Language: Spanish and 36 native languages
Currency: Boliviano (BOB)
Calling Code: +59
Bolivia, officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia (Quechua,
Puliwya Achka Aylluska Mamallaqta; Aymara, WuliwyaALL Suyunakana Marka;
Guaraní, Tetã Hetvoqregua Mborívia), is a sovereign country located in
the west-central region of South America, a member The country is
organized into nine departments and one hundred and twelve provinces.
The constitutional and historical capital is Sucre, which houses the
judiciary, while the seat of Government is the city of La Paz, which
acts as the administrative capital and houses the executive, legislative
and electoral bodies. The most populous city is Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
It is bordered by Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina to the south, and Chile and Peru to the west. It is considered a landlocked state and constitutionally maintains a territorial claim to Chile for a sovereign outlet to the Pacific Ocean. However, it has an enclave in Peru called Bolivia Mar, a beach five kilometers offshore. Its area is the sixth most extensive in Latin America and comprises different geographical spaces such as the Andes mountain range, the Altiplano, the Amazon, the Moxos Plains and the Chaco, being one of the most biodiverse countries in the world.
In its territory, pre-Hispanic civilizations developed such as the Tiahuanaco culture, the hydraulic culture of the Lomas, the Moxeña culture and others that survive to the present day, such as the Aymaras, Urus, Chiquitas, Guarani and others. The Incas conquered the western part of the present Bolivian territory and called it Collasuyo. Subsequently, the Spanish Empire dominated the territory, which was colloquially called as Upper Peru, consisting of the mayors of Charcas, Cochabamba, La Paz, Potosí and Santa Cruz. Until, in 1825, it became independent by initially calling itself the Provinces of Upper Peru, later moving to the Bolivarian Republic and later the Bolivian Republic.
In its current political constitution, Bolivia declared itself a plurinational country in recognition that several nations whose origins predate Spanish colonization coexist on its territory.
During the last census, conducted in 2012, it had a population of nearly 10.1 million inhabitants.Bolivia is a multi-ethnic state, whose population includes people of indigenous, mestizo, European, Asian and African origins.
Spanish is the predominant language, although thirty-six indigenous languages also have official status, among which the most widely spoken are Quechua, Aymara and Guarani.
Bolivia is a middle-income developing country and is among the countries that have had the most economic growth in the South American region in the last decade.It is a founding member of the UN and a member of the IMF, OAS and Unasur. It is in the process of joining Mercosur.
Politically, Bolivia is divided into the following
Beni in the northeast in the Amazon region
Chuquisaca in the central-southern part, in the valley-shaped region between the Altiplano and the lowlands
Cochabamba in central Bolivia
La Paz in the western Altiplano with the eastern part of Lake Titicaca, the north is occupied by the Yungas and lowlands
Oruro in the western highlands
Pando in the northwest, tropical lowland department on the border with Peru and Brazil
Potosí in the southwest, highland department with subtropical valleys in the east
Santa Cruz in the east, largest department in Bolivia with rainforests in the north and savannahs in the south
Tarija in the extreme south on the border with Argentina, moderate altitude and Mediterranean climate
The Altiplano is a plateau in western Bolivia, at an altitude of around 3,500 m - 4,00 m, bordered on the east and west by the two cordilleras of the Andes and crossed by several fertile valleys, the Valles, on the east. It was the traditional center of the indigenous population and offers most of the cities and sights. The region includes the departments of Oruro, Potosí, Cochabamba and La Paz. The latter contains the valleys and mountain slopes between the Altiplano and the Amazon region. This region is called Yungas and is covered by tropical montane rainforest and cloud forest. It is one of the most popular travel destinations among locals.
La Paz · Oruro · Potosí
The Amazon region of Bolivia is located in the north of the country. It is a sparsely populated rainforest area with some agricultural regions. The departments of Beni and Pando lie in this area.
Beni · Pando
The Llanos in southeastern Bolivia are a wide plain characterized by dry and wet forests and are now largely used for agriculture. The industrial and cultural center is the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The departments of Santa Cruz, Tarija and Chuquisaca are located in this region.
Santa Cruz · Tarija · Chuquisaca
1 La Paz – (approx. 1.8 million inhabitants including
the neighboring city of El Alto), is the seat of government and the
largest agglomeration in Bolivia. It is picturesquely located in a
mountain valley in the northeast, overlooked by snow-capped five and six
thousand meter peaks.
2 Sucre (Charcas) - (250,000 inhabitants), the official capital, is located in the central part of the country on the eastern slope of the Andes at about 2800 m above sea level. The relatively green city has many beautiful old baroque buildings, it is also called "ciudad blanca".
3 Santa Cruz de la Sierra – (1.3 million inhabitants) is the second largest city in Bolivia and center of business and industry. The sprawling city has few sights, but an interesting tropical feel.
4 Cochabamba – (630,000 inhabitants), the third largest city, lies on the eastern slope of the Andes at an altitude of around 2500m. Called the ciudad jardín (garden city) because of its many green spaces and its location amidst forested mountains, it is one of the richest cities in Bolivia.
5 Oruro – (pop. 260,000) is an important transportation and mining center. It is known for its carnival and the still-vibrant pre-Columbian traditions; However, there are few sights in the rather modern industrial and mining town.
6 Potosí - (175,000 inhabitants), known as the "City of Silver", the highest city in the world (3,900 m - 4,100 m) and the largest city in southwest Bolivia, has probably the most magnificent colonial center in South America. It is known for the mines in Cerro Rico, where silver and tin are mined.
7 Tarija – (180,000 inhabitants), in the south near the border with Argentina, is known as the most “European” city in Bolivia and an agricultural and administrative metropolis. It is located in a very attractive mountain valley at an altitude of 1,900m and is considered quiet and clean.
Amboró National Park is locate in Santa Cruz Department in Bolivia. Amboró National Park covers an area of 4,425 km² (1,709 sq mi).
Carrasco National Park is located in Cochabamba Department in Bolivia. This national park covers an area of 6,226 sq km.
Chulumani high in the Andes of Bolivia is famous for its deadly Road of the Death that claimed many lives.
Madidi National Park is mostly covered by dense rainforest, open savannah and Amazon river along with its many tributaries.
Noel Kempff National Park is located in Santa Cruz Department in Northeastern Bolivia. This national preserve covers an area of 15,234 sq km.
Rurrenabaque is a small town located on the banks of Beni river in Beni Department in Bolivia. The easiest way to get here is by plane.
Sajama National Park is located in Oruro Department in Bolivia. This national park covers an area of 1,002 sq km.
Ancient ruins of pre Colombian city of Tiahuanaco (Tiwanaku) are located in La Paz Department in Bolivia. First people came here around 1700 BC.
Torotoro National Park is located 140 km south of Cochabamba in Northern Potosí Department in Bolivia. This national park covers an area of 165 sq km.
Tunari National Park is located in the western part of Cochabamba Department in Bolivia. This national reserve covers an area of 3,090 sq km.
German citizens do not need a visa to enter the country and for a tourist stay of up to 90 days per calendar year. Multiple entries and exits are permitted. Upon arrival at the international airports in La Paz, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, an entry stamp with the entry date is usually entered in the passport, but often no expiry date. German tourists are initially granted a residence permit for 30 days, which can be extended twice - for 30 days each - free of charge at the migration authority.
If you want to stay in Bolivia for longer than 30 days and did not have a validity date stamped on your passport upon entry, contact the migration authority Dirección General de Migración to confirm the validity or extend your stay in order to avoid difficulties when leaving the country .
Duty free quantities
450 cigarettes or 500g of tobacco.
3 liters of alcoholic beverages.
There are airports with international connections in La Paz, Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cochabamba. Today Viru Viru Airport in Santa Cruz de la Sierra is the hub of national and international traffic and is also served by flights from Madrid.
As the name suggests, El Alto is very high (more than 4,000m above sea level!). Sensitive people should give preference to Viru Viru in Santa Cruz, which is deeper and therefore has fewer health problems. Viru Viru became increasingly important because of its altitude compared to El Alto, pushing La Paz airport out of first place. However, Santa Cruz is significantly further away from many attractions - such as Lake Titicaca - than La Paz. But there are also good domestic connections to other Bolivian cities from Santa Cruz.
The only direct connection from Europe is offered by Iberia, Air Europa and Boliviana de Aviación from Madrid. Otherwise, São Paulo (to Santa Cruz) or Lima (to Santa Cruz and La Paz) are often suitable as transfer airports.
Bolivia can be reached from other Latin American countries, but usually only once a day or even less often. There are direct connections from Lima, Bogotá, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Asunción, Panama. There are now even regional connections with smaller companies, e.g. B. to Iquique in Chile or Campo Grande in Brazil.
There is currently only one weekly rail connection from Calama (Chile) to Uyuni, operated by FCA and combined with the Expreso del Sur. Coming from Argentina, you can get on the Expreso del Sur heading north (to Oruro) in the border town of Villazón, which is a good alternative to the bus. There is also a train from Yacuiba to Santa Cruz de la Sierra. There is also a train to Santa Cruz from the town of Puerto Suárez on the Brazilian border.
In almost all cases you have to take a bus to the border town and then change after crossing the border, as foreign buses do not go to Bolivia. Booking through to Bolivia from abroad is possible, but less recommended, as poor communication leads to e.g. B. Tickets are simply not accepted. In case of doubt, the price is not more expensive on site.
If you want to travel to and through Bolivia by car, you should have an off-road vehicle if you don't just want to use the main network's asphalted roads. There are still large stretches of the main network that are not yet paved, particularly in the north of the country. Tolls are required for many routes. When entering the country, the car must be registered (require hoja de ruta), which can take two to three days and is therefore best done in advance at the Bolivian embassy in the country of origin.
Border crossings with Chile
The border stations at the border triangle of Peru/Chile/Bolivia in Tripartito and between Visviri (CHI) / Charaña (BOL) (17° 35′ 26″ S 69° 28′ 4″ W), 205km from Arica, are very remote and open only to cars .
The border crossing leads past the Lauca National Park in the mountains on the CH-11 or Bolivian RN4 at the village of Jancoaque.
Pisiga Bolivar (19° 16′ 30″ S 68° 37′ 13″ W)
The Chilean roads on the access to the Bolivian border on the RN-5 (20° 48′ 5″ S 68° 32′ 28″ W) are bad.
Parallel to the Ferrocarril de Antofagasta a Bolivia freight railway line is the crossing on the CH-21 at Ollagüe (CHI) / Estación Avaroa (BOL) (21° 12' 46" S 68° 13' 47" W) at 3700 m.
Border crossings with Peru
For the border crossings at Lake Titicaca, see the section in the Peru country article.
Border crossings with Brazil
In the remote Amazon region the crossings are:
accessible from Rio Branco
342km on the BR-317 at the border triangle of Brazil/Peru/Bolivia.
230km on the BR-317 you can cross one of the two mountain ranges between the Brazilian twins Brasileia /Epitaciolândia and Cobija (11° 1′ 6′′ S 68° 45′ 13′′ W) (BOL).
about Porto Velho (BRA) 330km to Guajará-Mirim / Guayaramerín (10° 46′ 58′′ S 65° 20′ 22′′ W)
Near Costa Marques you can set in Principe da Beira (BRA) over the river. On the Bolivian side, it is only the end point of the RN-9
at Las Petas (BOL) is the La Curicha / San Matías mountain range (16° 23′ 22′′ S 58° 20′ 11′′ W). The next largest Brazilian region is Cáceres (Mato Grosso).
The southernmost campsite is at Puerto Suárez , capital Puerto Quijarro (BOL) and Corumbá Puerto Quijarro can be reached from 650km away from Santa Cruz (BOL) on the RN-4 or by hiking. The nearest Brazilian capital is Campo Grande, 430km away.
Traveling by land in Bolivia is very cheap. Often you
can travel several hundred kilometers for just a few euros. However, you
should bring a lot of time. It sometimes happens that it takes ten hours
to cover 300 kilometers.
Larger airports can only be found in larger cities. Many small towns have airstrips that smaller aircraft often fly to at least once a day. Some of these are grass runways, which unfortunately makes air traffic there extremely dependent on the weather.
Traveling by train is a real experience, but it can also take up a lot of time. A distinction is made between the Ferrobus, a comparatively modern railcar that is the most comfortable and fastest option, but it only runs on the route between Santa Cruz and Quijarro and is about twice as "expensive" as the normal train. The Expreso trains are long-distance trains that stop less often than those called Regional or Mixto, but are still similarly slow and rarely reach over 50km/h. Finally, the Carril bus is a normal bus converted into a railcar that runs on some regional routes - here the focus is more on the "social aspect", as the villages connected in this way have no bus connections and therefore these rail buses are an important means of transport for the population .
The network is divided into a western and an eastern network:
The western network serves the towns on the Altiplano. The route Oruro - Uyuni - Atocha - Tupiza - Villazón is currently in operation (six times a week), which is by far more recommended than the bus route, which leads over very winding, narrow roads. Once a week there is a connecting train to Calama in Chile. Timetables are available on the FCA (Ferrocarril Andino) website.
The eastern network serves the lowlands. The routes served are Santa Cruz de la Sierra - Yacuiba (on the Argentine border) and Santa Cruz - Quijarro (on the Brazilian border). Prices and timetables for the eastern network around Santa Cruz can be found on the Ferroviaria Oriental website.
The bus is the most used means of transport by locals. Buses go back and forth between all cities throughout Bolivia, but they also take time and break down because the road network is sometimes poor. Anyone who is used to a lot of comfort will sometimes have to cut back a bit, as these sometimes have very old seats with relatively poor padding and little space. Buses often don't have toilets, so you should use the few stops and drink little on the journey! There are also enough good buses running between the big cities. If the route is long enough, i.e. over 7-8 hours, there are often only night buses. With normal buses it can be tiring, with semi-cama or cama the comfort can be greatly increased. Real cama buses have 3 seats per row and about 25 seats in total. The price is then twice as high, i.e. around two euros per hour instead of one, but it's worth it if you arrive in the morning feeling reasonably well rested. When traveling at night in the Altiplano, cheaper buses can get cold despite the heating, so travel with warm clothing or a sleeping bag in a small luggage.
During the day, shared taxis are a good alternative to buses. They exist regionally under different names. Sometimes they are minibuses for 7 to 15 passengers, sometimes normal cars. They are slightly faster and more expensive than buses. They leave when they are full. If you want to leave more quickly as a group, you have to pay for the seats that remain vacant. For routes on which only night buses run, it may make sense to take a shared taxi to a place halfway along the route during the day and then take another to reach the actual destination. Locals will be happy to tell you whether this works.
Hitchhiking is not common in Bolivia. The locals do stop trucks, but they charge money for a ride, about half the price of the bus. Sometimes these trucks are the only means of transportation available.
Traveling by car in Bolivia is still an adventure off the main routes between the departmental capitals, as the roads are usually only gravel (although tolls are often required) and are poorly marked. The condition of the roads has generally improved greatly since around 2006; there are now several multi-lane roads and there is now a more modern alternative for the famous “Road of Death” near Coroico. You can rent a car in the big cities, but they are hardly cheaper than in Europe.
The official currency is the “Boliviano”. It is tied
to the US$ with a very narrow fluctuation range at a rate of 0.145.
In Bolivia, civil servants earn their money Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., at least in government and public offices. The usual business hours are Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., some shops are open until 9:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m., but a few are open all night. On Saturdays it is open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or later. Banks and exchange offices open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
It should be noted that there are supermarkets only in the largest cities. In all other areas you still rely on corner shops and, above all, markets. However, a visit to these markets is an experience in itself, as everything imaginable is on offer here. The religious artifacts are particularly curious, e.g. B. Llama fetuses for sacrifice.
The Bolivians eat very spicy food, especially in the
higher areas, but the appropriate spices and sauces are often put on the
table. Warning: they are really spicy!
