elections

Evo Morales had won a convincing victory, being re-elected with 64.22% of the vote. His party, Movement for Socialism, also won a two-thirds majority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

Geography

Map of Bolivia from The World Factbook

At 1,098,580 square kilometres (424,160 sq mi), Bolivia is the world's 28th-largest country.[30]

Bolivia has been a landlocked nation since 1879, when it lost its coastal department of Litoral to Chile in the War of the Pacific. However, it does have access to the Atlantic via the Paraguay River.

Many ecological zones are represented within Bolivia's territory. The western highlands of the country are situated in the Andes Mountains and include the Bolivian Altiplano. The eastern lowlands include large sections of Amazonian rainforests and the Chaco Plain. The highest peak is Nevado Sajama at 6,542 metres (21,463 ft) located in the Oruro Department. Lake Titicaca is located on the border between Bolivia and Peru. The Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat, lies in the southwest corner of the country, in the department of Potosí.

Major cities are La Paz (administrative capital), Sucre (capital), Santa Cruz de la Sierra (largest population), El Alto, Oruro and Cochabamba.

Departments and provinces

Map of the departments of Bolivia

Bolivia is divided into nine departments (departamentos); capitals in parentheses:

Additionally, the departments are further divided into 100 provinces (provincias), and the provinces are each divided into municipalities (municipios) and cantons (cantones), which handle local affairs.

Climate

The weather in Bolivia can vary drastically from one climatic zone to another. The summer months in Bolivia are November through March. The weather is typically warmer and wetter during these months. April through October, the winter months, are typically colder and drier.

In the highlands, the weather can be very cold and temperatures frequently go below zero at night, especially on the Altiplano. Snow is common in Potosi during the winter months and sometimes also falls on La Paz and Oruro. In contrast, winter in Sucre, Cochabamba and Tarija on the Cordillera Real is a time of blue skies and comfortable temperatures.

The weather in the rainforest is usually very hot and is often very wet. The drier period of the year is May to October. The section of the rainforest that borders the Cordillera Real of the Andes Mountains is a bit cooler, but still very wet. As altitude declines, the temperature rises.

Economy

Bolivia has the lowest GDP per capita in South America. However, the country is rich in natural resources.

Bolivia's 2002 gross domestic product (GDP) totaled USD $7.9 billion. Economic growth is about 2.5% per year, and inflation was expected to be between 3% and 4% in 2002 (it was under 2% in 2001).

Bolivia's current lackluster economic situation can be linked to several factors from the past three decades. The first major blow to the Bolivian economy came with a dramatic fall in the price of tin during the early 1980s, which impacted one of Bolivia's main sources of income and one of its major mining-industries.[31] The second major economic blow came at the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s and early 1990s as economic aid was withdrawn by western countries who had previously tried to keep a market-liberal regime in power through financial support.

Since 1985, the government of Bolivia has implemented a far-reaching program of macroeconomic stabilization and structural reform aimed at maintaining price stability, creating conditions for sustained growth, and alleviating scarcity. A major reform of the customs service in recent years has significantly improved transparency in this area. Parallel legislative reforms have locked into place market-liberal policies, especially in the hydrocarbon and telecommunication sectors, that have encouraged private investment. Foreign investors are accorded national treatment, and foreign ownership of companies enjoys virtually no restrictions in Bolivia.[citation needed]

The Central Bank of Bolivia

Bolivia has the second largest natural gas reserves in South America.[32] The government has a long-term sales-agreement to sell natural gas to Brazil through 2019. The government held a binding referendum in 2005 on the Hydrocarbon Law.

Bolivia is also estimated to have 50%–70% of the world's lithium. The light metal is used to make high-capacity batteries used in electric cars and such. The spinoff effect of lithium mining could cause Bolivia to become the "Saudi Arabia of the Green World," however to mine for it would involve disturbing the country's salt flats (called Salar de Uyuni), an important natural feature which boosts tourism in the region. The government doesn't want to destroy this unique natural landscape, to meet the rising world demand for lithium.[33]

In April 2000, Bechtel signed a contract with Hugo Banzer, the former President of Bolivia, to privatize the water supply in Bolivia's third-largest city, Cochabamba. Shortly thereafter, the company tripled the water rates in that city, an action which resulted in protests and rioting among those who could no longer afford clean water. Drawing water from community wells or gathering rainwater was made illegal.[34][35] Amidst Bolivia's nationwide economic collapse and growing national unrest over the state of the economy, the Bolivian government was forced to withdraw the water contract.

Bolivian exports were $1.3 billion in 2002, from a low of $652 million in 1991. Imports were $1.7 billion in 2002. Bolivian tariffs are a uniformly low 10%, with capital equipment charged only 5%. Bolivia's trade-deficit was $460 million in 2002.

Salt mounds in Salar de Uyuni. Each mound is about a meter high.

Bolivia's trade with neighboring countries is growing, in part because of several regional preferential trade agreements it has negotiated. Bolivia is a member of the Andean Community of Nations and enjoys nominally free trade with other member countries.

The United States remains Bolivia's largest trading partner. In 2002, the United States exported $283 million of merchandise to Bolivia and imported $162 million.

Camino a Samaipata Santa Cruz Bolivia

Agriculture accounts for roughly 15% of Bolivia's GDP. Soybeans are the major cash crop, sold into the Andean Community market.

Bolivia's government remains heavily dependent on foreign assistance to finance development projects. At the end of 2002, the government owed $4.5 billion to its foreign creditors, with $1.6 billion of this amount owed to other governments and most of the balance owed to multilateral development banks. Most payments to other governments have been rescheduled on several occasions since 1987 through the Paris Club mechanism. External creditors have been willing to do this because the Bolivian government has generally achieved the monetary and fiscal targets set by IMF programs since 1987, though economic crises in recent years have undercut Bolivia's normally good record.

