South America :: Bolivia

Introduction ::Bolivia

    Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; much of its subsequent history has consisted of a series of nearly 200 coups and countercoups. Democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production. In December 2005, Bolivians elected Movement Toward Socialism leader Evo MORALES president - by the widest margin of any leader since the restoration of civilian rule in 1982 - after he ran on a promise to change the country's traditional political class and empower the nation's poor, indigenous majority. However, since taking office, his controversial strategies have exacerbated racial and economic tensions between the Amerindian populations of the Andean west and the non-indigenous communities of the eastern lowlands. In December 2009, President MORALES easily won reelection, and his party took control of the legislative branch of the government, which will allow him to continue his process of change. In October 2011, the country held its first judicial elections to appoint judges to the four highest courts.

Geography ::Bolivia

    Central South America, southwest of Brazil
    17 00 S, 65 00 W
    total: 1,098,581 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 28
    land: 1,083,301 sq km
    water: 15,280 sq km
    slightly less than three times the size of Montana
    total: 6,940 km
    border countries: Argentina 832 km, Brazil 3,423 km, Chile 860 km, Paraguay 750 km, Peru 1,075 km
    0 km (landlocked)
    none (landlocked)
    varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid
    rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), hills, lowland plains of the Amazon Basin
    lowest point: Rio Paraguay 90 m
    highest point: Nevado Sajama 6,542 m
    tin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber, hydropower
    arable land: 3.49%
    permanent crops: 0.2%
    other: 96.31% (2011)
    1,282 sq km (2003)
    622.5 cu km (2011)
    total: 2.64 cu km/yr (25%/14%/61%)
    per capita: 305.8 cu m/yr (2005)
    flooding in the northeast (March to April)
    volcanism: volcanic activity in Andes Mountains on the border with Chile; historically active volcanoes in this region are Irruputuncu (elev. 5,163 m), which last erupted in 1995, and Olca-Paruma
    the clearing of land for agricultural purposes and the international demand for tropical timber are contributing to deforestation; soil erosion from overgrazing and poor cultivation methods (including slash-and-burn agriculture); desertification; loss of biodiversity; industrial pollution of water supplies used for drinking and irrigation
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
    landlocked; shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805 m), with Peru

People and Society ::Bolivia

    noun: Bolivian(s)
    adjective: Bolivian
    Quechua 30%, mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 30%, Aymara 25%, white 15%
    Spanish (official) 60.7%, Quechua (official) 21.2%, Aymara (official) 14.6%, foreign languages 2.4%, other 1.2% (2001 census)
    Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant (Evangelical Methodist) 5%
    Bolivia ranks at or near the bottom among Latin American countries in several areas of health and development, including poverty, education, fertility, malnutrition, mortality, and life expectancy. On the positive side, more children are being vaccinated and more pregnant women are getting prenatal care and having skilled health practitioners attend their births. Bolivia's income inequality is the highest in Latin America and one of the highest in the world. Public education is of poor quality, and educational opportunities are among the most unevenly distributed in Latin America, with girls and indigenous and rural children less likely to be literate or to complete primary school. The lack of access to education and family planning services helps to sustain Bolivia's high fertility rate - approximately three children per woman. Bolivia's lack of clean water and basic sanitation, especially in rural areas, contributes to health problems.
    Almost 7% of Bolivia's population lives abroad, primarily to work in Argentina, Brazil, Spain, and the United States. In recent years, more restrictive immigration policies in Europe and the United States have increased the flow of Bolivian emigrants to neighboring Argentina and Brazil.
    10,461,053 (July 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    0-14 years: 33.8% (male 1,800,381/female 1,733,366)
    15-24 years: 19.9% (male 1,053,952/female 1,028,169)
    25-54 years: 35.9% (male 1,825,535/female 1,928,945)
    55-64 years: 5.6% (male 272,980/female 311,312)
    65 years and over: 4.8% (male 223,933/female 282,480) (2013 est.)
    total dependency ratio: 66 %
    youth dependency ratio: 57.9 %
    elderly dependency ratio: 8.1 %
    potential support ratio: 12.3 (2013)
    total: 23.1 years
    male: 22.3 years
    female: 23.8 years (2013 est.)
    1.63% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    23.77 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    6.67 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    -0.76 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    urban population: 67% of total population (2010)
    rate of urbanization: 2.2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    LA PAZ (capital) 1.715 million; Santa Cruz 1.584 million; Sucre 307,000 (2011)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
    21.2
    note: Median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2008 est.)
    180 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    total: 39.76 deaths/1,000 live births
    country comparison to the world: 58
    male: 43.44 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 35.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total population: 68.22 years
    country comparison to the world: 161
    male: 65.47 years
    female: 71.11 years (2013 est.)
    2.87 children born/woman (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    60.5% (2008)
    4.8% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    1.22 physicians/1,000 population (2001)
    1.1 beds/1,000 population (2009)
    improved:
    urban: 96% of population
    rural: 71% of population
    total: 88% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 4% of population
    rural: 29% of population
    total: 12% of population (2010 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 35% of population
    rural: 10% of population
    total: 27% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 65% of population
    rural: 90% of population
    total: 73% of population (2010 est.)
    0.2% (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    12,000 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    degree of risk: very high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever (2013)
    17.9% (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    4.5% (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    7.6% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 91.2%
    male: 95.8%
    female: 86.8% (2009 est.)
    total: 14 years
    male: 14 years
    female: 13 years (2007)
    total number: 553,323
    percentage: 26 %
    note: data represents children ages 5-13 (2008 est.)
    total: 9.2%
    country comparison to the world: 113
    male: 7.3%
    female: 11.8% (2002)