Popular specialties include picante de pollo (chicken with peppers and rice) and similar dishes with beef, sheep and llama meat. Pique Macho is a mixture of potatoes, beef, sausages and vegetables. Humitas is corn porridge wrapped in corn leaves. Salteñas are filled dumplings similar to Argentine empanadas.
Roughly speaking, there are three types of restaurants: those with an international character and cuisine, where only the rich can afford to eat and which are only available in large cities. In tourist towns there are also restaurants specifically aimed at foreign guests, such as: B. American-style pizzerias and fast food restaurants, which are also rather high in price. Then there are simpler restaurants where mainly locals eat and where regional specialties are offered. These are very cheap and you can often talk to the waiters and make contact with the locals. Thirdly, there are also canteens in all markets. They are unrivaled in terms of price, but are sometimes questionable in terms of hygiene. If you have a sensitive stomach, you shouldn't eat there.
Bolivians love to go out dancing. Every small town has
bars and discos. Karaoke bars in particular are very popular among
Bolivians. Folklore peñas and folklore events are also very common,
where traditional Andean folklore music is played. European-style
“lounges,” on the other hand, can only be found in large cities.
Music of all genres is played in the discos. Even in small villages you can hear hip hop or industrial. However, Latin American music styles such as salsa, merengue, cumbia and cuarteto seem to be the most popular; Latin hip hop is also common.
What takes some getting used to is that many discos in smaller towns don't sell alcohol, but instead have a stand where you can buy lollipops and sweets. Sometimes alcohol (usually just beer) is sold directly on the dance floor from a freezer. The way to dance in a disco is also strange: people generally dance in rows, so you stand in a row and then choose a partner from the opposite row. If you don't find one, you walk in a circle around the rows of dancers and look for a new one. But you shouldn't overdo it with the "hitting on" as the Bolivians in smaller towns are generally more conservative.
In big cities, on the other hand, there is a nightlife that is comparable to European standards, where people dance "normally", i.e. individually. The techno scene is up and coming and, along with Argentina, is one of the best in South America, particularly in Cochabamba, La Paz and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
Overall, hotels, guesthouses and other accommodations
are very cheap and often comfortable in tourist resorts and cities. You
can often find very adventurous accommodation in the countryside, but
you shouldn't let these put you off as the friendliness and the food are
Camping is not very popular in Bolivia. There are very few organized campsites, but free camping is possible on private land, for example. B. from farmers when there is demand, it is usually not a problem. This hospitality should be rewarded with small gifts or some money.
Eight years of compulsory schooling have existed in Bolivia since 1998 and are financed by public and private funds. Good schools are mainly located in large cities such as Sucre, La Paz, Cochabamba or Santa Cruz.
There are a lot of pickpockets in tourist cities. You
should take very good care of your luggage and valuables and never allow
yourself to be distracted by local people on the street, as these are
usually tricks for stealing. You should be particularly careful at bus
or train stations. You should also avoid particularly poor suburbs of
big cities; El Alto near La Paz is particularly notorious.
Money should never be exchanged on the street, but only in exchange offices, as you almost only receive notes and the number of these usually never corresponds to the actual exchange rate. But the changers have long since disappeared by the time you're done counting.
Despite these risks, the crime rate is comparatively low and one of the lowest in all of South America; according to a United Nations study, the murder rate is 2.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, lower than in Switzerland. Armed robberies in particular are very rare.
Since January 2006, Bolivia has been in the Austrian media several times in connection with the kidnapping and murder of two Austrians and other scams by fake police officers. In La Paz, the police are fighting several gangs of fraudsters targeting tourists who work in groups and are extremely clever. One of the nastiest scams is that one of the thieves poses as a tourist looking for a place to visit. After a short conversation, he either offers to share a taxi (which is driven by an accomplice) or a fake police officer joins in as a third party, who identifies himself with a false ID card and pretends to be taking both tourists (the real one and the one) because of a petty crime incorrect) to drive to the station to be checked. Here too, the driver is an accomplice - the robbery, often including emptying the account at the ATM, is not long in coming. In order not to fall for this trick, you have to know that the Bolivian police usually do not control tourists in this way, but rather behave cooperatively. A tip given is to loudly insist on being transported in a patrol car if necessary in order to draw the attention of passers-by, and under no circumstances to get into private cars and taxis that have more people in them than the driver himself.
Medical care is generally very good in large cities.
However, you should have cash available, as billing directly through
your health insurance company or other insurance companies is usually
not possible. In rural areas, medical care is quite poor. Anyone who has
problems with the thin air in the highlands should always carry an
oxygen device with them.
To curb the effects of altitude sickness (e.g. nausea, headaches), drinking a cup of coca tea (mate de coca) helps wonders. It has no intoxicating effects, is very healthy and you can get it on every corner. Otherwise: walk slowly, especially on inclines. If you are sensitive, you should definitely not travel to the plateau by plane, but rather by bus or train and in stages.
The climate is generally subtropical to tropical, but
temperatures and rainfall depend on altitude.
On the Altiplano, the plateau, it is cool all year round with large temperature fluctuations between day and night. During the day it can reach up to 25°C and at night temperatures can reach around freezing point. The rainy season is generally in (southern) summer, but the climate southwest of Potosí is very dry.
The Llanos, the plains of southeastern Bolivia, have a subtropical climate with very hot summers (35°C - 40°C during the day) and mild, spring-like warm winters (20°C - 30°C). Here too, rain usually only falls in summer; it only rains more frequently in winter on the mountain slopes of the Yungas, the transition region to the Altiplano.
Northern Bolivia lies in the tropical Amazon plain. Rain often falls all year round and there are hardly any temperature fluctuations between summer and winter; in all seasons you can expect 25°C - 35°C per day and high humidity. However, it almost never gets hotter.
It is important to be particularly careful when taking
photos. Some locals, especially indigenous people, are still skeptical
about taking photos and can seem quite aggressive towards them. In
tourist cities, taking photos of people is usually not a problem if you
ask first “Puedo sacar una foto de Usted?” Maybe you should have a few
more coins ready. Be careful, however, because you can offend someone
Indians should never be called “Indios” as this is considered as racist as “nigger” in the USA. The term should be banned from the vocabulary and replaced by “Indígenas”, which is not seen as discriminatory. Rural Indians are also simply called “campesinos” (“farmers”).
Overall, Bolivians often dress quite formally and smartly, especially in cities - especially the youth. In the countryside, however, you can often find traditional clothing. Bolivians, like most South Americans, are quite conservative about nudity.
As in many other poor countries in the world, almost
every small village in Bolivia has an Internet café or at least a
telephone booth with a fax machine. For locals, these means of
communication are usually the only way to communicate quickly and easily
with the “outside world”.
Cell phones now work very well in big cities (tri-band!). In the cities, street vendors (yellow vest!) offer calls on their cell phones. This is very cheap and practical, especially for national calls.
The name Bolivia is a derivation of the paternal
surname of the liberator Simón Bolívar. During the viceregal period, as
part of the viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, the upper geographical
area was called Upper Peru. After the proclamation of independence from
the Spanish Empire on August 6, 1825, the Deliberative Assembly approved
on the 11th of the same month the law of awards and honors to the
Liberators, the first article of this law indicated that the new State
would receive the name "Republic of Bolívar". Months later the name was
modified, without a resolution from the Deliberative Assembly, when the
argument proposed by the deputy of Potosí, Presbítero Manuel Martín
Cruz, was accepted, who said the following: "If from Rómulo, Rome ; from
Bolívar, Bolivia." The new Republic officially adopted the name Bolivia
on October 3, 1825.
Bolívar, after being appointed president and protector by the Deliberative Assembly, rejecting the first and assuming the second as supreme manager of the Executive Branch (protector of the Republic), baptized Bolivia as his "Favorite Daughter" and pronounced the following proclamation:
My despair increases when I contemplate the immensity of your prize, because after having exhausted the talents, the virtues, the very genius of the greatest of heroes, I would still be unworthy of deserving the name that you have wanted to give you, mine! I will speak of gratitude, when it will never be able to express even weakly what I experience for your goodness that, like that of God, surpasses all limits! Yes: only God had the power to call that land Bolivia...
What does Bolivia mean? An unbridled love of freedom, that when your rapture received it, did not see anything that was equal to its value. Finding your drunkenness no adequate demonstration of the vehemence of her feelings, she tore away your name, and gave mine to all your generations. This, which is unprecedented in the history of centuries, is even more so in the history of sublime detachments. Such a trait will show to the times that are in the thought of the Eternal, what you longed for the possession of your rights, which is the possession of exercising political virtues, of acquiring luminous talents, and the enjoyment of being men. This trait, I repeat, will prove that you were entitled to obtain the great blessing of Heaven—the Sovereignty of the People—the only legitimate authority of the Nations."
In 2009, a new constitution changed the country's official name to the "Plurinational State of Bolivia" in recognition of the multi-ethnic nature of the country and the enhanced position of Bolivia's indigenous peoples under the new constitution.
In the current Bolivian territory, ancient pre-Columbian cultures such as Tiahuanaco, the Hydraulic Culture of the Lomas and the Inca Empire developed throughout history. Later, the Spanish Empire dominated the territory until the country became independent in 1825, the year after which it adopted the name Bolivia. Having inherited the traditions of colonial miscegenation and pre-Columbian cultures, it is a multiethnic and pluricultural country, rich in the mix of traditions and folklore of mestizo, indigenous, white inhabitants descended from Creoles, Afro-Bolivians, and to a lesser extent, European and American migrants. Asians.
In Bolivia, evidence of human occupation has been
found since 12,000 BC - 10,000 BC in the Viscachani site. Until 1200 BC
sedentary cultures develop in the highlands. From this date on, the
Chiripa and Wankarani cultures are the two most important of the
The Tiwanaku culture, near Lake Titicaca, marks a moment of cultural flowering in the highland area. For the historian and archaeologist Carlos Ponce Sanginés, around 1100 AD the continuous drought of Lake Titicaca leads to a drop in agricultural production that would lead to a bloody civil war that would bring about the dissolution of Tiwanaku and the formation of small regional states that this researcher identifies with the Aymara lordships.
Evidence of settlement patterns in the Tiahuanaco valley, found by the Bolivian archaeologist Jordán Albarracín, would reveal the continuity "Tiwanaku and post-Tiwanaku", later the American Janusek J. W. would reveal ceramic evidence corresponding to the time of the Aymara lordships, with a technique evidently Tiahuanacota ceramics, implying the dissolution of the Tiahuanacota state in Aymara kingdoms, these "Aymara kingdoms" would have inherited the Aymara cultural base of Tiahuanaco, later this ceramics would undergo a transition process to "Aymara-lordships" ceramics.
The Aymara lordships would establish a regional domain that covers parts of southeastern Peru and western Bolivia. Within the lordship organization, the kingdoms stand out: pacajes, collas and lupaqas.
The dominion of the Colla Kingdom of the Aymaras lasted until 1438, when the Inca Pachacutec incorporated the Bolivian highlands into the Tahuantinsuyo.
During later periods, the Incas unsuccessfully attempted to conquer eastern Bolivia (in general, they did not venture much into the jungle that bordered their vast empire), which was inhabited by ethnic groups of Amazonian lineages (some of whom have mixed ancestry of migrants from Oceania) and pampids who were mainly hunter-gatherers, highlighting the Chanés and Guaraníes, derogatorily called "Chiriguanos" by the Incas. In the Inca Empire of Huayna Cápac, fortresses were built to stop the advance of the Chiriguanos.
In the eastern regions of Moxos and Baures, between the 4th centuries BC and XIII AD., the Hydraulic Culture of Las Lomas was developed.
The first European to enter the current territory of
Bolivia was the Portuguese Alejo García in 1520 in the service of the
Crown of Castile, who, after being shipwrecked and stranded on the
southern coast of present-day Brazil, lived with the Guaraní indigenous
people and heard news of barbarian beings dressed in armor roaming the
Andes and about "the White King and the legend of the Sierra de la
Plata", he decided to go on an expedition, he crossed the Chaco and
ascended until he reached Mizque, later he arrived at the Sierra de la
Plata. Plata (Porco), and seized several valuable things, on his return
he was killed after an ambush by Payagua Indians. The first Spaniard who
arrived in these lands was Diego de Almagro, after leaving Cuzco in
order to conquer Chile, he traveled through the Altiplano following the
path of the Inca. With Almagro dead, Francisco Pizarro sent his brother
Gonzalo to conquer the Collasuyo region and, together with 80 Spanish
men and thousands of allied Indians, among them the Aymaras of the
Titicaca area, they faced the Aymara Indians of the southern Altiplano
under command from Tiso Yupanqui in Pocona; Gonzalo, having victory over
them and the alliance of the Aymara of Yupanqui, was directed by a
curaca of the Charcas, also leader of the Yamparas and Cara-Caras,
towards the Puquina-Aymara manor of the Yampara (north of Chuquisaca)
and He offered them to settle there to confront the Ava Guaraníes, this
in mid-1538. Gonzalo Pizarro, after organizing his settlement, was
informed by a cara-cara curaca about the existence of a hill with
minerals in the west. In the Cara-Cara manor, he decided to explore it
and found the current Porco hill. After the exploration, he built his
settlement in the town of Guaya Paccha (near the town of Chuquiochata)
and erected a chapel, this as a demonstration that it was a important
settlement. It was determined that all the regions of the Yamparas would
be called the "Pueblo de los Charcas" or "Province of the Charcas", he
left for Lima to be granted the foundation permit in the area, but,
circumstantially, it was ordered to Pedro Anzúrez de Camporredondo to do
the same, and founded La Plata (current Sucre) on April 16, 1540, in the
town of Chuquiochata.
After the founding of La Plata, the province of Charcas was officially established, to which Potosí joined, which arose after the possession of Cerro Rico in 1545; La Paz was founded in 1548 and Cochabamba in 1571. In 1559 the Spanish court of the Royal Court of Charcas was founded, and its judicial district was initially the territories of the province of Charcas, but later the governorate of Tucumán was incorporated into it. of Moxos (renamed Santa Cruz de la Sierra, founded in 1560 and its homonymous capital in 1561) in 1563 and that of Nueva Andalucía del Río de la Plata in 1566. In 1671 the Royal Court of Buenos Aires was founded, the jurisdiction of this It was the governorship of the Río de la Plata (or Buenos Aires), Paraguay and Tucumán, but this royal court became extinct in 1671, and its judicial district was reintegrated into the Court of Charcas, but the Court of Buenos Aires was reestablished on 1785, having as jurisdiction the territories already mentioned.
The Spanish conquest was characterized by presenting a mining-agricultural base. The city of Potosí, the most populated in America in 1574 (120,000 inhabitants), became a large mining center due to the exploitation of the silver mines of Cerro Rico de Potosí and in 1611 it was the largest producer of silver in the world. King Charles I had granted this city the title of imperial town after its foundation.
Potosí began its decline in the last decades of the 18th century when silver mining remained in a state of stagnation, as a consequence of the depletion of the richest veins, antiquated extraction techniques and the diversion of trade to other countries. With the arrival of the House of Bourbon to the Spanish Crown in 1700, the institution of the Encomienda was deepened to reverse the decline of the mining economy, imposing greater rigor on the work of the mita and the indigenous tribute.
By order of King Carlos III, in 1776 the territories of the governorates of Buenos Aires, Paraguay, Tucumán and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the district of Cuyo (which until then belonged to the Kingdom of Chile) and the province of Charcas, which Until then they were part of the viceroyalty of Peru, they were segregated from this viceroyalty and formed the viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, with its capital in the city of Buenos Aires.
Between 1779 and 1781 there were indigenous uprisings
led by Tomás Katari, Túpac Amaru II and Túpac Katari who opposed the
excessive collection of taxes, the abuses of the mita and the ignorance
of other rights. These uprisings were controlled by the army and guard
of the viceroyalty.