Uros people on floating islets in Titicaca. One of the most important tourist attraction in Bolivia

.

The rescheduling of agreements granted by the Paris Club has allowed the individual creditor countries to apply very soft terms to the rescheduled debt. As a result, some countries have forgiven substantial amounts of Bolivia's bilateral debt. The U.S. government reached an agreement at the Paris Club meeting in December 1995 that reduced by 67% Bolivia's existing debt stock. The Bolivian government continues to pay its debts to the multilateral development banks on time. Bolivia is a beneficiary of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and Enhanced HIPC debt relief programs, which by agreement restricts Bolivia's access to new soft loans.

The income from tourism becomes more important. Bolivia's tourist industry has grown gradually since about 1990.

Demographics

People in La Paz city centre
Cristo de la Concordia in Cochabamba, a symbol of Catholic influence in Bolivia

Bolivia's ethnic distribution is estimated to be 30% Quechua-speaking and 25% Aymara-speaking Amerindians. The largest of the approximately three dozen native groups are the Quechuas (2.5 million), Aymaras (2 million), then Chiquitano (180,000), and Guaraní (125,000). So the full Amerindian population is at 55%; the remaining 30% is mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European), and around 15% are whites.[4]

The white population consists mostly of criollos, which in turn consist of families of relatively unmixed Spanish ancestry, descended from the early Spanish colonists. These have formed much of the aristocracy since independence. Other smaller groups within the white population are Germans, who founded the former national airline Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano, as well as Italians, Basques, Croats, Russians, Poles and other minorities, many of whose members descend from families that have lived in Bolivia for several generations. Some 40,000 German-speaking Mennonites live in eastern Bolivia.[36]

Young miners at work in Potosí

The Afro Bolivian community numbers more than 0.5% of the population, descended from African slaves that were transported to work in Brazil and then migrated westward into Bolivia. They are mostly concentrated in the Yungas region (Nor Yungas and Sud Yungas provinces) in the department of La Paz. There are also Japanese who are concentrated mostly in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and Middle Easterners who became prosperous in commerce.

Bolivia is one of the least developed countries in South America. Almost two-thirds of its people, many of whom are subsistence farmers, live in poverty. Population density ranges from less than one person per square kilometer in the southeastern plains to about ten per square kilometer (twenty-five per sq. mi) in the central highlands. As of 2006, the population is increasing about 1.45% per year.[37]

Cities by Population
Rank City Departments Population Rank City Departments Population Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz de la Sierra

La Paz
La Paz
Cochabamba
Cochabamba

1 Santa Cruz Flag of santacruz.svg Santa Cruz 1,451,597 11 Quillacollo Flag of cochabamba.svg Cochabamba 92,747
2 El Alto Flag of lapaz.svg La Paz 858,932 12 Montero Flag of santacruz.svg Santa Cruz 91,952
3 La Paz Flag of lapaz.svg La Paz 835,186 13 Trinidad Flag of beni.svg Beni 87,977
4 Cochabamba Flag of cochabamba.svg Cochabamba 595,226 14 Riberalta Flag of beni.svg Beni 93,624
5 Sucre Flag of chuquisaca.svg Chuquisaca 280,225 15 Tiquipaya Flag of cochabamba.svg Cochabamba 62,940
6 Oruro Flag of oruro.svg Oruro 216,702 16 La Guardia Flag of santacruz.svg Santa Cruz 49,921
7 Tarija Flag of tarija.svg Tarija 176,787 17 Warnes Flag of santacruz.svg Santa Cruz 47,406
8 Potosí Flag of potosi.svg Potosí 150,647 18 Cotoca Flag of santacruz.svg Santa Cruz 45,277
9 Sacaba Flag of cochabamba.svg Cochabamba 134,518 19 Guayaramerín Flag of beni.svg Beni 35,767
10 Yacuíba Flag of tarija.svg Tarija 95,594 20 Cobija Flag of pando.svg Pando 34,498
Source: Projected population for 2007, INE.

Health

Life expectancy at birth was 64 for males in 2006 and 67 for females. [7] A study by UN Development Programme and UNICEF reported that over 230 babies in Bolivia died per day through lack of proper care.[38] The majority of the population has no health insurance.[39] A significant part of the population has no access to healthcare. [39]

Religion

Aymara woman praying

The great majority of Bolivians are Roman Catholic, although Protestant denominations are expanding rapidly.[37] According to a 2001 survey conducted by the National Statistical Institute, 78% of the population is Roman Catholic, 16% is Protestant and 3% follow other religions of Christian origin.[40] Islam practiced by the descendants of Middle Easterners is almost nonexistent. There is also a small Jewish community that is almost all Ashkenazi in origin. The state has no official religion.

There are colonies of Mennonites in the Santa Cruz Department.[41] Many Native communities interweave pre-Columbian and Christian symbols in their worship.

Language

About 80% of the people speak Spanish as their first language, although the Aymara and Quechua languages are also common. Approximately 90% of the children attend primary-school but often for a year or less. Until the 2001 Census the literacy rate was low in many rural areas, but, according to the CIA, the literacy rate was 87% nationwide, similar to Brazil's but below the South American average. Nevertheless in 2008 after the campaign "Yes I can", Bolivia was declared illiteracy-free under the UNESCO standards.[42]

Politics

Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Santa Cruz means 'holy cross'

Bolivia has been governed by democratically elected governments since 1982, when a long string of military coups came to an end. The country had a total of 193 coups d'état from independence until 1981, thereby averaging a change of government once every ten months. Presidents Hernán Siles Zuazo (1982–85) and Víctor Paz Estenssoro (1985–89) began a tradition of ceding power peacefully.