Government ::Bolivia

    conventional long form: Plurinational State of Bolivia
    conventional short form: Bolivia
    local long form: Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia
    local short form: Bolivia
    republic; note - the new constitution defines Bolivia as a "Social Unitarian State"
    name: La Paz (administrative capital)
    geographic coordinates: 16 30 S, 68 09 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    note: Sucre (constitutional capital)
    9 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz, Tarija
    6 August 1825 (from Spain)
    Independence Day, 6 August (1825)
    7 February 2009
    civil law system with influences from Roman, Spanish, canon (religious), French, and indigenous law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age, universal and compulsory
    chief of state: President Juan Evo MORALES Ayma (since 22 January 2006); Vice President Alvaro GARCIA Linera (since 22 January 2006); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Juan Evo MORALES Ayma (since 22 January 2006); Vice President Alvaro GARCIA Linera (since 22 January 2006)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a five-year term and are eligible for re-election once; election last held on 6 December 2009 (next to be held in 2014)
    election results: Juan Evo MORALES Ayma reelected president; percent of vote - Juan Evo MORALES Ayma 64%; Manfred REYES VILLA 26%; Samuel DORIA MEDINA Arana 6%; Rene JOAQUINO 2%; other 2%
    bicameral Plurinational Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional consists of Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (36 seats; members are elected by proportional representation from party lists to serve five-year terms) and Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (130 seats total; 70 uninominal deputies directly elected from a single district, 7 "special" indigenous deputies directly elected from non-contiguous indigenous districts, and 53 plurinominal deputies elected by proportional representation from party lists; all deputies serve five-year terms)
    elections: Chamber of Senators and Chamber of Deputies - last held on 6 December 2009 (next to be held in 2014)
    election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MAS 26, PPB-CN 10; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MAS 89, PPB-CN 36, UN 3, AS 2; note - as of 15 February 2013, the current composition of the Chamber of Deputies is: MAS 88, PPB-CN 37, UN 3, AS 2
    highest court(s): Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (consists of 12 judges); Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal (consists of 7 primary and 7 alternate magistrates); Plurinational Electoral Organ (consists of 7 members)
    note - the 2009 constitution reformed the procedure for selecting judicial officials for the Supreme Court, Constitutional Tribunal, and the Plurinational Electoral Organ by direct national vote, which occurred in October 2011
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal judges elected by popular vote from list of candidates pre-selected by Plurinational Legislative Assembly for 6-year terms); Plurinational Electoral Organ members - 6 judges elected by the Assembly and 1 appointed by the president; judges and members serve 6-year terms
    subordinate courts: Agro-Environmental Court; Council of the Judiciary; District Courts (in each of the 9 administrative departments)
    Bacada Indigena or BI
    Bolivia-National Convergence or PPB-CN [Adrian OLIVA]
    Fearless Movement or MSM [Juan DE GRANADO Cosio]
    Movement Toward Socialism or MAS [Juan Evo MORALES Ayma]
    National Unity or UN [Samuel DORIA MEDINA Arana]
    People or Gente [Roman LOAYZA]
    Social Alliance or AS [Rene JOAQUINO]
    Bolivian Workers Central or COB
    Federation of Neighborhood Councils of El Alto or FEJUVE
    Landless Movement or MST
    National Coordinator for Change or CONALCAM
    Sole Confederation of Campesino Workers of Bolivia or CSUTCB
    other: Cocalero groups; indigenous organizations (including Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Eastern Bolivia or CIDOB and National Council of Ayullus and Markas of Quollasuyu or CONAMAQ); Interculturales union or CSCIB; labor unions (including the Central Bolivian Workers' Union or COB and Cooperative Miners Federation or FENCOMIN)
    CAN, CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Freddy BERSATTI Tudela
    chancery: 3014 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 483-4410
    FAX: [1] (202) 328-3712
    consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, Miami, New York
    note: as of September 2008, the US has expelled the Bolivian ambassador to the US
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Larry MEMMOTT
    embassy: Avenida Arce 2780, Casilla 425, La Paz
    mailing address: P. O. Box 425, La Paz; APO AA 34032
    telephone: [591] (2) 216-8000
    FAX: [591] (2) 216-8111
    note: in September 2008, the Bolivian Government expelled the US Ambassador to Bolivia, and the countries have yet to reinstate ambassadors
    three equal horizontal bands of red (top), yellow, and green with the coat of arms centered on the yellow band; red stands for bravery and the blood of national heroes, yellow for the nation's mineral resources, and green for the fertility of the land
    note: similar to the flag of Ghana, which has a large black five-pointed star centered in the yellow band; in 2009, a presidential decree made it mandatory for a so-called wiphala - a square, multi-colored flag representing the country's indigenous peoples - to be used alongside the traditional flag
    llama; Andean condor
    name: "Cancion Patriotica" (Patriotic Song)