The uprisings of the cities of La Plata (or Charcas, currently Sucre, capital of Bolivia) on May 25, 1809 and La Paz on July 16, 1809 and because of them, they formed their own boards of provisional governments, these uprisings They are part of the Spanish American wars of independence that emerged in both Spain and Latin America after the Napoleonic invasion of Spain in 1808. Both boards were dissolved at the end of 1810, that of La Paz (Junta Tuitiva) by José Manuel de Goyeneche during his military campaign and that of La Plata (Audiencia Governora) by Vicente Nieto. Since 1810, starting with the May Revolution that occurred in the city of Buenos Aires and adopting the provisional government board as the system of government at the headquarters, like the government boards of La Plata and La Paz, it was in support of the King Ferdinand VII (see: Mask of Ferdinand VII). The subsequent uprisings in the towns and cities that make up current Bolivia were in favor of the Junta of Buenos Aires, from 1810 until 1820 three Argentine auxiliary expeditions followed one another, including that of Ignacio Warnes in the province of Santa Cruz de la Sierra; Despite this and the efforts of the regional commands or republiquetas, (the most successful in this sense being the republiqueta of Ayopaya), the royalists tenaciously disputed control until the death of Pedro Antonio Olañeta (named the last post-mortem viceroy of the Río de la Silver).
On July 10, 1825, the founding process of the country began through several sessions and debates by the General Assembly of Deputies of the Provinces of Upper Peru, with two currents existing: the annexationist (union to Peru or Buenos Aires) and the autonomist. On July 28, the discussions on the currents ended, and the vote was taken with three options: annexation to the Government of Buenos Aires, annexation to the Republic of Peru, and absolute independence—the provinces form a republic; The first option did not have any votes, the second option obtained two votes from La Paz deputies, and the last option obtained the majority vote. On August 3, the founding act was already written, although the founding act was planned to be held on the same day, it was decided to take place within three days, this to commemorate the anniversary of Simón Bolívar's victory in the battle of Junín in Peru. On August 6, 1825, the founding act was carried out, officially declaring independence under the name of the State of Upper Peru, after a debate, on August 11 it adopted the name of the Republic of Bolívar, which was changed on October 3 to Republic of Bolivia.
"The world knows that Upper Peru has been, on the American continent, the altar where the first blood of the free was spilled and the land, where the tomb of the last of the tyrants exists... The sovereign representation of the provinces of the Alto Perú, deeply penetrated by the greatness and immense weight of its responsibility towards heaven and earth, in the act of pronouncing the future fate of its clients, stripping itself for the sake of justice of all spirit of partiality, interest and views private; having implored, full of submission and respectful ardor, the paternal assistance of the holy Maker of the world, and calmed in the depths of his conscience by the good faith, detention, justice, moderation and profound meditations that preside over this resolution, declares only in the name and absolute power of their worthy representatives: That the fortunate day has arrived when the unalterable and ardent vows of Upper Peru, to emancipate themselves from the unjust, oppressive, and miserable power of King Ferdinand VII, corroborated with the blood of their children, record with the solemnity and authenticity that at present, and that the degrading condition of the Colony of Spain ceases for this privileged region along with all dependence, both on it and on its current and subsequent monarchs: that consequently, and being at the same time At the same time, interesting to their happiness, they did not associate themselves with any of the neighboring republics, they erected themselves a sovereign State independent of all nations, both of the old and the new world; and the departments of Upper Peru, firm and unanimous in this just and magnanimous resolution, protest to the face of the entire earth, that their irrevocable will is to govern themselves, and to be governed by the constitution, laws and authorities that they themselves given and believed to be more conducive to their future happiness as a nation, and the unalterable support of their holy Catholic religion, and of the sacrosanct rights of honor, life, liberty, property and security."
Jose Mariano Serrano
In 1826, the liberator Simón Bolívar granted the
country the first Constitution, which was approved by the Congress of
Chuquisaca. Subsequently, Antonio José de Sucre, Grand Marshal of
Ayacucho, was elected at the end of the year as president of the
Republic of Bolivia.
General Sucre is the Father of Ayacucho: he is the redeemer of the children of the Sun;
He is the one who has broken the chains with which Pizarro wrapped the empire of the Incas.
Posterity will represent Sucre with one foot in Pichincha and the other in Potosí,
carrying in his hands the cradle of Manco-Capac
and contemplating the chains of Peru broken by his sword.
Since its emancipation, Bolivia plunged into a chronic state of revolutions and civil wars. The first fifty years of the Republic were characterized by political instability and constant external threats that put its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity at risk. In 1825, months before the founding of the country, the governor of the province of Chiquitos, requested Brazilian support from the governor of Mato Grosso, proposing the annexation of the province to the Empire of Brazil. In April 400 Brazilian soldiers occupied Chiquitos, and a letter was sent to Antonio José de Sucre about the annexation; on May 11, Marshal Sucre sent an ultimatum, threatening to send the liberating Army to expel the invaders. The Brazilians withdrew at the end of the month, while the king of Brazil only became aware of the event in August and repudiated the intentions of the governor of Mato Grosso. Subsequently, there was the invasion of Peruvian troops in 1828, led by Agustín Gamarra and whose main objective was to force the departure of the troops from Gran Colombia. The conflict ended with the Treaty of Piquiza and the Peruvian withdrawal from Bolivian soil after achieving the resignation of President Sucre and the establishment of a government without Bolivarian influence.
In 1829, after the end of Colombian influence in
Bolivia, and faced with the threat of anarchy, Congress brought to power
the first indigenous president of Bolivia, Andrés de Santa Cruz, born in
La Paz, and marshal of Zepita (title granted by the Peruvian government,
of whose country he was president of the Government Council between 1826
Santa Cruz swore the provisional Presidency of Bolivia on May 24, 1829; That same day he promulgated an amnesty law and repealed the Lifetime Constitution of 1826. Santa Cruz was the main forger and organizer of the Bolivian State, he promoted a series of reformist measures, pacified the country, reorganized the Bolivian Army, restructured the battered finances and made improvements in the economic and educational field.
Under the Bolivian bonanza, in 1837, the Peru-Bolivian Confederation was formed, which reunified Peru and Bolivia, having Marshal Santa Cruz as its protector (according to a letter from 1829, he already had a clear dream of converting Bolivia in the Macedonia of South America, seeking to reunify the Andean world; in 1829 he had married the Cuzco lady Francisca Cernadas).
The Peru-Bolivian Confederation fails to consolidate because mainly Chile, in addition to the Argentine Confederation and non-majority groups of both Peruvians (in exile and opposed to the project) and Bolivians supported by economic groups from Chuquisaca (a city that posed a rivalry) commercial to La Paz) who intervene, unleashing the War against the Peru-Bolivian Confederation. In the first phase of the war, the Confederation is victorious, forcing the Chilean army to capitulate (see Treaty of Paucarpata), but in the second phase, the Confederate army is defeated in the Battle of Yungay, a situation that defines the dissolution of the Confederation. and the overthrow of Santa Cruz in 1839. On the southern front, the Bolivian army, under the command of General Otto Philipp Braun, defeats the Argentine Confederation in the Battle of Montenegro, achieving its withdrawal.
After the disappearance of the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, Bolivia experienced a period of anarchy and political confrontations between supporters and opponents of the union with Peru. The Peruvian president Agustín Gamarra, ideologist of the annexation of Bolivia to Peru, taking advantage of the situation decided to invade Bolivian territory, occupying several areas of the department of La Paz. Faced with this circumstance, José Ballivián, while in Peru, gathered a small troop of rebels, tried to penetrate Bolivia through La Paz but his enemy Manuel Isidoro Belzu intervened, who confronted Ballivián and ended up winning. Ballivián decided to join Gamarra to invade. Bolivia, but he had to help him defeat Belzu.
With Gamarra and his army in Bolivian territory, José Miguel de Velasco would be summoned to face the situation and was proclaimed by his followers as president and stationed in Cochabamba, Balliviá was proclaimed president by his followers in La Paz, while the legitimate, Mariano Enrique Calvo, was in Sucre. Ballivián was disillusioned by the unfulfilled offers by Gamarra, and decided to seek help to form an army, since he commanded a small, novice and disorganized troop. Velasco, known as the Republican, being an enemy of Ballivián, decides to unite against a common enemy, and cedes his superior and veteran army to Ballivián.
On November 18, 1841, the Battle of Ingavi took place, in which the Bolivian army defeated the Peruvian troops of Gamarra (who died in the battle). After the victory, Bolivia invades Peru, and various fronts of struggle open in southern Peru. The Bolivian Army did not have enough troops to maintain the occupation. In the Battle of Tarapacá, Peruvian Montoneros formed by Major Juan Buendía, defeated on January 7, 1842 the detachment led by Colonel José María García, who died in the confrontation. Thus, the Bolivian troops vacated Tacna, Arica and Tarapacá in February 1842, retreating towards Moquegua and Puno.
The fighting in Motoni and Orurillo expelled and subsequently initiated the withdrawal of the Bolivian forces that occupied Peruvian territory, once again threatening Bolivia with an invasion. After that, the Treaty of Puno was signed.
As happened with the majority of countries that became
independent from Spain, since its founding, Bolivia maintained
territorial disputes with all its neighbors, which implied the
persistence of conflicts that in the case of Chile and Brazil were
settled through war conflicts.
In the case of Chile, diplomatic attempts to resolve territorial disputes resulted in the signing of the treaties of 1866 and 1874, in relation to the Atacama Desert, rich in deposits of sodium nitrates and copper. In them, the 24° parallel of south latitude was adopted as the boundary line between both countries. In addition, various tariff rights and mining concessions were granted to Chilean businessmen in the area. These last provisions gave rise to a subsequent conflict when the Bolivian authorities decided to apply a higher tariff tax for saltpeter extraction to the saltpeter companies with Chilean-British capital. On February 14, 1879, Chile invaded Antofagasta, starting the so-called War of the Pacific in which Bolivia and Peru confronted Chile and whose outcome was the total loss by Bolivia of its coastline, leaving it without sovereign access to the coast ever since. sea. The Bolivian coastline covered around 158,000 km² and included Antofagasta, Mejillones, Cobija and Tocopilla as the main towns. With the treaty of 1904, Bolivia lost all rights to the sea as it was imposed by Chile's dominance of the disputed territory.
With Brazil, there was initially a diplomatic solution with the treaty of 1867. But in 1899 the Acre War took place, the final result of which involved the transfer of 191,000 km² to Brazil through the treaty of 1903.
In the cases of Argentina and Peru, solutions were reached through diplomatic means. Treaties were signed with Argentina in 1898 and 1925, while a definitive boundary treaty was reached with Peru in 1909. According to Bolivian historiography, these treaties involved ceding the territories of Puna de Atacama and Formosa to Argentina and ceding 250,000 to Peru. km² between the Madre de Dios and Purus rivers in the Amazon.
Between 1880 and 1900 the Conservative Party governed,
whose main leaders were Aniceto Arce and Mariano Baptista. During this
period, the Bolivian economy was supported mainly by the silver mining
industry, which had reached international levels of capitalization,
technological development, and efficiency, and whose main exporter was
the Huanchaca Mining Company. Conservative governments confront the
socioeconomic consequences of defeat in the Pacific War, the Acre War
and the Federal War in which they lose political power to the liberals.
The Liberal Party governed during the so-called tin era (1900-1920), a metal that replaced silver as the main source of foreign currency and whose export was the engine of Bolivian economic development for much of the 20th century. Elected governments are those that administer the State and modernize sectors such as railways and finance; They urbanized the cities of La Paz, Cochabamba and Oruro and laid the foundations for the formation of the Bolivian educational system with, for example, the founding of the first Normal de Maestros in Sucre in 1909. The liberals must face the Acre War and the signing of the 1904 Treaty that ends up sealing Bolivia's Mediterranean status. In this period, the so-called "tin barons" exerted great influence, whose outstanding figure was the mining businessman Simón I. Patiño, who became one of the richest men in the world.
In the 1920 elections, the Republicans defeated the liberals and Bolivia moved from a two-party system to a multi-party system. Starting in 1920, the country experienced periods of strong internal social and political tensions. This year the first socialist parties were established and the first agitations caused by European Marxist thought soon occurred. At the same time, the first modern labor and social legislation in the history of Bolivia was developed. The political tension, the economic crisis resulting from the oscillations of the tin market and the government's over-indebtedness, plus the arrival of the Great Depression in 1929 led to the deterioration of the political class and the beginning of the Chaco War.
The Bolivian-Paraguayan border problem centered on the
Chaco Boreal, a lowland area located north of the Pilcomayo River and
west of the Paraguay River, which extends to the Aguaragüé mountain
ranges. Both countries claimed said territory partially or totally.
On September 9, 1932, the Chaco War broke out, officially declared by Paraguay on May 10, 1933, which lasted three years and in which around 65,000 Bolivians and 30,000 Paraguayans died, thus becoming the war conflict. between two nations with the highest casualties in America, only surpassed by the American Civil War. On July 21, 1938, the Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Limits was signed, according to which 75% of the Chaco Boreal region was attributed to Paraguay. The outcome of the war deeply questioned the relevance of national structures and institutions and marked the end of the political party system in force until then.
Between 1935 and 1946, Bolivia was governed by
nationalist soldiers who had been protagonists of the Chaco War. Ideas
for change are beginning to emerge aimed at including the indigenous
sector, promoting the integration of the east of the country and
reversing the profits from mining and hydrocarbons in favor of the
State. Unions of miners and workers emerge and gather around the Central
Obrera Boliviana (COB).
In the presidential elections of 1951, the exiled leader of the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (MNR), Víctor Paz Estenssoro, achieved almost half of the votes cast. However, the political-mining elite tries to prevent the election of Víctor Paz Estenssoro and President Mamerto Urriolagoitia hands over the government to a military junta headed by General Hugo Ballivián. In April 1952, multiple popular uprisings took place that gave rise to the National Revolution, a process of transformations in citizen participation, land distribution, State control over natural resources and the Bolivian economy.
Paz Estenssoro returns from exile to assume the presidency. Under his leadership, the government undertakes a broad program of economic reforms: it decrees the nationalization of the mines and the monopoly on the export of tin, the agrarian reform (parceling of land to distribute among the indigenous people), the prospecting for oil wells by foreign companies. , the institution of universal suffrage (it did not exist until that time), the educational reform and the road link with the east (Cochabamba-Santa Cruz highway).
At the end of the 1950s, the Bolivian economy suffered from the continuous decline in tin prices in world markets and high inflation rates. Tin mines are unprofitable, and government efforts to reduce the number of state employees and restrict wages are met with resistance from unions. In 1956, another protagonist of the National Revolution, Hernán Siles Zuazo, won the presidential elections.
Siles continued the policy initiated by the government of Paz Estenssoro, who was elected president again in 1960. In his second term, Paz Estenssoro requested the drafting of a new Constitution to increase the economic authority of the government and allow the re-election of he. In 1964 he was re-elected, naming the head of the Air Force, René Barrientos Ortuño, as vice president. This event ends up disintegrating the MNR and Paz Estenssoro is overthrown a month after his re-election as a result of an uprising led by miners and students. A military junta headed by its vice president, General René Barrientos, took over power.
The military government of René Barrientos carries out
economic development policies that allow the return of foreign
investment to the tin mining industry. In 1966, Barrientos submitted to
the vote as a civilian, obtaining his election as president. During his
administration he maintained an alliance with the military and peasants,
but confronted the miners and workers. In 1967 a new Constitution was
promulgated. That same year, the Ñancahuazú Guerrilla led by Ernesto Che
Guevara broke out and was defeated by the Bolivian Army.
After Barrientos' death in a helicopter accident in 1969, a series of short-lived governments followed, most of them military, with the left-wing government of Juan José Torrez standing out, who resumed relations with Cuba and Chile (then with the left-wing president Salvador Allende). He tried to create a co-government with the Bolivian Workers' Central. He expelled some United States organizations from Bolivia. On August 21, 1971, Colonel Hugo Banzer Suárez leads a coup that overthrows Juan José Torres.