The 1967 constitution, amended in 1994, provides for balanced executive, legislative, and judicial powers. The traditionally strong executive branch tends to overshadow the Congress, whose role is generally limited to debating and approving legislation initiated by the executive. The judiciary, consisting of the Supreme Court and departmental and lower courts, has long been riddled with corruption and inefficiency. Through revisions to the constitution in 1994, and subsequent laws, the government has initiated potentially far-reaching reforms in the judicial system and processes.

Bolivia's nine departments received greater autonomy under the Administrative Decentralization law of 1995. Departmental autonomy further increased with the first popular elections for departmental governors (prefectos) on 18 December 2005, after long protests by pro-autonomy leader department of Santa Cruz.

Bolivian cities and towns are governed by directly elected mayors and councils. Municipal elections were held on 5 December 2004, with councils elected to five year terms. The Popular Participation Law of April 1994, which distributes a significant portion of national revenues to municipalities for discretionary use, has enabled previously neglected communities to make striking improvements in their facilities and services.

The departments of Tarija, Beni, Pando and Santa Cruz are sometimes known as the "half moon" because of the crescent shape of the departments when looked at together in the east of the country. They also have in common conservative politics and rich fossil fuel deposits.

Legislative branch

The government building of the National Congress of Bolivia at the Plaza Murillo in central La Paz

Bolivia's government is a republic. The Asamblea Plurinacional (National Congress) has two chambers. The Cámara de Diputados (Chamber of Deputies) has 130 members elected to five year terms, seventy from single-member districts (circunscripciones) and sixty by proportional representation. The Cámara de Senadores (Chamber of Senators) has twenty-seven members (three per department), elected to five year terms.

Military

An SK-105, the main battle tank of the Bolivian army.

The Bolivian military comprises three branches: an Army, Navy (despite being landlocked) and Air Force. The legal age for voluntary admissions is 18; however, when the numbers are small the government recruits anyone as young as 14.[43] It is estimated that 20% of the Bolivian army is between the ages 14 and 16 while another 20% is from 16 to 18. The tour of duty is generally 12 months. The Bolivian government annually spends $130 million on defense.[44]

Combat units directly under the Army general command

  • RI 1 Colorados(Presidential guard),BTQ-261 Calamus(armour),GRM-221 Tarapaca (mech.),GCM-224 Ingavi (armour cavalry),RAA-236 G.B.B. Rioja (AA regiment),BATCOM-251,Gen.maintenance cen.no1,transport batt. no1.

Special forces command

RI 12 Manchengo (ranger) Montero, RI 16 Jordan (special forces)Riberalta, RI 24 M.Arcos (ranger)Challapata

Army aviation command

Army aviation company 291 (La Paz), army aviation company 292 (Santa Cruz)

Regional

The Bolivian Army has six military regions (regiones militares—RMs) covering the various Departments of Bolivia:

  • RM 1, La Paz, most of La Paz Department,1.Division army,BPM-271 C.L.Savedra (batt.MP),BE-296 CNL R.C.Zabalegui(ecological batt.),BE-297 (ecolog. batt.),BATLOG-1 (long. batt),army aviation company 291 C.L.Cordoba,mili. hospital no1,mili.police school,riding school,enginners school,army military academy CNL G.Villaroel,intelligence school MCAL Sucre,school communications.
  • RM 2, Potosi ,covering the departments of Oruro and Potosi:2.Division army,10.Division army,RI 24 M.Arcos (ranger batt.),ADA-202 (a.a. group), climbing military school.
  • RM 3, Tarija, consisted of Tarija Department and eastern Chuquisaca and sauthern Santa Cruz:3.Division army,4.division army.
  • RM 4, Sucre, covering the departments of Cochabamba and northern Chuquisaca: 7.Division army,BMP-272 (batt.MP),BATLOG-2 (long.Batt),mili.hospital no2,central arsenal,school of command and staff MCAL.A.Santa Cruz,sergeants mili.school,train.center for special troops,artillery school.
  • RM 5, Cobija, encompassed Pando Department and parts of La Paz and Beni departments: 6.Division army,RI 16 Jordan (special forces),train.centar in forest operation (CIOS I) and (CIOS II).
  • RM 6, Santa Cruz, covering most of Santa Cruz Department: 5.Division army,8.Division army,BMP-273 R.Amezaga (batt.MP),BE-298 (ecological batt.),RI 12 Manchego (ranger),BATLOG-3 (longist. batt.),292 army aviation company,Condors sschool Bolivianos (special force).

The army was organized into ten territorial divisions, each of which, with the exception of Viacha, occupied a region generally corresponding to the administrative departments, with some overlapping. Their division headquarters were located in:

  • 7.Cochabamba (the largest):,RI 2 Sucre,RI 18 Vitria (airborne),RI 26 R.Barrientos (mech.),RI 29 CTN:V:Ustariz (airborne),RA 7 Tumusia,Bat.Ing.5 T.N.Ovando
  • 4.Camiri (Santa Cruz Department):,RI 6 Field,RI 11 Boqueron,RC 1 Avaroa,RA 4 Bullian
  • 2.Oruro:RI 21 Illimani(Mountain),RI 22 Mejillones,RI 25 Tocopilla ,RC 8 Braun ,RA 1 Camacho,Bat.Ing. 7 Sajama.
  • 10.Tupiz: RI 3 Perez,RI 4 Loa,RI 27 Antofagasta,RC 7 Chichas (mech.),RA 12 Ayohuma (reserve)
  • 5.Roboré (Santa Cruz Department): RI 13 Montes,RI 14 Florida,RI 15 Junin,RC 6 Castrillo,RA 5 Vergara
  • 9.Rurrenabaque,the Division has been reduced to reserve status and its component units have been divided up between DE-1 and DE-6
  • 8.Santa Cruz: RI 7 Marzana,RI 10 Warnes (mech.),RC 10 G.M.J.M. Market,RA 9 Mitre, (reserve),Bat.Ing. 3 Pando.
  • 6.Trinidad,RI 17 Indepedencia,RI 29 Echevarria,RI 31 Rios,RI 32 Murguia,RC 2 Ballivan,RA 8 Mendez(reserve),Bat.Ing. 6 Riosinho.
  • 1.Viacha (La Paz Department),RI 8 Ayacucho,RI 23 M.Toledo (mech.),RI 30 Murillo (mauntain),RC 5 J.M.Lanza,RA 2 Bolivar,Bat.Ing. 2 G.F.Roman.
  • 3.Villamontes (Tarija Department),RI 5 Capero,RI 20 Padilla,RC 3 Aroma,RA 3 Pisagua,Bat.Ing. 1 Chorolque.

RI: infantry regiment RC: cavalry regiment RA: artillery regiment Bat.Ing.: battalion enginner

Army organized has ten divisions controlling the following units:

Bolivian Snipers Dragunov SVD.
  • eight cavalry regiments, included two mechanized regiments
  • twenty-tree infantry regiments included two airborne and two mauntain
  • one recce.mechanized regiments and one armored regiments
  • two ranger regiments and one special forces regiments
  • six artillery regiments and plus three in reserve
  • one artillery and antiair group
  • one artillery and antiair Regiment
  • three military police battalion
  • three ecological battalion
  • two army aviation company
  • six engineer battalions
  • Plus logistical and instructional support commands
  • Presidential Guard (Colorado) infantry battalion under direct control of the army headquarters in La Paz's Miraflores district

The Army maintains a small fleet of utility aircraft, primarily to support headquarters.

Land Forces Equipment

SK105 Kürassier Tank of Bolivia.
Towed artillery piece before a parade in Cochabamba.
EE-9 Cascavel of Bolivia.
Bolivian army equipment[45]
Tanks 36 SK-105 Kurassiers
Reconnaissance vehicles 24 EE-9 Cascavel
Armoured Personnel Carriers 50 M113 armored personnel carriers with local upgrades], 24 EE-11 Urutu APC,24 M9 Semiorugas APC , 10 Cadillac Gage Commando V-150, 20 Mowag Roland local upgraded (Used |by the military Police)
Artillery pieces and mortar 18 Type 54 122mm howitzers, 6 M101 105mm howitzers, 10 Pack 75mm howitzers, 6 Bofors L/40 M-1935 75mm howitzers. Mortars:

M 120 120mm, M30 107mm mortars, 250 M29 81mm mortars,FM 81mm,W87 81mm, M-224 60mm mortars AA artllery: 16 2x37mm Type 65,80 2x20mm Oerlikon K20,50 MANPAD HN-5 AT weapons:rocket launchers RPG-7,RL 200 66mm M-72A3 LAW,RL 90mm M 20A1,recoilless cannon 90mm M-67,RCL 82mm Type 65/78,RCL 106mm M40A1,40 portable AT missile HJ 8AiB Red Arow

Transport TRANSPORT:DongFeng EQ 2081/2100,FEW C A1122J,Stayer 1491,16 Ford F-750,Unimog 416Dodge M-37 2 1/2 ton trucks, Engesa EE-15 trucks, Engesa EE-25 trucks, FIAT IVECO 619 5 ton trucksTACTICAL TRANSPORT VEHICLES:30 M988 HMMWV,40 Koyak local productionUTILITY TRANSPORT VEHICLES:Ford M151 MUTT jeep,CJ-5,CJ-7,Chrysler jeeep Wrangler,BJ 2020VJ, horses (still used by the Bolivian cavalry units) [45]
Small Arms HANDGUNS: FN-35,glok 17,Ber.mod. 92F,S@M mod.10 all 9mm,M1911A1 11,43 SMG: FMK 3,UZI,MAT 49 all 9mmRifle:Galil AR,M-16A1,M4A1,Steyer AUG A1,SA 80, all 5,56, FN-FAL,SIG-542,SIG_510-4, all 7,62mm,Type and 56–2(ak-47),SNIPER:Dragunov SVD,Mauser mod.86SR,Steyer SSG-69P1AM Rifles:Steyer HS 50 12,7mmMG:M 60,FN-MAG 60–20,SIG MG710-3 all 7,62mm,Type 56 LMGGl:Type 87 35mm,MM −1,m 79,M 203 all 40mmShotguns:Regminton 870 and 11–87.
AS-350B3 Helicopter of Bolivia.

Uniforms

Army officers, NCOs, and enlisted personnel wear generally gray or, for tropical areas, gray-green service uniforms. Army fatigue uniforms were olive green, and combat uniforms were of US woodland pattern camouflage. The standard headgear for enlisted personnel is the beret bearing the national colors of red, yellow and green. Armored troops were distinguished by black berets, and paratroops wore green berets. Special forces wore distinctive camouflage uniforms with red berets.

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[46] Notes
Beechcraft King Air  United States Staff transport Model 90
Model 200
1
1
Cessna 206 Stationair  United States Utility 4
Cessna 421 Golden Eagle  United States Staff transport Cessna 421B 1
CASA C-212 Aviocar  Spain transport 1 Center of instruction of special troops

Navy

Naval Ensign of Bolivia

The Bolivian Naval Force (Fuerza Naval Boliviana in Spanish), formerly Bolivian Navy (Armada Boliviana) is a naval force about 5,000 strong in 2008.[47] Although Bolivia has been landlocked since the War of the Pacific in 1879, Bolivia established a River and Lake Force (Fuerza Fluvial y Lacustre) in January 1963 under the Ministry of National Defense. It consisted of four boats supplied from the United States and 1,800 personnel recruited largely from the army. Bolivia's naval force was renamed the Bolivian Naval Force (Fuerza Naval Boliviana) in January 1966, but it also has been called the Bolivian Navy (Armada Boliviana). It became a separate branch of the armed forces in 1963. Bolivia has large rivers that are tributaries to the Amazon which are patrolled to prevent smuggling and drug trafficking. There is also a Bolivian Naval presence on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, across which runs the Peruvian frontier.