Banzer's dictatorial regime is aligned with the anti-leftist current of the military governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, forming part of the Condor Plan. The labor movement is suppressed and the civil rights of the population are suspended. The de facto government is supported economically by the high prices of tin and hydrocarbons, as well as by high external debt. In 1978, Bánzer resigned after a long hunger strike initiated by women miners who led and participated in social organizations.
On July 17, 1980, General Luis García Meza carried out a coup d'état with the support of paramilitaries recruited by the Nazi criminal Klaus Barbie and the Italian terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie, overthrowing the interim constitutional president Lidia Gueiler Tejada, and thus preventing that the winner of the elections Hernán Siles Zuazo assumes the presidency.
García Meza's government was characterized by brutal repression of his opponents, recording arrests, murders and forced disappearances directed by the Ministry of the Interior led by Luis Arce Gómez. The lack of support from the population and the international community, as well as evidence of links to drug trafficking, led to the de facto government's end in 1981. In 1982, the last military junta left power.
The 1980s were characterized by the return of
democracy and a deep economic crisis caused by the fall in international
tin prices, internal adjustments intended to pay the immense external
debt contracted under military governments, and hyperinflation. The
difficult economic situation contributed to the rise of drug trafficking
due to the illegal production of cocaine. The Government of Hernán Siles
Zuazo of the UDP (1982-1985) was characterized by weak economic
management unable to reverse hyperinflation and by a political crisis
whose solution was the early elections. In 1985, Víctor Paz Estenssoro
of the MNR was elected president for the fourth time. His government
(1985-1989) managed to stabilize the macroeconomy after promoting
certain neoliberal policies that partially replaced the statist model
initiated with the national revolution of 1952.
During the 1990s, successive governments continued macroeconomic stabilization policies, implementing a planned economy—according to the political position of the leaders in transition—and the fight against drug trafficking. The governments of Jaime Paz Zamora of the MIR (1989-1993), Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada of the MNR (1993-1997), Hugo Bánzer Suárez of ADN (1997-2001) and Jorge Quiroga Ramírez (2001-2002) focused on diversifying the Bolivian economy highly dependent on tin exports. For this purpose and, taking into account the quasi-bankruptcy of the economy after the hyperinflationary process of the 1980s, external financing was substantially increased with international organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank and the state hydrocarbons, railways and railway companies were privatized. , telecommunications, electricity, air transportation, among others. At the end of the 1990s, the export of gas to Brazil was completed, as well as the construction of the export gas pipeline to that country, and the economy began to diversify through exports of natural gas, soybeans and zinc. Likewise, state management was decentralized through the Popular Participation Law, which granted autonomy and resources to the municipalities. Factors such as high rates of corruption, insufficient social inclusion measures and economic deterioration due to the contagion of the Asian crisis ended up weakening the political system.
The first decade of the 21st century was characterized by a strong economic crisis and political instability. This allowed the emergence of social movements, mainly peasants, indigenous people, miners, informal traders and coca growers. The second term of Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada of the MNR (2002-2003) ended prematurely after the so-called gas war. His vice president, Carlos Mesa Gisbert (2003-2005), assumed the presidency without support in Congress and with political pressure from social movements and the emerging autonomist movement that emerged in Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Tarija, so he resigned from the position. . Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé (2005-2006) assumed an interim term in which he called general elections that gave Evo Morales Ayma of the Movement to Socialism as the winner.
Morales' first term began on January 22, 2006, which
was characterized by the implementation of left-wing nationalist and
indigenous policies: on May 1 of that year, he announced his intention
to nationalize Bolivian hydrocarbon assets after Due to the protests
that demanded this process, the electricity and communications companies
that had been privatized in the last decade were also nationalized. In
August 2006, a Constituent Assembly was installed to draft a new
constitution. After a deep political crisis that polarized the country
between supporters of the Government (located mainly in the west of the
country) and followers of the demand for departmental autonomy and
capital for Sucre (located mainly in eastern Bolivia), the Plurinational
Constitution was approved by 164 of the 255 constituents and was
subsequently modified by Congress and endorsed by the population in a
At the end of 2009, Evo Morales was re-elected president with more than two-thirds legislative majority. His second term was characterized by solid growth in the Bolivian economy driven by the so-called commodity super cycle, the deepening of statist policies and subsidy programs, and the first ruptures with political allies as a result of social conflicts such as the one related to the construction of the highway through the TIPNIS national park. In 2014, Evo Morales was again re-elected for a third term. This new presidential period was characterized by the continuity of public investment policies and incentives for domestic demand, the slowdown of the economy due to the fall in export prices of raw materials and the drastic reduction in the volumes of natural gas exported to Brazil and Argentina. Morales' presidency was recognized for having reduced poverty levels, recorded unprecedented economic growth and promoted the inclusion of the indigenous population. On the contrary, it increased levels of corruption, lowered the democratic level and had a deterioration in independence judicial.
The results of the general elections of October 20,
2019 caused a political crisis, exacerbated after the complaint of fraud
by the opposition candidate Carlos Mesa and different civil
organizations such as the Pro Santa Cruz Civic Committee. To dispel the
complaints of fraud, the Morales government agreed with the OAS to carry
out a binding audit, which in its preliminary publication dated November
10, 2019, concluded that the electoral process had been at odds with
good practices and that the irregularities observed prevented give
certainty of the results. After the report was published and the
irregularities in the election were confirmed, Evo Morales announced the
renewal of all the members of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and the
call for new national elections. That same day, Following the request
for resignation from the Bolivian Workers' Central and the Armed Forces,
Morales, Vice President Álvaro García Linera and Senate President
Adriana Salvatierra resigned from their positions and accepted the offer
of political asylum from the Mexican government after considering that
the Morales' life and physical integrity were at risk.
On November 12, an ordinary session was convened chaired by the then second vice president of the Senate Jeanine Áñez Chávez, due to the lack of quorum, the corresponding action was taken, which was to resort to succeeding the presidency of the Senate. senators with the powers of succession granted by article 40 of the General Regulations of the Chamber of Senators, which establishes the replacement of the president and the first vice president of the senate; At the end of the session, the following session was prepared where the abandonment of the president and vice president of the State was ratified, as a result the presidential succession was activated, and through the presidential succession process protected by articles 169 and 170 of the Constitution, in compliance with Constitutional Declaration 0003/01 of July 31, 2001, Jeanine Añez assumed the presidency of the State. Subsequently, her assumption was validated by the Plurinational Constitutional Court, given the power vacuum caused by the resignations of Morales, Linera and the presidents of both legislative chambers. On November 24, the Plurinational Legislative Assembly approved Law No. 1266 on the Exceptional and Transitory Regime for the Conduct of General Elections, which left the general elections of October 20, 2019 and their results without legal effect, ordered the election of new members of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and called for new general elections for 2020. In January 2020, this same Assembly approved Law No. 1270 on the Extension of the Constitutional Mandate of Elected Authorities, in which the constitutional mandate of President Áñez and the assembly members who exercised functions according to the mandate of the 2014 general elections.
Among the repressive events that resulted from this crisis, the Sacaba and Senkata massacres stand out, classified as such by the IACHR. In August 2021, a report commissioned by the OAS and conducted by independent human rights experts concluded that the Añez government's path to power was accompanied by "irregularities" and serious human rights abuses by security forces. . In 2020, Bolivia went through a deep social and economic crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a political dispute between the Áñez government and supporters of Morales, in which general elections were demanded, which were postponed. on two occasions due to the health contingency. On October 18, 2020, Luis Arce triumphed in the first round in the general elections with 55.11% of the votes, against his rivals Carlos Mesa and Luis Fernando Camacho.
On March 12, 2021, the Bolivian Prosecutor's Office ordered the arrest of Jeanine Áñez and several of her ministers accused of the crimes of sedition, terrorism and conspiracy, due to their participation in the events of 2019, which the institution described as " coup".
Bolivia is located in the central area of South
America, between the meridians 57° 26' and 69° 38' of western longitude
of the Greenwich meridian and the ninth parallels 38' and 22° 53' of
southern latitude, therefore it covers more of 13° geographical. Its
1,098,581 km² surface extends from the Central Andes, passing through
part of the Chaco to the Amazon. The geographical center of the country
is located in the Puerto Estrella area on the Rio Grande in the province
of Ñuflo de Chaves, located in the department of Santa Cruz,
The geographical location of the country allows it to encompass a wide variety of landforms and climates. Bolivia has one of the most important forest areas in the world, with more than 36 million hectares of primary forest, according to data from 2015. There is a wide biodiversity (considered among the largest in the world), as well as different ecoregions and ecological subunits such as the Altiplano, the Amazonian plain, the dry valleys, the Yungas and the Chiquitano mountain ranges that are framed in diverse altitudinal variations ranging from 6542 m above sea level. n. m. of Nevado Sajama up to 70 m above sea level. n. m. near the Paraguay River. Despite the variety of geographical contrasts, Bolivia lacks ocean coasts (a condition acquired after the Pacific War).
Bolivia can be divided into three physiographic
Andean region in the southwest
It covers 28% of the national territory with an area of 307,603 km². This area is located at more than 3000 m above sea level. n. m., located between the two great Andean branches: the Western and Eastern or Royal mountain ranges, which present some of the highest peaks in America such as Nevado Sajama with 6542 m. n. m. and the Illimani with 6462 m above sea level. n. m. Here is Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world located at 3810 m above sea level. n. m., with an area of 8100 km² and shared with Peru. Also located in the high plateau is the Uyuni salt flat, which is the largest salt deposit and lithium reservoir in the world.
Subandean region in the south-central
Intermediate region between the high plateau and the eastern plains that covers 13% of the territory (142,815 km²), and includes the valleys and the yungas (2,500 meters above sea level). It is characterized by its agricultural activity and its temperate to warm climate (15 to 25 °C). This region includes the Bolivian valleys and Los Yungas.
Plains region in the northeast
It covers 59% of the national surface with an area of 648,163 km² and is located north of the Eastern or Royal mountain range, which extends from the foot of the Andes to the Paraguay River. It is a land of plains and low plateaus, covered by extensive jungles rich in flora and fauna. The region is characterized by being at an altitude of less than 400 m above sea level. n. m., have extensive rivers and the greatest biodiversity in the country. It registers an average annual temperature of 22 to 25 °C.
Bolivia has three basins that collect the waters that
flow into the slopes of the Atlantic (exorheic), the Altiplano
(endorrheic) and, to a lesser extent, the Pacific, as is the case of the
Silala River, whose waters are in dispute with Chile.
Amazon or Northern Basin
724,000 km² / 66% of the territory. The rivers in this basin generally have abundant and meandering flows, which is why multiple lakes and lagoons tend to form, such as the Murillo lagoon, located in the department of Pando. The main Bolivian tributary is the Mamoré River with a length of 2000 km, which runs north to the confluence with the Beni River, 1113 km long, the second most important river in the country, with which it forms the Madera or Madeira River, the main one. tributary of the Amazon River. From east to west it is made up of other important rivers such as Madre de Dios, Orthon, Abuná, Yata and Iténez or Guaporé. For their part, the most important lakes and lagoons are Rogaguado and Rogagua. The average annual precipitation in this part of the territory is 1814 mm/year.
Plata or Southern Basin
229,500 km² / 21% of the territory. The tributaries are generally less powerful than the Amazon ones. Composed mainly of the Paraguay, Pilcomayo and Bermejo rivers. The most important lagoons are: Uberaba and Mandioré located in the Bolivian Pantanal region. The average annual precipitation in this part of the territory is 854 mm/year.
Lake or Central Basin
145,081 km² / 13% of the territory. The Altiplano has a large number of rivers, lakes, lagoons and springs that do not flow towards any ocean because they are enclosed by the Andes mountain range that delimits the region. The most important river is the Desaguadero, which, with its 436 km in length, is the longest of the highland rivers. It rises in Lake Titicaca, the highest in the world (3,810 m a.s.l.), and runs southeast into Lake Poopó ( 3686 m a.s.l.). Formed by lakes Titicaca and Poopó, and the Desaguadero river and large salt flats such as Coipasa and Uyuni. Due to their tourist attraction, the Verde, Blanca and Colorada lagoons located south of Potosí are important. In this basin there are large salt flats such as the Salar de Uyuni (12,000 km²), which is the largest salt desert and lithium deposit in the world, or the Salar de Coipasa (2,218 km²). The average annual precipitation in this part of the territory is 421 mm/year.
Bolivia's climate varies greatly between ecoregions,
from tropical conditions in the eastern plains to a polar climate in the
western Andes. Summers are hot, humid in the east and dry in the west
with rains that modify the temperature, humidity, wind, atmospheric
pressure, and evaporation, giving rise to different climates. When the
climatological and erratically cyclical phenomenon called El Niño
occurs, it generates major alterations in the climate. Winters in the
West are quite cold and feature snow near the mountains, while the
lowlands tend to have windy days. Autumn is dry in non-tropical regions.
Climatic variations by region occur as follows:
Tropical humid climate with average temperature of 30 °C. The winds coming from the Amazon rainforest cause significant rainfall. Starting in May, dry winds produce minimal precipitation so the days are clear. In winter, strong winds from the south, called surazos, occur, which can bring cool temperatures for several days.
Arid-polar climate swept by strong, cold winds. The average temperature is between 15 to 20 °C. At night temperatures drop drastically and are just above 0°C, while at midday the weather is dry and the intensity of solar radiation is greater. Frost occurs almost every month and snow is frequent.
Valleys and Yungas
The weather is warm. Moist northeasterly winds are pushed into the mountains, making this area humid and rainy. Temperatures fall with increasing altitude, however snowfall is possible at elevations ranging from 2550 m above sea level.
Semitropical, semiarid climate. It presents rain and humidity during January and the other months are dry with hot days and cool nights. The maximum temperature recorded in Bolivia was 47 °C and occurred in this area. Surazos also affect this region.
Bolivia is considered a megadiverse country, as it is
among the countries in the world with the greatest variety of living
beings, ecosystems and genetic differences within each species that
allow the combination of multiple forms of life.
Its altitudinal gradient, which ranges between 90 and 6542 m above sea level. n. m., allows us to have this wide biological diversity. Its territory includes 4 types of biomes, 32 ecological regions and 199 ecosystems. The ecosystems of the Amazon, the Yungas, the Chiquitanía, the Chaco and the inter-Andean forests stand out. In this megadiverse geographical space, different natural reserves coexist, such as the national parks: Noel Kempff Mercado, Madidi, Tunari, Eduardo Abaroa, Kaa- Iya, among others.
The biodiversity of species is divided into:
By having more than 20,000 species with seeds, of which it is estimated that there are more than 1,200 species of ferns, more than 1,500 species of liverworts or mosses, and at least eight hundred species of fungi. In addition, more than 3,000 species of medicinal plants are known, which is why Bolivia is considered the place of origin of species such as locotos, chili peppers, peppers, peanuts, beans or Phaseolus vulgaris, cassava or cassava and various varieties of palm trees. On the other hand, more than 4,000 varieties of potatoes are produced on its lands in a wide range of colors, shapes and sizes.
Among the ten most diverse countries with more than 2,900 species, distributed in: 398 mammals, more than 1,400 birds (70% of known birds in the world, 6th country with the highest number of species), 204 amphibians, 277 reptiles and 635 freshwater fish, since the country does not have access to the sea. In addition, more than 3,000 species of butterflies have been identified, making the country fourth in the world. There are also more than 50 species of domestic animals.
Although Bolivian territory only houses around 3.5% of the world's forests, the country's biological diversity represents between 30 and 40% of the world's total. A high percentage of the flora and fauna species are endemic since they only live in the delimited area. The highest concentration of endemic plants are found in the Andes. More specifically in the yungas and the dry inter-Andean valleys.
The census carried out by the National Institute of
Statistics in 2012 recorded a population of 10,290,003 inhabitants
(approximately) and a masculinity index of 99.67%. The population for
2022 is 12,054,379 people.