Landlocked Bolivia has not become reconciled with the loss of its coast to Chile, and the Navy exists to keep the hope of recovering its coast alive by cultivating a maritime consciousness.[citation needed] The Bolivian Navy takes part in many parades and government functions, but none more so than the Día Del Mar (Day of the Sea) in which Bolivia, every year, asks for the coast territories lost to Chile during the War of the Pacific (fought between Peru and Bolivia against Chile) from 1879 to 1884. This is still a sore point for Bolivia, influencing many modern day political actions and trade decisions.

Districts

The Navy is organized into ten naval districts, with flotilla headquarters in Guaqui, Guayaramerín, Puerto Suarez, Riberalta, and San Pedro de Tiquina, and bases in Puerto Busch, Puerto Horquilla, Puerto Villarroel, Trinidad, and Rurrenabaque.

Naval vessels included several dozen boats, dozen or more of which are for riverine patrol, including the piranias, and riders, powerful river boats. Also ocean ships including the PR-51- Santa Cruz de la Sierra made in the USA, and several seagoing vessels that navegate the oceans with the Bolivian flag, with the granted permission of the "Capitanias Navales" Naval Registration Office. The Libertador Simón Bolívar, a ship acquired from Venezuela, use to navegate from its home port in Rosario, Argentina on the River Paraná. In 1993, the Navy was formally renamed the Naval Force (Fuerza Naval) and moved with the Bolivian Army under a single military authority.

Most of the officers are often educated in the Naval Academy where they graduate with a BS in Military and Naval Science, diploma accredited by the Military University and then they do other studies at the bachelor’s degree and master’s level. Argentina has their Naval Military Group in Bolivia advising at the highest level in naval strategy and tactics. Many Bolivian officers practice ocean sailing in Argentinean big naval ships. The Bolivian Navy has several Special Forces units to address both internal and external conflicts. La Fuerza Naval Boliviana cubre el extenso territorio fluvial y lacustre boliviano dividiendo sus funciones entre los siguientes Distritos Navales, nótese que los nombres de estas unidades derivan de la cuenca fluvial o región en la que operan: Bolivian Naval Force covers the extensive river and lake Bolivian territory divided between the following functions Naval Districts, note that the names of these units are derived from the basin or region where they operate:

    • DN1 Primer Distrito Naval "BENI"- DN1 First Naval District "BENI"
    • DN2 Segundo Distrito Naval- "MAMORE"- DN2 Second Naval District "MAMORA"
    • DN3 Tercer Distrito Naval "MADERA" -DN3 Third Naval District "WOOD"
    • DN4 Cuarto Distrito Naval "TITICACA" -DN4 Fourth Naval District Titicaca
    • DN5 Quinto Distrito Naval "SANTA CRUZ DE LA SIERRA" -DN5 Fifth Naval District "SANTA CRUZ DE LA SIERRA"
    • DN6 Sexto Distrito Naval "COBIJA" -Sixth Naval District DN6 "Shelter"
Marines of Bolivia marching inCochabamba.
    • Besides the naval aereas:
      • AN 1 "COCHABAMBA"- AN 1 "Cochabamba"
      • AN 2 "SANTA CRUZ"- AN 2 "SANTA CRUZ"
      • AN 3 "BERMEJO" -AN 3 "Red"
      • AN 4 "LA PAZ" -AN 4 "PEACE"
    • And the special units:
      • Fuerza de Tarea "Diablos Azules"- Task Force "Blue Devils"
      • Servicio de Inteligencia Naval – SINDA Naval Intelligence Service – SINDA
      • Grupo de Reacción Inmediata GRIN -Immediate Response Group GRIN
      • El Centro de Instrucción de Buceo en Altura- The Diving Training Center in Height
      • Command Training Center Amphibians
Marine corps
Bolivian Marines above inflatable boats.

The Marine component of the FNB originated with the creation of the Marine Battalion Almirante Grau in the early 1980s.This unit of 600 men is based on Tiquina naval base on Lake Titicaca.Later changes name to Marine Battalion Independence, based in Chua (Not to be confused with the Independence RI17 EB).At present this battalion maintains a similar number of troops including premilitares. Staff of this unit is part of Task Force Blue Devils or are stationed in various naval bases.There are currently seven infantry battalions which are distributed as follows:

  • Primer Distrito Naval "BENI"- First Naval District "BENI"
    • Batallón de Infantería de Marina I "Bagué"- Marine battalion I "Bagué"
  • Segundo Distrito Naval "MAMORE"- Second Naval District "MAMORA"
    • Batallón de Infantería de Marina II "Tocopilla"- Marine Battalion II "Tocopilla"
  • Tercer Distrito Naval "MADERA"- Third Naval District "WOOD"
    • Batallón de Infantería de Marina III "Mejillones"- Marine Battalion III "mussels"
  • Cuarto Distrito Naval "TITICACA"- Fourth Naval District Titicaca
    • Batallón de Infantería de Marina IV "Alianza " -Marine Infantry Battalion IV "Alliance"
    • Batallón de Infantería de Marina Mecanizada VI "Independencia"- Marine Infantry Battalion Mechanized VI "Independence"
  • Quinto Distrito Naval "SANTA CRUZ DE LA SIERRA"- Fifth Naval District "SANTA CRUZ DE LA SIERRA"
    • Batallón de Infantería de Marina V "Calama"- Marine Battalion V Calama
  • Sexto Distrito Naval "COBIJA"- Sixth Naval District "Shelter"
    • Batallón de Infantería de Marina VII "Columna Porvenir"- Marine Battalion VII "Columna Porvenir"
Naval Military Police

This specialty is essentially similar to its counterpart in the Army, carrying out operations such as Important Persons Protection (IPP) Physical Security (SEF) or Patrol Facility (PAT), with additions such as signals or naval protocol.There Naval detachments of PM in all district headquarters or FNB Naval Area.But only have the following units at the Battalion:

  • AN 4 " La Paz "- AN 4 "Peace"
    • Batallón de Policía Militar Naval N° 1- Naval Military Police Battalion No. 1
  • AN 1 "COCHABAMBA"- AN 1 "Cochabamba"
    • Batallón de Policia Militar Naval N° 2 "Carcaje"- Naval Military Police Battalion No. 2 "Quiver"
  • AN 2 "SANTA CRUZ"- AN 2 "SANTA CRUZ"
  • Batallón de Policía Militar Naval N° 3 -Naval Military Police Battalion No. 3
  • Cuarto Distrito Naval "TITICACA"- Fourth Naval District Titicaca
    • Batallón de Policía Militar Naval N° 4- Naval Military Police Battalion No. 4

Strength

Boats

Bolivian Marine carrying a heavy weapon.

The Bolivian Navy has a total of 173 vessels, mostly stationed on Lake Titicaca:

  • PATROL:
  • 1 Class PR-51
  • 6 class boats Cap. Bretel Bretel
  • 4 patrol boats lake
  • 32 Boston Whaler
  • UNITS SALVAGE:
  • 8 Piranha assault boats Mk.1
  • 3 Boats hospitals
  • 2 Transport of hydrocarbons
  • 2 Tanker Ships
  • 1 Transport
  • 1 Ship "Naval School"[citation needed]

Naval aviation

Bolivia's navy operates two utility aircraft for the use of headquarters.

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[46] Notes
Cessna 206 Stationair  United States Utility 206G 1
Cessna 402  United States Utility 402C 1

Air Force

FAB was organized into ? Its nine air bases were located at La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Puerto Suárez, Tarija, Villamontes, Cobija, Riberalta, and Roboré.

Major commands included the following:

  • General Command Systems Department in La Paz, equipped with sophisticated computers. In March 1989, FAB took a major step toward modernizing its force by inaugurating the
  • Group of Security and Defense of Air Installations (Grupo de Seguridad y Defensa de Instalaciones Aéreas—GSDIA); and GADA-91, GADA-92, GADA-93 and GADA-94.
  • Four air brigades with thirteen subordinate air groups.
Two Pilatus PC-7 of the FAB.
    • First Air Brigade (El Alto):
      • Hunting air group 31 "G.J.Market": Fighter squadron 311,Executive squadron 310
      • Transport air group 71 "Gen.W.A.Rojas" (Military airlift TAM):Air squadron 710,Air squadron 711,Air squadron 712
      • Aerophotogrammetry National Service (NSS)
      • Bolivian Air Transport-TAB
      • Task Force "Black devils"
      • Group air defence artilllery GADA-91
In front, a T-34 Pillán, and behind, a C-130 Hercules of the FAB.
    • Second Air Brigade (Cochabamba):
      • Hunting air group 34 "P.R.Cuevas": Aerotactico squadron 340,Link training squadron 341
      • Group air search and rescue 51: Squadron helicopter 511
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-92
    • Third Air Brigade (Santa Cruz):
      • Hunting Air Group 32 "B.B.Rioja": squdron 321,squadron 320,squadron 327 (maintenance)
      • COLMILAV Training squadrons: primary squadron,basic squadron,squadron "NN" (prob.navigation)
      • Air group air reconnaissance and exploration 82(air base Puerto Suarez): 831 squadron
      • Air group 61 "Gen.L.G.Pereiera (air base Puerto Suarez): squadron 610
      • Task force "Red Devils" (air base The Trompillo-Robore)
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-93
    • Fourth Air Brigade:
      • Group air reconnaissance and exploration 82 "Cap.A.V.Peralta" (air base Tarija): squadron 821
      • Air Group 63 "Tcnl.E.L.Rivera" (air base Villamontes): squadron 630
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-94

Units under direct control of the general command of the FAB

      • Tactical air group 62 (air base Riberalta): squadron 620
      • Air group 64: squadron (air base Cobija) 640
      • Transport air group 72 (air base Trinidad) : squadron 720
UH-1H HueyNational Institute of Civil Aeronautics Helicopter.

Civil Aviation

The General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics (Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil—DGAC) formerly part of the FAB, administers a civil aeronautics school called the National Institute of Civil Aeronautics (Instituto Nacional de Aeronáutica Civil—INAC), and two commercial air transport services TAM and TAB.

TAM (Transporte Aéreo Militar)

TAM - Transporte Aéreo Militar (the Bolivian Military Airline) is an airline based in La Paz, Bolivia. It is the civilian wing of the 'Fuerza Aérea Boliviana' (the Bolivian Air Force), operating passenger services to remote towns and communities in the North and Northeast of Bolivia. TAM (aka TAM Group 71) has been a part of the FAB since 1945.

A similar airline serving the Beni Department with small planes is Línea Aérea Amaszonas,[48] using smaller planes than TAM.