In the last fifty years the Bolivian population has tripled, reaching an annual growth rate of 2.25%. The increase in the population in the intercensal periods 1950-1976 and 1976-1992. The annual growth rate for the first intercensal period was 2.05% between 1976-1992, while the growth at the last census in 2001 reached 2.74% annually.
69% of Bolivians live in urban areas and the remaining 31%; in rural areas. Most of the country's population is concentrated in the departments of Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, and La Paz, which account for more than 70% of the Bolivian population. In the highland region, the departments of La Paz and Potosí concentrate the largest proportion of the population. In the valleys, the departments of Cochabamba and Chuquisaca have the highest proportion of population and in the plains this occurs with the departments of Santa Cruz and Beni. The population density is 8.49 inhabitants per square km, with variations between 0.8 in the department of Pando and 26.2 in the department of Cochabamba. With population growth, density has also increased in each intercensus period.
The greatest concentration of population occurs in the so-called "central axis" of the country. Bolivia is characterized by having a young population. According to the 2001 census, 54% of the inhabitants are between 15 and 59 years old, 39% are under 15 years old and a third of them are under 5 years old. Almost 60% of the population is under 25 years of age, adolescents (10-20 years) represent 23% and women of childbearing age (15-49 years) are almost half of all women in the country.
According to the International Organization for Migration, there are approximately 1.6 million Bolivians who have emigrated abroad in search of better living conditions. The traditional countries of migration have been Argentina and the United States. However, in the 1990s most of the Bolivian migration was to Spain, where an estimated 230,000 Bolivians reside.
The ethnic composition of Bolivia includes a great
diversity of cultures. The majority of indigenous people have
assimilated the mestizo culture, diversifying and expanding their
ancestral roots. Consequently, in Bolivia there is a mix of cultures,
uniting Hispanic aspects with Amerindian aspects.
Mix of Amerindians and Europeans spread throughout the country. The vast majority of the Bolivian population assumes its mestizo identity but at the same time, self-identifies with one of the indigenous-original peoples, they are part of 59% of the Bolivian population according to the 2012 census.
Descendants of pre-Hispanic Andean cultures such as the Aymaras and Quechuas (Inca Empire). These are concentrated in the western departments of La Paz, Potosí, Oruro, Chuquisaca and Cochabamba. There is also a significant population of eastern ethnic groups such as the Guaraníes and the Mojeños who are found in the departments of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Tarija. On the other hand, as a result of internal migratory flows, the eastern region of the country has witnessed a significant increase in Quechuas and Aymaras in rural areas, and in indigenous Amazonians and Chacoians in urban areas, they make up 37% of the Bolivian population. (25% Quechua, 11% Aymara and 1% others) according to the 2012 census.
Most are descendants of Creoles and second-generation European and Arab migrants from Germany, Croatia, Spain, Italy, Lebanon and Turkey. They are mainly concentrated in large cities such as Santa Cruz de la Sierra, La Paz, Tarija, and Cochabamba. In the department of Santa Cruz, the members of Mennonite colonies (55,000) who are dedicated to agriculture stand out; according to the 2012 census, they make up 3% of the Bolivian population.
They are descendants of Africans brought to the country as slaves during the colony. According to the 2012 census, they are part of 1% of the Bolivian population.
Mainly Japanese (14,000), Chinese (4,600), Koreans.
European citizens from Germany, France, Italy and Portugal. There are also a small number of immigrants from other American countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, United States, Paraguay, Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, among others. There is a significant Peruvian population primarily in La Paz and El Alto.
The indigenous-origin peoples of Bolivia are divided
into two branches: The Ethnic groups of the Andes settled mostly in the
highland regions and valleys; and the Ethnic groups of the Eastern
Plains located in the warm regions northeast of the central mountain
range and the regions of the southeast (Gran Chaco).
Ethnic groups of the Andes
They fundamentally occupy the high plateau of the departments of La Paz, Oruro and Potosí and some headlands of the tropical plains.
They are mainly developed in the valleys of Cochabamba and Chuquisaca. They also occupy the mountainous areas of Potosí and Oruro. There are Quechua enclaves in the provinces of Inquisivi, Camacho and Muñecas in the department of La Paz. The Tarabucos (Yamparaes province of Chuquisaca department), the Ucumaris (Chayantas and Bustillos provinces of Potosí department), the Calchas, Chaquies, Yralipes, Tirinas, etc. belong to the Quechua nation.
Ethnic groups of the Eastern Plains
Formed by: Guarayas, Pausernas, Sirionos, Chiriguanos, Matacos, Chulipis, Taipetes, Tobas and Yuquis.
Formed by: Lecos, Chimanes, Araonas and Maropas.
Formed by: Chacobos, Caripunas, Sinabos, Capuibos and the Guacanaguas.
Formed by: Apolists, Baures, Moxos, Chanes, Movimas, Cayabayas, Carabecas, Paiconecas or Paucanacas.
Formed by: Iténez or More, Chapacuras, Sansinonians, Canichanas, Itonamas, Yuracares, Guatoses and Littles.
Formed by: Bororos and Otuquis.
Bolivia has a rich linguistic variety product of its
The Political Constitution of the State recognizes 37 official languages, including in addition to Spanish all the languages of the indigenous peoples of Bolivia.
They are official languages of the State Spanish and all the languages of the indigenous peasant peoples, which are Aymara, Araona, Baure, Besiro, Canichana, Cavineño, Cayubaba, Chacobo, Chiman, Ese Ejja, Guarani, Guarasuawe, Guarayu, Itonama, Leco , Machajuyai-Kallawaya, Machinery, Maropa, Mojeño-Trinitarium, Mojeño-Ignatian, More, Mosetten, Movima, Pacawara, Puquina, Quechua, Siriono, Tacana, Tapiete, Toromona, Uruchipaya, Weenhayek, Yaminawa, Yuki, Yuracaré and Zamuco.
Political Constitution of the State (Article 5, Paragraph I)
Spanish is the most spoken official language throughout the country according to the 2001 census, by 88.4% of the inhabitants as a mother tongue or second language in some indigenous populations. The legal and official documents of the State, including the Political Constitution, the main private and public institutions, the media and commercial activities use this language.
Among the main indigenous languages are:
Quechua (25 % of the population, 2012 census): was the official language of the Inca Empire. It is spoken mainly in the departments of Cochabamba, Chuquisaca, Oruro and Potosí.
Aimara (11 % of the population, 2012 census): language of pre-Inca origin. Spoken mainly in the department of La Paz, partly in Oruro and Potosí.
Guaraní (1 % of the population, 2012 census): is spoken in the Gran Chaco region.
Others (4 % of the population, 2012 census): the Moxeño in the department of Beni stands out.
Within foreign languages, English and Portuguese or their mixture with Spanish called Portuñol are most frequent.
Bolivia is a secular state that guarantees freedom of
religion. The 2009 Constitution establishes that:
The State respects and guarantees freedom of religion and spiritual beliefs, in accordance with its worldviews. The State is independent of religion.
Political Constitution of the State (Article 4)
According to the 2001 census carried out by the National Institute of Statistics of Bolivia, 78% of the population calls themselves Catholic. Protestant denominations represent almost 19% of the population. The number of Catholics is higher in urban areas than in rural areas, while Protestant membership reaches its highest level, approximately 20%, in the countryside. Approximately 2.5% of the population reported no religious affiliation and less than 0.2% reported affiliation with other religious denominations, including Islam, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Bahai Faith, Judaism, Buddhism, and Shintoism. There are 280 non-Catholic religious organizations and more than 200 Catholic groups registered by the government.
Mennonites, Lutherans, Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventists, Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists, Mormons, etc., maintain an active presence of foreign missionaries.
The Bolivian Catholic Church has four Archdioceses, seven Dioceses, two Prelatures and five Apostolic Vicariates. Among the most important religious events in recent decades we can mention the visit of John Paul II in 1988, the appointment of Monsignor Julio Terrazas, archbishop of Santa Cruz, to cardinal, and the visit of Pope Francis in 2015.
Catholicism has traditionally been the religion with the largest number of followers in the country. In the indigenous peoples of the West it remains in force through religious syncretism despite the fact that in recent decades, evangelical Christian churches have gained ground over Catholicism. For their part, the indigenous peoples of the East such as the Chiquitos and the Moxos maintain strong ties with Catholicism, a product of the cultural mixing inherited from the Jesuit missions of the 17th century.
Indigenous beliefs and cults
A good part of the indigenous population practices various religions with syncretic or complementary elements with Catholicism from their worldviews and ancestral traditions. The cult of Pachamama98 or Mother Earth stands out, which is combined with the veneration of the Virgin of Copacabana, the Virgin of Urkupiña, the Virgin of Socavón or the Lord Jesus of the Great Power. There are also Aymara regions south of Lake Titicaca that maintain a strong devotion to Tata Apóstol Santiago99 that is combined with ancestral traditions. Other indigenous deities are: Ekeko, Aymara god of abundance whose festival is widely celebrated on January 24 at the Alasitas Fair and Tupá, prestigious god of the Guaraní people.
Recently, some indigenous leaders have sought to banish all forms of Christianity from their communities to reclaim their ancestral beliefs. In 2009, by Supreme Decree, it was decided to recognize the celebration of the Aymara New Year or Wilka Kuti (return of the sun), a festival that celebrates the beginning of a new solar cycle with the arrival of the winter solstice. This celebration takes place in the ruins of the Tiwanaku complex.
They are present throughout the country. Mormon Church sources estimate that the number of its adherents exceeds 140,000 people.
They are present throughout the country. There are more than 22,000 active ministers and more than 90,000 people attend their religious services.
The Jewish population in Bolivia is approximately 500 people. The majority of Bolivian Jews are found in the city of La Paz, followed by Cochabamba and Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The community has four synagogues established in La Paz.
They have cultural centers that also serve as mosques in La Paz, Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cochabamba. These cultural centers welcome both Shia and Sunni Muslims.
Korean immigrants establish their church in La Paz. Most Korean, Chinese and Japanese immigrants have settled in Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
Other religious communities
Buddhists and Shintoists, as well as an important Bahai community throughout the country.
Agnostics and atheists
It is estimated that around 3% of the population falls into this category.
The culture of Bolivia is the product of a great
diversity of expressions, as a result of the variety of geographical
settings that its current territory includes, as well as the ethnic
diversity that characterizes it. It is very diverse in languages,
covering the Andes mountain range, the Gran Chaco, the inter-Andean
valleys, the plains and the Amazon.
In Bolivia there are around forty ethnic groups, which in many cases preserve their traditions, cultures and languages. Bolivian culture has been defined by its interesting geographical layout, the predominant indigenous population and the mixing of its ancestral traditions with European cultural elements that were imported during the period of Spanish colonialism. The amalgamation of all these elements has resulted in a rich and varied culture.
The school population at the initial level is
approximately 200,000 students in 2005. In the primary sector, there is
a school population of approximately 1,600,000 for the same period while
young people enrolled in secondary school reach 400,000 students. .
The coverage of the Educational System reaches about 85% of the population and the majority is found in public establishments with 2,100,000 inhabitants, demonstrating that the demand for public services in the educational field is very great.
The permanence of the schooling population (6 to 19) shows that 92% of the population who declared they have a basic level continue studying and represent 65% of those attending. When analyzing the reasons for non-attendance of the school-going population by sex, it is concluded that women are the ones who attend the school system the least in relation to the male population. The main reason for absence of both boys and girls is the need to work. In rural areas, the lack of relevant educational offer is a reason for non-attendance. For example, the shortage of schools with more than third grade of primary school. The absence of secondary school in rural areas is particularly notable and is therefore the reason why those who cannot migrate to urban areas to attend secondary school abandon the school system.
96% of the population is literate. Being one of the Latin American countries with the least illiterate.102 The Bolivian government's literacy programs in recent years have improved this indicator.
On December 12, 2009, the Government of Evo Morales announced the completion of a literacy program through which since 2006 820,000 people have been literate throughout the country, mostly peasants and indigenous people.
The educational organization is made up of levels and modalities according to the bases, purposes and objectives of education. This organization is based on the biopsychosocial development of the students and the characteristics of each region of the country.
The levels of the Educational System are gradual, according to the educational process itself, with its own objectives and depending on the different stages of development of the students. There is still a pending task, which is to change the educational structure in terms of a new master plan that directs this task. There is a debate about the so-called Avelino Siñani law, which would greatly reform the national educational system and which faces various opposition groups, including the teachers themselves who complain that they were not consulted in the development of this educational standard.
Between 2007 and 2017, infant mortality has decreased by 50% according to the World Health Organization.
The following list shows the complete Web Ranking of Universities, Webometrics 2021 of the 56 Universities that provide Higher Education in Bolivian territory. Prepared by the Spanish Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), this ranking takes into consideration 3 axes for the scoring of the different Universities. Academic excellence that counts for 40% of the score (percentage of most cited academic and scientific articles in 27 disciplines in the scimago lab database) 50% score for the visibility of the impact of the content and 10% score for the top academic-scientific researchers.
According to the most recent data from the World Bank,
in 2009, Bolivia invested 0.16% of its GDP in research and development;
the lowest for Latin America. In 2010, it had 164 researchers per
million inhabitants. According to the World Innovation Index, run by the
World Intellectual Property Organization, in 2023, Bolivia was ranked
97th in innovation among 132 countries in the world.
The country has a space program run by the Bolivian Space Agency (ABE), created in 2010. It is in charge of managing the Túpac Katari satellite and the two earth stations inaugurated in 2013: Amachuma and La Guardia.
The cultural heritage of Bolivia is made up of all
intangible and tangible cultural assets, both movable and immovable,
found or produced in the Bolivian territory, as an individual or
collective product, which as a testimony of material or immaterial human
creation artistic, scientific, archaeological, urban, documentary or
technical that are susceptible to a declaration of this nature.
The Bolivian State recognizes the pluricultural, multiethnic and plurilingual conformation of the Nation, and enshrines the principles of interculturality, interinstitutionality and social participation as pillars of the integrated conservation of the cultural heritage of Bolivia.
The State has as one of its highest functions the equitable protection of the tangible and intangible heritage of all the cultures that develop in the national territory and that make up the cultural heritage of Bolivia, and promotes the recognition, rescue, recreation, preservation, Integrated conservation, access and dissemination of cultural heritage as a right of all inhabitants of the country.
Bolivia contains an enormous historical and cultural wealth, which is expressed in a universally praised tourist importance for lovers of nature, anthropology, archeology and paleontology.
Bolivian painting has its beginnings in the rock art
of the native peoples. Currently, more than a thousand sites with rock
art are registered corresponding to different periods such as:
Paleoindian, pre-Inca, Inca, colonial and Republican. The main
archaeological parks of Bolivian rock art are: Calacala in Oruro,
Samaipata (site declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity) in Santa Cruz,
Copacabana in La Paz and Incamachay (site declared a National Monument)
During the colonial period, the painters of the current Bolivian territory were influenced by the mannerism of Bernardo Bitti and the stylized art lacking in realism of the Inca and Tiahuanacota traditions, with painters such as Diego Cusihuamán standing out.
In the 17th century, the baroque generated the School of Potosí and the School of Collao. In Potosí there was a strong influence of Spanish mannerism, highlighting Melchor Pérez de Holguín, the most important baroque painter of the Viceroyalty of Peru. For his part , in Collao the Spanish-Flemish influence manages to inspire indigenous and mestizo artists, highlighting the anonymous Maestro de Calamarca with his works known as Ángeles y Arcángeles de Calamarca.
Independence incorporated painting influenced by neoclassicism and academicism with painters such as Melchor María Mercado and Zenón Iturralde. In the 20th century, art marked by revolutionary nationalism and indigenism appears. The magical realism of Arturo Borda, the indigenous portraits by Cecilio Guzmán de Rojas and the revolutionary art of Miguel Alandia Pantoja, Walter Solón Romero and Alfredo La Placa are the main references. For its part, contemporary art from the end of the century introduces themes such as urban man and criticism social.130 The most prominent contemporary painters are: Gil Imaná, Lorgio Vaca, Edgar Arandia, Gastón Ugalde, Tito Kuramoto, Carmen Villazón, Sol Mateo, Luis Zilveti and Roberto Mamani Mamani.
Bolivian sculpture dates back to the Tiwanaku period
with anthropomorphic steles such as the Bennett Monolith or the figures
sculpted in the Puerta del Sol. Later, in the colonial period, Tito
Yupanqui, author of the Virgin of Copacabana, stands out, who had a
technique that linked the indigenous tradition with the Spanish
sculpture of the time. Subsequently, sculptures carved in churches of
Sucre and Potosí stand out that were influenced by the Sevillian School
and the Cuzqueña School.
In the republican period, sculpture received a boost with the creation of the School of Fine Arts of La Paz and thus at the beginning of the 20th century, Emiliano Luján, Hugo Almaráz, Víctor Zapana and mainly, Marina Núñez del Prado stood out, who She is considered one of the greatest sculptors in Latin America. Núñez del Prado's work is distinguished by the use of stylized curves (worked in onyx, black granite, alabaster, etc.), which symbolize women, a theme that occupies a central place in his art. Later, after the 1960s, new talents appear such as Ted Carrasco, Carlos Rodríguez and Marcelo Callaú who are mostly inspired by Bolivian society and Andean myths.
Bolivian architecture rescues the buildings of
Tiwanaku built with large blocks of carved stone with excellent assembly
and the Inca constructions such as the palaces of Isla del Sol and the
military forts of Samaipata and Incallajta, for example.
In the colonial era, the baroque mestizo religious buildings of the 18th century stand out, combining European and native mythological elements. The Church of San Lorenzo de Potosí, the Basilica of San Francisco de La Paz and the churches of the Jesuit Missions are representative works of this period.
After independence, new styles emerged such as the neoclassical with the Potosí Cathedral by Manuel Sanahuja; and French academicism with the Government Palace of José Núñez del Prado and the Cathedral of Santa Cruz de la Sierra by Felipe Bertrés. At the end of the 19th century, eclecticism was imposed, reflected in works such as the Glorieta Palace by Antonio Camponovo. which combines 14 architectural styles.
In the 20th century, styles such as Neotiahuanaco emerged with the National Museum of Archeology by Arturo Posnasky; and the official academism with the Legislative Palace of Camponovo. In the use of both styles, Emilio Villanueva stands out, who is considered the most important Bolivian architect of the century for works such as the Mayor's Office of La Paz (1925), the Central Bank of Bolivia (1926) and the complex of the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (1941-1948).
In Bolivia there is an infinite variety of folk dances
that show the diversity of cultures. Living examples of this are the
Oruro Carnival, "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of
Humanity" (UNESCO), the Festival of the Great Power and the university
and religious folk entries in the main cities of the country.
Dances by department:
Beni: Machete players, Bajons, Achu, Mooperas, Dance of the Sun and Moon, Chovena.
Chuquisaca: Play, Chuquisaca Cave (Waltz), Dance, Huayño, Doctorcitos.
Cochabamba: Cochabamba Cave, Cochabamba Carnival.
La Paz: Corporals, Kullawada, Flaming, Cave of La Paz, Waka Waka, Saya, Incas, Carnival of La Paz.
Gold: Bolivian Devil, Morenada, Kallawaya, Suris Sicuris, Tobas, Antahuara, Awatiris, Suri Sicuri, Wititis, Intillajta, Sampoñaris and Tarqueada
Potosí: Tinku, Potolos and the Potosí Basin.
Holy Cross: Holy Cross Carnival, Chovena, Sarao.
Tarija and the Chaco Region: Chapaca Wheel, Tonada, Pim Pim, Chapaca Cave and the Chaqueña Cave, Chacarera, Cat, Escondido, Triumph, Michizos, Chamamé, Chunchos, Zamba, Atico and Tero Tero.
Tupiza-South Chichas: Tone and the Cueca.
The National Folk Ballet founded in 1975, the National Symphony Orchestra founded in 1945 and the Choir and Orchestra of Urubichá, which collects the Baroque and Renaissance musical heritage of Bolivian Chiquitanía, also stand out.
The music is played during festivals and dances, contains strong Spanish influences. The most common musical instruments are:
Western Zone: zampoña, siku, quena, tarka, pinkillo, charango, anata.
Valleys area (Tarija): reed, erque, quenilla, box, camacheña, guitar, violin, drum.
Eastern Zone: guitar, pinguyo (taucara flute), drum and instruments introduced by the Jesuit missions such as bombo, violin and harp.
The 1952 Revolution encouraged and supported the development of a national culture, mainly the Aymara and Quechua part through the middle layers of society. A Department of folklore was established within the Ministry of Education.
The awakening of the culture was also reflected in the music. In 1965 Edgar "Yayo" Jofré formed a quartet called Los Jairas in La Paz. With the rise of popular music Jofré, together with Alfredo Domínguez, Ernesto Cavour, Julio Godoy and Gilbert Favre modified the forms of traditional music, fusing it with urban and European rhythms. Subsequently groups like Wara, Khanata, Paja Brava, Savia Andina and especially Los Kjarkas would appear who would refine this fusion and take Bolivian music to the main international stages.
Among the most prominent singers are Raul Shaw Moreno, Gladys Moreno, Alfredo Dominguez, Orlando Rojas, Nilo Soruco, Willy Alfaro, Luzmila Carpio, Ulysses Hermosa, Yalo Cuellar, Luis Rico, Pepe Murillo, Emma Junaro, Enriqueta Ulloa, Juan Enrique Jurado and Aldo Rock.
In musical composition they unveil the late Alfredo Domínguez with all his works. Simeon Roncal with his <<March to the Chaco>>, Teófilo Vargas with his folkloric work <<National Airs of Bolivia>>, Eduardo Cava with his <<18 Andean Airs>>, Gilberto Rojas with his taquirari <<Viva Santa Cruz >>, Willy Alfaro Carballo with the "Festival of Kings or Tone for Remedies", Apolinar Camacho with the composition <<Viva Mi Patria Bolivia>> considered the second anthem of the country, the composer of classical guitar Piraí Vaca.
The most representative national music groups are: Los Kjarkas, Los Andariegos, Palala Ahicito, Los Canarios del Chaco, El Negro Palma, Juan Enrique Jurado, Savia Andena, Andean Group, Female Group Bolivia, Raymi Bolivia, Jacha Mallku, Tupay, Kala Brand, Andean Passion, Projection, Amaru, Bonanza, Heaven, Oriental Trio, Feeling Duo, Tola Claudio, Huáscar Apparition.
In genres such as Rock-Pop and Rock stand out internationally groups such as: Loukass, Octavia, Blue Blue and Shortcut.
In the colonial period, writers such as Antonio de la
Calancha and Vicente Pazos Kanki stood out, while at the beginning of
republican life Juan Wallparrimachi stood out. For much of the 19th
century, the historian Gabriel René Moreno is the main reference of
The first Bolivian literary works appear at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century with authors such as Nataniel Aguirre, Ricardo Jaimes Freyre, Alcides Arguedas, Franz Tamayo, Gregorio Reynolds, Jaime Mendoza and Armando Chirveches. During the first half of the 20th century, Adela Zamudio, Demetrio Canelas, Abel Alarcón, Tristán Marof, Enrique Finot and Javier del Granado stand out mainly.
During the second half of the 20th century, nationalist literary works were accentuated, with writers such as Augusto Céspedes, Carlos Medinaceli, Antonio Díaz Villamil, Óscar Alfaro, Raúl Botelho Gosálvez, Joaquín Aguirre Lavayén, among others. On the other hand, writers who mark a new way of creating universal literature in Bolivia are established, such as Jaime Sáenz, Óscar Cerruto, Julio de la Vega, Jesús Urzagasti, Jesús Lara, Raúl Otero Reiche, Adolfo Costa Du Rels, Renato Prada Oropeza, Eduardo Mitre, Pedro Shimose, Néstor Taboada Terán, Gastón Suárez, among others.
Within the contemporary literary panorama, writers of different genres stand out, many of them promoted by the National Novel Prize created in 1998. Gonzalo Lema, Edmundo Paz Soldán, Wolfango Montes, Cé Mendizábal, Ramón Rocha Monroy, Homero Carvalho, Juan de Recacoechea, Víctor Montoya, Adolfo Cárdenas, Giovanna Rivero, Wilmer Urrelo, Rodrigo Hasbún, Víctor Hugo Viscarra, Claudio Ferrufino-Coqueugniot, Sebastián Antezana, Ronnie Piérola Gómez, Blanca Wiethüchter are the main references.
Around 35,000 archaeological sites can be found in
Bolivia. Many of the most preserved, for climatic reasons (deserts and
very dry areas) or due to the type of materials used (stone), are found
in the Andes, belonging to pre-Inca and Inca cultures. However, in the
tropical eastern sector of the country (2/3 of Bolivia's territory)
there are countless archaeological sites, with cave paintings, remains
of ceramics and even the vestiges of enormous pre-Hispanic hydraulic
works in the plains of Moxos and Baures.
The most important archaeological zone in the country is the Tiwanaku Ruins, where the Puerta del Sol is located, with its monuments of astronomical observation and its cultivation techniques, which denote an advanced degree of knowledge, not only of its environment. but of the laws of the universe.
The Bolivian tropical East was the center of an important pre-Columbian civilization, known as the Hydraulic Culture of the Lomas. Since more or less 4000 years BC. C. (probably before: the current data is based on dated ceramics) until the 13th century AD, the region was the settlement of important human groups organized in pre-state societies (in some cases very centralized), defined as chiefdoms, local potentates. The system was based, environmentally and economically, on the use of specific environmental characteristics (use of aquatic plants as fertilizers and gigantic fishing systems) and on the construction of large hydraulic works that allowed connection between the various human nuclei in any season, crops also in the flood season (hence the creation of elevated crop fields visible even today from the air), embankments, dikes, canals and lagoons with road and fishing functions.
When the Spanish arrived, the region had already been in complete decline for nearly three centuries. In any case, it remains one of the centers of origin and propagation of many agricultural products with worldwide distribution: tobacco, peanuts, cotton, cassava (Manihot esculenta), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas).
Another important area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the ceremonial center of Samaipata, also known as the Fort, the largest terrestrial petroglyph built by Amazonian populations in ancient times. The center was apparently occupied a few years before the Spanish conquest by an Inca advance party that has left some of the typical Inca motifs superimposed on the decorations of the Amazonian cultures. In the surrounding area, more than 50 buildings have been discovered in an area of 30 to 40 hectares.
Pre-Hispanic roads, cave paintings and the well-known dinosaur footprints of Toro Toro are also found in the country. Many of these archaeological sites – some dating back thousands of years – have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Bolivian cuisine has numerous elements in common with
the gastronomy of neighboring countries, especially the consumption of
products considered typically regional. However, due to the variety of
climatic zones, Bolivian cuisine is very rich and differentiated
according to the culinary tradition of each region.
Bolivian gastronomy has deep ethnic, European and Arab roots, and transformed by miscegenation and the different historical moments that the country has experienced, Bolivian gastronomy has added dishes, different mixtures and preparations to a long list that covers all varieties of Bolivian food.
In the dishes of the Bolivian highland area, starches and carbohydrates abound, such as potatoes, an ingredient that usually accompanies most dishes, especially dehydrated potatoes called chuño or ch'uñu, chairo also stands out. , a lamb or sheep broth with potatoes, chuño and vegetables. The La Paz dish has the particularity of not having meat, it consists of a portion of cooked beans, a slice of fried Creole cheese, a potato with a cooked peel, a cooked corn and abundant sauce called llajwa.
Oruro, the capital of Bolivian folklore, has a diversity of dishes such as: thimpu, meat consommé, followed by a main course with meat (from the consommé) accompanied with rice, potatoes, chuño, sometimes vegetables and a chili sauce and onion; jolke, a beef kidney and boiled potato broth; a typical dish called intendente, an abundant dish with various meats and lamb offal, accompanied with rice and other carbohydrates; roasted face, a particular dish that cooks the seasoned lamb head (sometimes cow) in the oven, without removing the fur or skin of the animal, although the latter are not eaten; charquekan orureño or fried dehydrated llama meat accompanied with mote, potato, hard-boiled egg, cheese and llajwa.
A wide variety of fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes are produced in the Bolivian sub-Andean valleys. However, the most important product is corn, of which there are many varieties, such as kulli or purple corn, ch'uspillu or willkaparu (Tupiza, Cochabamba and Chuquisaca). Among the typical dishes of the central valleys (Cochabamba, Chuquisaca), there are a variety of spicy chili dishes such as sajta and spicy assortment. Pacumutu, beef fillets; the salteña, the sillp'anchu, marinated meat with egg on top; the male pique, minced meat with onions, the false rabbit, the tranca-pecho, the anticuchos and the meat empanadas. Among the typical dishes of the provinces in the department of Cochabamba is uchuku (chili soup accompanied by potato filling with goat cheese, rice, egg, chuño, chicken and duck meat, potato, beef tongue and fried "chilijchi"); dish from the Aiquile region.
The traditional dish of the valleys and the upper area of Tarija is asado (grilled meat), pork a la cruz, saice, which is prepared with ground beef, potatoes, peas and is served with rice. and in cases also with noodles, it is also served with a creole or salad of tomato, lettuce and onion, other dishes that are consumed in quantity are humita or huminta, tamale and empanadas.
The traditional gastronomy of the city of Tupiza is varied and has the following dishes: k'asa uchu, tamales, humintas, patatasq'a, palqui stew, spicy goat, roast goat, goat or lamb on the cross, tortillas Made with goat's milk, corn flour and salt, there is also goat cheese.
Grilled qaras is a typical dish from the Valles region, in an area close to the departments of Santa Cruz and Chuquisaca, more specifically in the province of Vallegrande, located in the department of Santa Cruz. It contains mote, potatoes, pork chops, and the pork cuerrillo that is cooked over live embers, it is a delicious dish especially the preparation of the meat and the cuerrillo. The asadito colorado is another typical dish from the province of Vallegrande; It consists of the following: pork, prepared with seasonings, especially a red dye for which it takes its name, is cooked in the same lard that drains from the meat. It is accompanied with cooked potatoes, chili, sometimes bread.
In the lowlands or plains, cassava replaces potatoes and the use of vegetables is more frequent. Sugar, bananas, almonds, tropical fruits, soybeans and beef are produced. The main dish of the plains is locro, a rice soup with charque (ch'arki) or chicken.
The dishes are made based on corn, such as white corn locro, tamales made with a corn base stuffed with sautéed in butter and onion, hot pepper, paprika and minced meat, and huminta en chala, made with corn. (sweet corn) grated, sugar and cinnamon, with a sauce of tomatoes, bell peppers and paprika, also wrapped in chalas (corn leaves) and boiled like tamales.
The chipilo, traditional from the Beni department. It is green banana cut into very thin slices and fried in oil. Its flavor resembles a salty cracker.
In eastern food, tapada soup stands out, which is a typical dish from the plains in the northeast of the country that basically consists of three layers: one of rice and another of a meat preparation with egg and banana with some olives more or less like a noodle cake.
In this extremely humid part of the country, pastries are preserved in a very ingenious way: They are left in the oven over low heat until they dehydrate and harden. To consume it, it is soaked in coffee or the hot drink with which it is accompanied.
Among the sugary drinks, corn api and somó, and peach mocochinchi stand out. In relation to alcoholic beverages, singani stands out as the main national liquor, which is a drink from the grape brandy family that is produced in the south of the country. Corn chicha is also one of the traditional alcoholic drinks.
In Tarija and the Bolivian Chaco, the consumption of yerba mate is deeply rooted, while it is common to find coca mate in any market or supermarket in the country.
Among the Bolivian desserts, the sweet cakes, the manjar blanco bars, the corn malaskalla, the goat cheese and the lacayote candy stand out.