TAB (Transportes Aéreos Bolivianos)

Although a civil transport airline, TAB - Transportes Aéreos Bolivianos, was created as a subsidiary company of the FAB in 1977. It is subordinate to the Air Transport Management (Gerencia de Transportes Aéreos) and is headed by an FAB general. TAB, a charter heavy cargo airline, links Bolivia with most countries of the Western Hemisphere; its inventory included a fleet of Hercules C130 aircraft. TAB's Base of operations was headquartered at El Alto, adjacent to La Paz's El Alto International Airport. TAB also flew to Miami and Houston, with stops in Panama.

Culture

Festival time in Sucre

Bolivian culture has been heavily influenced by the Quechua, the Aymara, as well as by the popular cultures of Latin America as a whole.

The cultural development is divided into three distinct periods: precolumbian, colonial, and republican. Important archaeological ruins, gold and silver ornaments, stone monuments, ceramics, and weavings remain from several important pre-Columbian cultures. Major ruins include Tiwanaku, El Fuerte de Samaipata, Incallajta, and Iskanawaya. The country abounds in other sites that are difficult to reach and have seen little archaeological exploration.[37]

The Spanish brought their own tradition of religious art which, in the hands of local native and mestizo builders and artisans, developed into a rich and distinctive style of architecture, painting, and sculpture known as "Mestizo Baroque". The colonial period produced not only the paintings of Pérez de Holguín, Flores, Bitti, and others but also the works of skilled but unknown stonecutters, woodcarvers, goldsmiths, and silversmiths. An important body of Native Baroque religious music of the colonial period was recovered in recent years and has been performed internationally to wide acclaim since 1994.[37]

Bolivian artists of stature in the twentieth century include Guzmán de Rojas, Arturo Borda, María Luisa Pacheco, Roberto Mamani Mamani, Alejandro Mario Yllanes, and Marina Núñez del Prado.

Bolivia has a rich folklore. Its regional folk music is distinctive and varied. The "devil dances" at the annual carnival of Oruro are one of the great folkloric events of South America, as is the lesser known carnival at Tarabuco.[37] The best known of the various festivals found in the country is the "Carnaval de Oruro", which was among the first 19 "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity," as proclaimed by the UNESCO in May 2001.

Entertainment includes football, which is the national sport, as well as table football, which is played on street corners by both children and adults.

Education

Under UNESCO standards, Bolivia has been declared free of illiteracy in 2008.[42]

Bolivia has a wide variety of public and private universities. Among them: Universidad San Francisco Xavier de Chuquisaca USFX – Sucre, founded in 1624; Universidad Mayor de San Andres UMSA – La Paz, founded in 1830; Universidad Mayor de San Simon UMSS – Cochabamba, founded in 1832; Universidad Autonoma Gabriel Rene Moreno UAGRM – Santa Cruz de la Sierra, founded in 1880; Universidad Tecnica de Oruro UTO – Oruro, founded in 1892; Universidad Autónoma Tomás Frías UATF – Potosi, founded in 1892; Universidad Juan Misael Saracho UJMS – Tarija, founded in 1946; Universidad Catolica Boliviana San Pablo UCB, founded in 1966; Universidad Técnica del Beni UTB – Trinidad, founded in 1967; Universidad Nur NUR, founded in 1982; Universidad Privada de Santa Cruz de la Sierra UPSC – Santa Cruz de la Sierra, founded in 1984; Universidad Nacional Siglo XX UNSXX – Llallagua, founded in 1986; Universidad del Valle UNIVALLE -Cochabamba, founded in 1988; Universidad Privada Boliviana UPB, founded in 1993; Universidad Privada Franz Tamayo UPFT, founded in 1993 and Universidad Amazónica de Pando UAP – Cobija, founded in 1993.

For the first time in bolivian history, three indigenous universities were created: Universidad Aymara Tupac Katari UATK – La Paz, founded in 2009; Universidad Quechua Casmiro Huanca UQCH – Cochabamba, founded in 2009 and Universidad Boliviana Guaraní y Pueblos de Tierras Bajas UGPTB – Chuquisaca, founded in 2009.

International rankings

Organization Survey Ranking
Institute for Economics and Peace [1] Global Peace Index[49] 81 out of 144
United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index 113 out of 182
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 120 out of 180
World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 120 out of 133

See also

References

  1. ^ "Artículo 6. I. Sucre es la Capital de Bolivia." (Article 6. I. Sucre is the capital of Bolivia.) Constitution of Bolivia
  2. ^ Bolivian Constitution, Article 5-I: Son idiomas oficiales del Estado el castellano y todos los idiomas de las naciones y pueblos indígena originario campesinos, que son el aymara, araona, baure, bésiro, canichana, cavineño, cayubaba, chácobo, chimán, ese ejja, guaraní, guarasu'we, guarayu, itonama, leco, machajuyai-kallawaya, machineri, maropa, mojeño-trinitario, mojeño-ignaciano, moré, mosetén, movima, pacawara, puquina, quechua, sirionó, tacana, tapieté, toromona, uru-chipaya, weenhayek, yawanawa, yuki , yuracaré y zamuco.
  3. ^ CIA – The World Factbook – Bolivia, accessed on December 21, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Bolivian people
  5. ^ a b c d e "Bolivia". World Gazetteer. http://world-gazetteer.com/wg.php?x=1262904839&men=gpro&lng=en&des=wg&geo=-1048596&srt=npan&col=abcdefghinoq&msz=1500&geo=-38. Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  6. ^ "Human Development Report 2009: Bolivia". The United Nations. http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_BOL.html. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  7. ^ a b http://www.who.int/countries/bol/en/
  8. ^ http://data.un.org/CountryProfile.aspx?crName=Bolivia%20(Plurinational%20State%20of)
  9. ^ http://www.historia-bolivia.com/6-de-Agosto-Independencia-de-Bolivia/6
  10. ^ Fagan, Brian M. 'The Seventy Great Mysteries of the Ancient World: Unlocking the Secrets of Past Civilizations'. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2001.
  11. ^ Kolata, Alan L. 'The Tiwankau: Portrait of an Andean Civilization'. Blackwell Publishers, Cambridge, 1993. p. 145
  12. ^ Kolata, Alan L. Valley of the Spirits: A Journey into the Lost Realm of the Aymara. John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, 1996.
  13. ^ a b McAndrews, Timothy L. et al. 'Regional Settlement Patterns in the Tiwanaku Valley of Bolivia'. Journal of Field Archaeology 24 (1997): 67–83.
  14. ^ Isbell, William H. 'Wari and Tiwanaku: International Identities in the Central Andean Middle Horizon'. 731–751.
  15. ^ a b Kolata, Alan L. 'The Tiwankau: Portrait of an Andean Civilization'. Blackwell Publishers, Cambridge, 1993.
  16. ^ The High Place: Potosi. John Demos.
  17. ^ MSN Encarta, Conquest in the Americas. Archived 2009-10-31.
  18. ^ Bolivia – Ethnic Groups
  19. ^ Rebellions. History Department, Duke University.
  20. ^ Harold Osborne (1954). Bolivia: A Land Divided. London: Royal Institute of International Affairs. 
  21. ^ History World (2004). "History of Bolivia". National Grid for Learning. http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ac11. 
  22. ^ Juan Forero (2006). "History Helps Explain Bolivia's New Boldness". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/07/weekinreview/07forero.html.  (PDF), University of Wisconsin–Madison, Department of Geography
  23. ^ Ireland.com – Astroturfing all the way to No 1
  24. ^ Lucero, José Antonio (Forthcoming). Phil Oxhorn, Kenneth Roberts, and John Burdick. ed. Decades Lost and Won: The Articulations of Indigenous Movements and Multicultural Neoliberalism in theAndes. Beyond Neoliberalism. Palgrave. 
  25. ^ "1994 CIA World FactBook". http://www.umsl.edu/services/govdocs/wofact94/wf950032.txt. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  26. ^ "Historia de la República de Bolivia". http://www.mirabolivia.com/edu/historia.htm. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  27. ^ Kohl, Benjamin. "Restructuring Citizenship in Bolivia: El Plan de Todos.". http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118840742/abstract. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  28. ^ Ströbele, Juliana. [1997 Oct. http://www.latautonomy.org/LeyPP2a.PDF "Ley de Participación Popular y Movimiento Popular en Argentina"] (in Spanish). 1997 Oct. http://www.latautonomy.org/LeyPP2a.PDF. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  29. ^ BBC News – Push for new Bolivia constitution
  30. ^ CIA World Factbook. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2147rank.html.
  31. ^ Crabtree, J.; Buffy, G.; Pearce, J. (1988). "The Great Tin Crash: Bolivia and the World Tin Market". Bulletin of Latin American Research 7 (1): 174–175. doi:10.2307/3338459. 
  32. ^ Anti-Morales protests hit Bolivia
  33. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7607624.stm
  34. ^ Jennifer Hattam, ""Who Owns Water?" Sierra, September 2001, v.86, iss.5, p.16.
  35. ^ PBS Frontline/World "Leasing the Rain", Video, June 2002
  36. ^ Bolivian Reforms Raise Anxiety on Mennonite Frontier. The New York Times. December 21, 2006.
  37. ^ a b c d e "Background Note: Bolivia". United States Department of State. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35751.htm. Retrieved 2006-10-17. 
  38. ^ http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/publisher,AMNESTY,,BOL,46558ec011,0.html
  39. ^ a b http://www.who.int/countryfocus/cooperation_strategy/ccsbrief_bol_en.pdf
  40. ^ Bolivia religion
  41. ^ Sally Bowen (January 1999). "Brazil Wants What Bolivia Has". Latin Trade. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BEK/is_1_7/ai_54759942. Retrieved 2006-10-17. 
  42. ^ a b "Bolivia declares literacy success". BBC News (London). 21 December 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7794293.stm. 
  43. ^ CIA -The World Factbook – Bolivia
  44. ^ "Bolivia Military Profile 2006". 2006. http://indexmundi.com/bolivia/military_profile.html. 
  45. ^ a b http://www.saorbats.com.ar/ORBAT-Bolivia-%20EB.htm
  46. ^ a b "World Military Aircraft Inventory", Aerospace Source Book 2007, Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 15, 2007.
  47. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/28/bolivia
  48. ^ Amaszonas
  49. ^ "Vision of Humanity". Vision of Humanity. http://www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi/home.php. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 

Further reading

  • Buitrago, Miguel A.: Civil Society, Social Protest, and Presidential Breakdowns in Bolivia, in Presidential Breakdowns in Latin America. Causes and Outcomes of Executive Instability in Developing Democracies. Edited by Mariana Llanos and Leiv Marsteintredet. Palgrave/Macmillan 2010.
  • Centellas, Miguel: Electoral Reform, Regional Cleavages, and Party System Stability in Bolivia, in: Journal of Politics in Latin America, Hamburg 2009.
  • Gill, Lesley 1990 “Like a Veil to Cover Them”: Women and the Pentecostal Movement in La Paz. American Ethnologist 17(4): 708–721.
  • Gill, Lesley 2000 Teetering on the Rim: Global Restructuring, Daily Life, and the Armed Retreat of the Bolivian State. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Guillermoprieto, Alma: "Bolivia's new order" National Geographic Magazine July 2008
  • Morales, Waltraud Queiser 1992 Bolivia: Land of Struggle. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

External links

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Simple English

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