Soccer is the most popular sport in Bolivia. It was
practiced for the first time in 1896 with the founding of the Oruro
The Bolivian soccer team, known as La Verde, is the country's representative team in official soccer competitions. Its organization is in charge of the Bolivian Football Federation, whose foundation dates back to September 12, 1925, 98 years ago. It has been affiliated with FIFA since 1926 and is one of the members of Conmebol since 1926. It played its first match on October 12, 1926 in Santiago, Chile, corresponding to the 1926 South American Championship.
The Bolivian national team has participated in the Soccer World Cup three times (1930, 1950 and 1994). In the 1930 World Cup they participated as a guest, in 1950 they managed to qualify after the withdrawal of Argentina and Peru from the qualifiers and in the 1994 edition they qualified by playing the corresponding qualifiers, qualifying definitively in a match against the Ecuador team on Sunday. September 19, 1993.
Bolivia participated 26 times in the Copa América, where they became champions, winning the 1963 edition, this title being their greatest international achievement. He was also runner-up in the 1997 edition, with this fact he managed to qualify for the FIFA Confederations Cup for the first and only time in the 1999 edition.
As for youth teams, Bolivia won the 1986 South American U-17 Championship and has managed to qualify for the U-17 World Cups in the 1985 and 1987 editions. The 4th place in the 1981 U-20 South American Championships also stands out. and 1983, and also at the 2007 Pan American Games. In 2010, the U-15 team won the gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games after beating Haiti in the final.
Other sports with a large number of followers are volleyball, basketball, racquetball, cycling, motor racing, swimming and mountaineering. In the latter, the professional mountaineer Bernardo Guarachi stands out, who was the first Bolivian to crown the national flag at the top of Everest and climbed the main snow-capped peaks of the Andes Mountains such as Aconcagua (3 times), Sajama (40 times). ) and Illimani (186 occasions).
Tennis player Mario Martínez won three ATP Tour tournaments.
In chess it has an International Grandmaster, Osvaldo Zambrana. He is the only Bolivian to achieve this title.
Bolivia is constituted as a Social Unitary State of democratic law
with a presidential regime. Although since the promulgation of the 2009
Constitution it refuses to call itself a "Republic", its state
institution, founded around democracy and the separation of powers,
implies a de facto republican form of government.
The Government system is defined as established in Article 11 of the Political Constitution of 2009:
Bolivia is constituted as a Social Unitary State of Plurinational Community Law, free, independent, sovereign, democratic, intercultural, decentralized and with autonomy. Bolivia is founded on political, economic, legal, cultural and linguistic plurality and pluralism, within the country's integration process.
Political Constitution of the State (Article 1)
It calls itself plurinational in consideration of the nearly forty indigenous ethnic groups that live in its territory, among them are the Aymaras, Quechuas, Yuracares, Ayoreos, Canichanas, Guarayos, Guaraníes, Mosetenes, Tacanas, Morés, Moxeños, Urus, Reyesanos , esse ejjas, tapietés, araonas, chiquitanos, afrobolivians, nahuas, pacahuaras, yaminahuas, chácobos, yuquis, toromonas, baures, itonamas, cayubabas, weenhayek, machineris, lecos, movimas, chimanes, guarasugues or pausernas, cavimeños, joaquinianos, Mojeños, Sirionós, among others.
The Constitution establishes the division of powers in four government bodies
Composed of the president (head of state), the vice president and the ministers of state. The president and vice president are elected by universal suffrage and serve a five-year term. Both can be re-elected only once.
The Plurinational Legislative Assembly is chaired by the vice president of State. It is made up of two chambers: the Chamber of Senators with 36 members (four representatives from each department) and the Chamber of Deputies with 130 members (half elected by direct vote and the other half elected indirectly on the list headed by the candidate to president). Its power is to approve and sanction laws. The Constitution provides for special deputations for indigenous peoples.
Formed by the Supreme Court of Justice (highest instance of ordinary jurisdiction), Tribunals, Courts and the Council of the Judiciary. Justice is administered in two types of jurisdictions: ordinary and native indigenous peasant. Constitutional justice is exercised by the Constitutional Court.
Composed of the Supreme Electoral Court (highest court made up of seven members elected by the Plurinational Legislative Assembly), Departmental Courts, Electoral Courts, Table Courts and Electoral Notaries.
The Law of August 11, 1825, provides that the capital of Bolivia is
the city of Sucre, without establishing the location of said city (the
current city of Sucre was called Chuquisaca). The Law of July 1, 1826,
establishes the city of Chuquisaca as the provisional capital of the
country, until the place where it will be the true definitive capital is
The Constituent Congress empowers the father of the country and founder of Bolivia, Simón Bolívar, to designate the site where the new city Sucre is to be built; and while the necessary buildings for the government and legislative body are erected, Chuquisaca is declared provisional capital of the Republic.
Law of July 1, 1826
On July 12, 1839, the city of Chuquisaca (today Sucre) was established as the official capital of Bolivia, and from then on it was renamed from "city of Chuquisaca" to "city of Sucre":
"The city of Chuquisaca is the Capital of the Republic and the birthplace of the three powers of the state: Executive, Legislative and Judicial, and in accordance with the law of August 11, 1825, it will henceforth be called the city of Sucre."
Declaration Law, of July 12, 1839
After the triumph of La Paz over Sucre in the federal war of 1898-1899, La Paz officially became the seat of the Executive and Legislative powers, that is, the capital in fact. The contest faced liberals from the north, who sought to establish a federative model; against conservatives from the south, who held the power of the Bolivian State with the support of the armed forces, who defended a model of unitary order, this dispute also arose over the question of defining the "Capital City" between La Paz and Sucre. This situation was established on October 25, 1899, the date on which General José Manuel Pando assumed the presidency of the Republic following the triumph of the Federal Revolution.
On July 22, 2007, the so-called El Gran Cabildo was held, where approximately two million inhabitants of the city of La Paz and El Alto endorsed the permanence of the "seat of Government" (capital in fact) in this city.
On July 22, 2007, as a result of some political movements during the period of the 2006 Bolivian Constituent Assembly that sought to declare Sucre as a full capital, that is, constitutional capital and therefore seat of government, the called El Gran Cabildo, where approximately two million inhabitants of the city of La Paz and El Alto endorsed the permanence of the seat of government in the city of La Paz.
Since 2009, the Powers become Bodies, the city of La Paz is established as the headquarters of the Executive, Legislative and Electoral Bodies; recognizing the city of Sucre as the constitutional capital of Bolivia and seat of the Judicial Branch; as well as the city of La Paz as the seat of government (administrative capital).
The city of La Paz is thus established as the administrative capital as it is the seat of government and Sucre as the constitutional and historical capital as it is recognized in the political constitution of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.
The political system is divided into three groups: left, center and
right, with different tendencies within these groups such as radicals,
extremists, moderates, indigenous people, among others. As in many Latin
American countries, caudillismo, populism and the emergence of social
movements of workers and peasants have been factors that gave rise to
political organizations. The body in charge of regulating electoral
political participation is the Plurinational Electoral Body (OEP).
Participatory and representative democracy
The 2009 constitution defines a system of direct presidential democracy that is exercised in the following ways:
Through the referendum, the citizen legislative initiative, the
revocation of mandate, the assembly, the town council and prior
Through the election of representatives by universal, direct and secret vote. Bolivians have the right to vote from the age of 18.
Through the election, designation or nomination of authorities and representatives according to the rules and procedures of the native indigenous peasant nations and peoples.
The Constitution can be completely reformed through the Constituent Assembly convened by referendum either by citizen initiative with the signature of at least 20% of the electorate, by absolute majority of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly, or by the State Presidency. The partial reform can be carried out by citizen initiative (signatures of at least 20% of the electorate) or by means of a reform law approved by two-thirds of the Legislature. The reforms must be endorsed through an approval referendum.
The Bolivian Armed Forces comprise three branches: Bolivian Army
(land), Bolivian Navy (naval) and Bolivian Air Force (air). The legal
age for voluntary admissions is 18 years and the period of service is
mandatory and generally 12 months. The Bolivian government spends less
than 2% of its GDP on defense.
In 2018, Bolivia signed the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Bolivia's foreign policy reflects a marked trend towards meeting the
millennium goals such as social development and the fight against
poverty. The search for external cooperation, the attraction of foreign
direct investment to modernize institutions and improve infrastructure.
The Bolivian Constitution of 2009 establishes that Bolivia is a pacifist State that promotes the culture of peace, cooperation between peoples and the rejection of war as an instrument for resolving conflicts. The installation of foreign military bases on its territory is prohibited.
Bolivia is a member of the UN and other international organizations such as the Non-Aligned Movement, the IPU and the WTO.
In the field of regional integration, Bolivia is a full member of the OAS, the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), Unasur and an associate state of Mercosur. In terms of energy and physical integration, the country aspires to become one of the main energy centers in South America. The country is a member of other regional cooperation organizations such as ALADI, the Rio Treaty, the Rio Group, the Amazon Pact, the IDB and the CAF.
Bolivia is organized territorially into nine departments, which in
turn are divided into 112 provinces, and these into 339 municipalities
and native indigenous peasant territories.
In accordance with the provisions of the Political Constitution of the State, the Framework Law of Autonomies and Decentralization regulates the procedure for the preparation of Autonomous Statutes and Organic Charters, the transfer and distribution of direct and shared powers between the central level and the decentralized territorial entities. and autonomous. There are four levels of decentralization:
Constituted by a Departmental Assembly, with deliberative,
supervisory and legislative powers at the departmental level. The
Departmental Executive Body is directed by the Governor who is elected
by universal suffrage.
Consisting of a Municipal Council, with deliberative, supervisory and legislative powers at the municipal level. Its executive body is chaired by the Mayor who is elected by universal suffrage.
Made up of several provinces or municipalities with geographical continuity and without transcending departmental limits. It is constituted by a Regional Assembly with deliberative, regulatory-administrative and supervisory powers at the regional level.
Bolivia borders to the north and east with the Federative Republic of
Brazil. To the east and southeast with the Republic of Paraguay, to the
south with the Argentine Republic, to the southwest with the Republic of
Chile, to the west with the Republic of Peru. The total perimeter of the
borders reaches 7,252 kilometers.
Borders with Argentina
This international border begins at Cerro Zapaleri and ends at Esmeralda (a tripartite border point between Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia). The main border points are Cerro Panizo, Cerro Malpaso, Villazón, Bermejo, Fortín Campero, Yacuiba and Fortín D'Orbigny on the Pilcomayo River.
Borders with Brazil
The current boundary between Bolivia and Brazil was achieved after the signing of the Treaty of Petrópolis in 1903, which in addition to formalizing the definitive peace between both countries, stipulated the territorial transfer to Brazil by Bolivia of 191,000 km², which was They add to the 164,242 km² of territory ceded after the signing of the Treaty of Ayacucho in 1867. It begins in Bolpebra and ends in Bahía Negra (tripartite boundary between Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia). The main border points are: Brasiléia located in front of Cobija, Fortín Manoa near the Madera River, Villa Bella at the confluence of the Beni and Mamoré rivers, Cerro Cuatro Hermanos, San Matías, the La Gaiba, Mandioré, Cáceres and Puerto Gutiérrez Guerra lagoons. the Paraguay River.
Border with Chile
The current boundary between Bolivia and Chile was delimited by the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1904. The document stipulated the transfer of sovereignty of the Bolivian coast to Chile, leaving the country without sea coasts. The drawn boundary begins in Visviri (tripartite landmark between Chile, Peru and Bolivia) and ends in Zapaleri (tripartite landmark between Argentina, Chile and Bolivia). The main points of the border are the Licancabur, Ollagüe volcanoes and the Payachata hills). The border cuts some natural water currents such as the Lauca River, which is why conflicts have arisen over the use of its waters.
Borders with Paraguay
It begins in Esmeralda and ends in Bahía Negra (tripartite milestone between Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia) on the Negro River that flows into the Paraguay River. The main border points are Cerro Ustares, Palmar de las Islas, Hito Chovoreca and Cerrito Jara.
Border with Peru
It begins in Bolpebra (tripartite boundary between Peru, Brazil and Bolivia) and ends in Choquecota (tripartite border between Peru, Chile and Bolivia). The most important border points are Puerto Heath on the Madre de Dios River, Nudo de Apolobamba, Puerto Acosta from where the border line begins to be drawn on Lake Titicaca, Copacabana Peninsula and Desaguadero.
Upon losing its extension of maritime coast known as the Department
of the Litoral after the Pacific War, Bolivia has historically
maintained as state policy the territorial claim to Chile of a sovereign
exit to the Pacific Ocean and its maritime space. The Political
Constitution of 2009 establishes that the Bolivian State declares its
inalienable right to access to the sea and that its objective is to
resolve the maritime dispute peacefully.
Since the founding of the UN in 1945, Bolivia has asked the General Assembly to consider its request to recover a free and sovereign outlet to the Pacific Ocean. He has also presented the matter to the OAS, achieving Resolution 426 in 1979, which defines the Bolivian maritime enclosure as a hemispheric problem.
Access to the Pacific Ocean through Chile
On April 4, 1884, a truce treaty was signed with Chile, by which Chile provided ease of passage for Bolivian products through the Port of Antofagasta, freeing Bolivian products exported in Arica from the payment of export duties.  On October 20, 1904, the definitive Peace Treaty was signed, in which Chile undertook to build a railway from Arica to La Paz to facilitate Bolivian trade, the granting of credits, and free transit rights to ports. in the Pacific and the payment of £300,000.
Access to the Pacific Ocean - Boliviamar (Ilo, Peru)
The Special Economic Zone for Bolivia in Ilo (ZEEBI) consists of the transfer of 5 km of coastline and a territorial extension of 358 ha (3.58 km²) called Mar Bolivia in which Bolivia can use a free zone of the port of Ilo for its administration. and operation. for a period of 99 years renewable from 1992, after which all construction and territory passes back to Peru.
Access to the Atlantic Ocean - Paraná River (Rosario, Argentina)
Since 1964, Bolivia has had port facilities in the Bolivian Free Trade Zone in Rosario. Given the urban need and its little use, its transfer to Villa Constitución, within the province of Santa Fe, or another port in Buenos Aires is encouraged.
For decades, Bolivia has presented its demand to various forums for a solution to its Mediterranean identity, focusing mainly on the territories ceded to Chile after the defeat in the Pacific War. Chile's position historically has been that this problem is a bilateral matter (without recognizing the participation of mediating organizations), and respecting the existing treaties between both nations.
In 2013, Bolivia sued Chile at the International Court of Justice in The Hague to force Chile to negotiate a sovereign exit to the sea. The ruling was finally in favor of Chile, discarding all points of the Bolivian state, indicating that the Court "cannot conclude that Chile has the obligation to negotiate full sovereign access" to the Pacific Ocean for Bolivia.
Order of the Andean Condor
The Order of the Condor of the Andes is the highest distinction granted by Bolivia.
Constitutionally, the national emblems are the red, yellow and green
tricolor flag, the national anthem, the coat of arms, the wiphala (flag
of the Aymara culture), the cockade, the kantuta flower and the patujú
The Tricolor Flag is the main national symbol, it was adopted on October 31, 1851 and approved by law on November 5 of the same year during the government of Manuel Isidoro Belzu with the definitive colors of red, yellow and green. By supreme decree of July 30, 1924, it was determined that August 17 would be commemorated as Flag Day. In 2009, the color palette codes were established to standardize the use of the Tricolor flag, through Supreme Decree No. 0241, of August 5, 2009 by President Evo Morales.
The National Shield of Bolivia is the national heraldic symbol of the country, as established in the Constitution and in accordance with the Supreme Decree of July 14, 1888, later regulated by Supreme Decree No. 0241, of August 5, 2009 by the president. Evo Morales.
The Wiphala has been recognized as a national emblem since February 7, 2009, in the Political Constitution of the State of 2009, and its use, colors and proportions are regulated by the D.S. No. 241, August 5, 2009. This must be hoisted on the left side of the Tricolor Flag.
The national flowers of Bolivia are the Kantuta Tricolor that can be seen in the high valleys of the Andean region; and the Flor de Patujú from the plains region. Both recognized in the 2009 constitution as symbols of the State. In the government of Bautista Saavedra, by Supreme Decree of January 1, 1924, the “Kantuta Tricolor” was consecrated as the national emblem. In the government of Evo Morales, they are officially recognized as “symbols of the State” through the 2009 Constitution, with the names: “Kantuta Tricolor” and “the Flower of Patujú”.
In 2017, the Senate of Bolivia passed Law No. 920, of March 27, 2017, which declared the Maritime Claim Flag as an emblem of the State, to be used in civic activities in the month of March, and also modified the flag officially adding the wiphala to the right of the Bolivian flag.
Bolivia's economy is mainly based on the extraction and export of its
natural resources, mainly mining and gas. The GDP per capita is one of
the lowest in Latin America. The national minimum wage is 2,060
bolivianos per month (296 dollars). The country's official currency is
the boliviano (BOB).
The most important economic activities are mining (San Cristóbal Project) and natural gas extraction (YPFB), both belonging to the primary sector. Within the secondary sector, the beer (CBN), dairy (Pil Andina), oilseed (Gravetal), automotive (INMETAL), (CAMET), cement (SOBOCE) and textile (Ametex) industries stand out for sales. In the tertiary sector, telecommunications companies (Entel, Tigo (Telecel), and Viva) stand out, as well as banking activity with banks such as Banco Nacional de Bolivia, Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz, Banco Bisa or Banco de Crédito del Perú.
In recent years, the average GDP growth was 4.7%, achieving fiscal surpluses (for the first time since 1940) and current account surpluses, mainly due to the policies of nationalization of natural resources (hydrocarbons and mining) and other sectors. such as telecommunications and energy, which allowed a significant increase in state revenues and consequently a strong public investment (in 2010 four times greater than in the years prior to 2006). A slight increase in private investment was also achieved. The economically active population rate amounts to 71.9% and the unemployment rate is 6.5%, one of the lowest in the region.
The most valuable export metals are tin (4th world producer), silver (7th world producer) and copper in the West, iron and gold in the East. The main mining deposits are: San Cristóbal (largest open pit silver mine in the world), Mutún (1st iron and manganese deposit in the world) and the Salar de Uyuni (one of the main reserves of potassium and lithium of the world).
In hydrocarbons, Bolivia has the second largest reserve of natural gas in South America (48 trillion cubic feet), with its export to Brazil and Argentina being the country's main source of income.
Agricultural production has acquired greater importance in recent decades, mainly in the east, which mainly produces soybeans (8th largest producer in the world), sugar cane and sunflowers. In the West, products for domestic consumption such as potatoes, barley and exportable products such as quinoa, broad beans, cocoa and coffee are produced.
A controversial factor in the economy is the production of coca leaf (3rd largest producer in the world) which, although traditionally consumed for religious or medicinal purposes by a segment of the population, is at the same time used illegally for the manufacture of cocaine for the US and European markets.
In livestock, the raising of cattle and pigs stands out in the east, while in the west, the raising of camelids such as the alpaca is important for the textile industry.
Bolivia is one of the countries with the greatest microfinance development in the world (2nd place globally). The fact that a large part of its economy is informal and that there are few large industries has allowed the emergence, growth and development of commercial and service microenterprises that receive financial support from different highly specialized microcredit entities.
Some parts of Bolivia are largely under the power of ranchers, the
main owners of cattle and pig farms, and many small farmers are still
reduced to peons. However, the presence of the State has increased
significantly under the government of Evo Morales. He tends to protect
the interests of large landowners while striving to improve the living
and working conditions of small farmers.
The agrarian reform promised by Evo Morales – and approved by referendum by almost 80% of the population – has never been launched. With the intention of abolishing landownership by reducing the maximum size of properties without "economic and social function" to 5000 hectares, the rest to be divided between small agricultural workers and landless indigenous peoples, he encountered strong opposition from the Bolivian oligarchy. In 2009, the government gave in to the agribusiness sector, which in return promised to end the pressure it was exerting and compromising until the new Constitution was promulgated.
However, a series of reforms and economic projects have improved the situation of low-income peasant families. They have received agricultural machinery, tractors, fertilizers, seeds and breeding animals, while the State has built irrigation systems, as well as roads and bridges to facilitate the sale of their production in the markets. The situation of many indigenous people and small farmers has been regularized through the granting of property titles to the lands they were cultivating.
In 2007, the government created a Productive Development Bank through which small agricultural workers and producers can request loans easily, at low rates and with repayment terms adapted to agricultural cycles. Due to better supervision of banking activities, borrowing rates were reduced by a factor of three between 2014 and 2019 in all banking institutions for small and medium-sized agricultural producers. In addition, the law now requires that banks dedicate at least 60% of their resources to productive loans or the construction of social housing.
With the creation of the Food Production Assistance Company (Emapa), the government wanted to stabilize the internal market for agricultural products by purchasing the production of small and medium-sized farmers at the best price, thus forcing agroindustries to offer them a higher remuneration. fair According to Vice President Álvaro García Linera, "by establishing the rules of the game, the State establishes a new balance of power that gives more power to small producers. Wealth is better redistributed to balance the power of the agroindustrial sector. This generates stability, which that allows for a prosperous economy and benefits everyone.
According to 2018 data, 34.3% of the land is destined for agricultural uses, 52.5% for forestry uses and 13.2% for other uses. Of the agricultural land, 3.6% is cropland, 0.2% is permanent crops and 30.5% is permanent pasture.
Bolivia is the 93rd largest export economy in the world.
Bolivia's main exported products are natural gas with USD 6.03 billion, gold with USD 1.37 billion, zinc ore with USD 993 million, crude oil with USD 755 million and soybean meal with USD 714 million.
Bolivian foreign trade is small scale. However, trade exchange has maintained consecutive growth in recent years.
Bolivia's exports totaled a record 9.04 billion US dollars in 2011, 2 billion more than in 2010. In 2020, Bolivia's exports fell to 7.02 billion dollars.
The high international prices of hydrocarbons and minerals allowed us to achieve this result since these represented almost 3/4 (72%) of Bolivian sales abroad.
The oil sector depends almost exclusively on sales of natural gas to Brazil, the country's main trading partner, and Argentina. Mining reached total exports of 1,517 million dollars, with Japan as its main market, which demands zinc, silver and lead, and India, which accounts for the majority of gold production. Other main destinations for Bolivian products in descending order are: Peru, China, Colombia, United States, United Arab Emirates, Japan and South Korea. By economic blocs, the sale of merchandise from Bolivia has Mercosur as its main destination due to its geographical proximity, which is followed by Nafta and the CAN.
Imports in CIF terms totaled 7,605 million dollars in 2011, a higher amount compared to 2010. In recent years, increases have been recorded in imports of intermediate goods for industrial and construction purposes (14%), capital for productive growth and transportation (30%) and consumption (26%). Also notable is the increase in the import of fuels (diesel, kerosene and lubricants) to supply the domestic market, especially the agroindustrial sector.
With the increase in exports, the amount of deposits in foreign
currency and gold--called Net International Reserves (RIN)--controlled
by the Central Bank of Bolivia increased from 1,085 million dollars in
the year 2000 (government of Hugo Banzer Suárez ) to 15,123 million
dollars at the end of 2014 in the government of Evo Morales. The
decrease in the RIN starting in 2015 is due to the decrease in the value
of exports, an increase in imports and the use of these resources by the
government to cover the fiscal deficit.
The monetary sphere of Bolivia has been characterized in recent years by a significant expansion of monetary aggregates as a consequence of the increase in international reserves and the replacement of the dollar by the Bolivian in commercial practices. The historical milestone represented by these figures achieved by the government of Evo Morales allowed Bolivia to rise in the international credit rating.
Tourism is mainly concentrated in La Paz, with 46.5%; Santa Cruz de
la Sierra 28.3% and Cochabamba 8%, which add up to 82.2% of
international inbound tourism. While internal tourism was directed to
Santa Cruz with 28.7%; La Paz 23.6% and Cochabamba 15.4%, which
accounted for 67.9% of the total displacements of Bolivians in the
By the end of 2010, more than 1.7 million foreign visitors were expected to arrive in Bolivia. There are already hundreds of thousands of Bolivians who work in jobs directly or indirectly related to tourism: hotels, inns, restaurants, nightlife centers, passenger transportation, airlines, souvenir making, etc. However, two problems persist that prevent comprehensive development of the activity:
Political unrest: the internal upheaval of recent years, with numerous deaths, has damaged the country's image abroad
Poor land communications: except for the roads that link the three main cities, La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia's road network is in poor condition.
Bolivia contains diverse ecosystems and soils throughout its territory, and tourism covers all areas of the country from the Altiplano, with numerous mountains and hills at more than 6000 m above sea level. n. m. and desert landscapes, to the Llanos region, with a tropical climate and exuberant vegetation. The extensive territory of the country is endowed with great tourist attractions, both historical and natural.
The Andean region stands out as a favorite center for foreign tourists. They are attracted by a region full of mountains, some relatively easy for mountaineering, such as Huayna Potosí, near the city of La Paz.
The Tiwanaku ruins are some of the most important in South America. Madidi National Park is considered by National Geographic as a region rich in biodiversity. Lake Titicaca, often called the lake that wished to be the sea, is the highest navigable lake in the world and the legendary birthplace of the Inca Empire.
The Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, located in the department of Santa Cruz, was declared a Natural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. The impressive beauty of the landscape, as well as the varied and abundant animal life and the botanical interest they contain, have turned this place into one of the most beautiful tourist centers in the country. The country also has Jesuit missions, which are still active and preserved, unlike those in Argentina, Brazil or Paraguay.
Cerro Rico in the city of Potosí was, in its time, the most important silver vein known. UNESCO declared this hill and the city of Potosí a World Heritage Site for presenting numerous colonial-style buildings, such as the Mint, from which silver coins were minted outwards.
The Uyuni salt flat, often described as a sea made of salt,171 is the largest continuous salt flat on Earth, and has the largest lithium reserve in the world. Near the area there are other tourist attractions such as the colored lagoons such as Colorada and Verde, in the southwest of Bolivia.
The city of Sucre, Capital of the Plurinational State, the oldest city in the country, which was also named a World Heritage Site, city of the four names, with unparalleled colonial, classical and republican architecture, in addition to the Bolivian Independence Hall.
Mountaineering is practiced in various places in the country within the Andes. Bolivia has around a thousand peaks at more than 5000 m above sea level, of which at least twelve exceed 6000 above sea level.; spread across four mountain ranges, such as the Cordillera Real, the main area for practicing mountain sports in the country, and the Apolobamba mountain range, in the northwest. The Chacaltaya ski slope is the highest in the world.
The city of Tupiza, called "The Beautiful Jewel of Bolivia, nestled in a beautiful valley surrounded by red hills, incredible landscapes, and its culture, attracts foreign tourists all year round.
Bolivia has numerous roads and paths, some dating back to the time of the Incas. Most of the most important routes begin around La Paz, cross the Cordillera Real and end in the tropical region of Los Yungas. The most popular and recommended trails are those called Choro, Takesi, Yunga Cruz, Mapiri, Camino de Oro, Circuito Illampu and Apolobamba.
The electricity generated in Bolivia comes from hydroelectric plants
(42%) and thermoelectric plants (58%). The energy balance of 2008 was
positive with a generation of the National Interconnected System (SIN)
of 5,372 GWh and a national consumption of 5,138 GWh. The hydroelectric
potential is 39,850 MW, which can be exported to neighboring countries.
Bolivia had the second largest natural gas basin in South America (after Venezuela) and was the 30th largest basin worldwide, with a total of 750,400 million cubic meters at the beginning of 2009. In 2011, proven reserves declined to a quarter and had 281,500 million cubic meters after Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, Peru and Argentina in Latin America.
There are also solar and wind energy collection facilities, although to a lesser extent than the first.
Bolivia produces up to 35 million cubic meters of gas per day, which it exports almost entirely to Brazil and Argentina, and has committed to pumping another 20 million cubic meters to the Argentine market starting in 2010.
Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) also plans to supply at least eight million cubic meters of gas for the El Mutún steel complex, in the southeastern corner of the country, while seeking to open the markets of Paraguay and Uruguay.
It is estimated that the change in the coming years will increase availabilities to approximately 200 or 300 trillion cubic feet, which will place the country in first place, with the additional advantage that Bolivian gas is free of liquids.
Gas activity is the main source of foreign currency in the Bolivian economy, since it is mainly exported to Argentina and Brazil, with the latter having a sales contract for 30 million cubic feet per day for 21 years.
In March 2014, a wind farm was inaugurated in Qollpana, Department of Cochabamba, which contributes three megawatts of electricity.
Bolivia's transportation network is divided into:
Made up of four international airports: Viru Viru International Airport in Santa Cruz, Jorge Wilstermann International Airport in Cochabamba, El Alto International Airport in La Paz and Juan Mendoza in Oruro. There are also about 1,061 small air terminals and airfields with paved or dirt runways located in different locations in the country. The main national airlines are Amaszonas, Ecojet and Boliviana de Aviación (BOA). The annual passenger flow is more than 2.3 million.
Around 10,000 km of commercially navigable waterways. Highlights include: the Ichilo-Mamoré Axis in the Amazon Basin, the Paraguay-Paraná Waterway in the Plata Basin and the lake trade of Puerto Guaqui in the Endorheic Basin. Bolivia has navigation agreements with Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay that allow the country's commercial cargo to be transported to the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.
Made up of road and rail transport. Both represent around 92% of passenger transport and 85% of cargo transport. The highway road system has a length of 67,076 km administratively divided into: Fundamental Network (Bolivian Highway Administration), Departmental Network (Departmental Autonomous Governments) and Municipal Network (Municipal Autonomous Governments). 49% of the total roads are paved, and 50% of the fundamental network is paved. The rest is dirt or gravel. The geographical location of the country allows it to be the center of integration corridors such as the East-West Bioceanic Corridor that links Brazil (Cuiabá, Brasilia and Santos) with Chile (Arica and Iquique) and Peru (Ilo and Tacna). For its part, the railway system has a length of more than 3,700 km divided into the Eastern Network, which connects Bolivia with Brazil and Argentina, and the Western Network, which integrates the country with Peru, Argentina and Chile.
Bolivia has a telecommunications system that covers most of the
territory. There are more than 846,000 landline telephone lines and more
than 7,201,000 mobile telephone subscribers. The number of internet
users exceeds 560,000. Internet penetration is one of the lowest in the
region 4.4 %.
In December 2013, Bolivia's first space satellite was launched into orbit, called TKSAT-1 "Túpac Katari" with a geostationary orbit at the position 87.2° West. To date, it transmits national as well as international TV and radio signals using the DTH system and Internet throughout the country, it will also serve for other forms of telecommunications.
Television and radio are the main means of communication in the country. There are about 48 television stations and 321 radio stations at the national and regional levels. The main television networks in the country are the state-owned Bolivia TV, and the private ones Red Unitel, Red ATB, Red UNO, Red PAT, Bolivision, RTP (Bolivia), Gigavisión and Cadena A. The main radio broadcasters are the private ones Fides, Panamericana , Radio FmBolivia, Erbol, WKM Radio, Activa, Loyola, La Red, Pio XII, Éxito and the state-owned Patria Nueva.
The written press is concentrated in private regional newspapers that in some cases have national circulation. The main newspapers are El Diario (La Paz), El Deber (Santa Cruz), La Razón (La Paz), Página Siete (La Paz), Los Tiempos (Cochabamba), El Día (Santa Cruz), La Prensa (La Paz ), El Potosí (Potosí), El Alteño (El Alto), Correo del Sur (Sucre), Sureño (Tupiza) and Change of state character.