    lyrics/music: Jose Ignacio de SANJINES/Leopoldo Benedetto VINCENTI
    note: adopted 1852

Economy ::Bolivia

    Bolivia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America. Following a disastrous economic crisis during the early 1980s, reforms spurred private investment, stimulated economic growth, and cut poverty rates in the 1990s. The period 2003-05 was characterized by political instability, racial tensions, and violent protests against plans - subsequently abandoned - to export Bolivia's newly discovered natural gas reserves to large Northern Hemisphere markets. In 2005, the government passed a controversial hydrocarbons law that imposed significantly higher royalties and required foreign firms then operating under risk-sharing contracts to surrender all production to the state energy company in exchange for a predetermined service fee. The global recession slowed growth, but Bolivia recorded the highest growth rate in South America during 2009. During 2010-12 high world commodity prices sustained rapid growth and large trade surpluses. However, a lack of foreign investment in the key sectors of mining and hydrocarbons, along with growing conflict among social groups pose challenges for the Bolivian economy.
    $56.14 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    $53.34 billion (2011 est.)
    $50.72 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $27.43 billion (2012 est.)
    5.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    5.2% (2011 est.)
    4.1% (2010 est.)
    $5,200 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 157
    $5,000 (2011 est.)
    $4,900 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    25.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    28.4% of GDP (2011 est.)
    21.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 60.6%
    government consumption: 13.7%
    investment in fixed capital: 18.3%
    investment in inventories: -1.5%
    exports of goods and services: 46.9%
    imports of goods and services: -38.1%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 9.6%
    industry: 38.3%
    services: 52.1% (2012 est.)
    soybeans, coffee, coca, cotton, corn, sugarcane, rice, potatoes; Brazil nuts; timber
    mining, smelting, petroleum, food and beverages, tobacco, handicrafts, clothing, jewelry
    5.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    4.718 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    agriculture: 32%
    industry: 20%
    services: 48% (2010 est.)
    7.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    5.7% (2011 est.)
    note: data are for urban areas; widespread underemployment
    49.6%
    note: based on percent of population living on less than the international standard of $2/day (2010 est.)
    lowest 10%: 1%
    highest 10%: 45.4% (2007)
    53 (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    57.9 (1999)
    revenues: $12.64 billion
    expenditures: $12.17 billion (2012 est.)
    46.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    1.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    34.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    36.5% of GDP (2011 est.)
    note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities
    calendar year
    4.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    9.9% (2011 est.)
    4% (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    3% (31 December 2010 est.)
    11.14% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    10.92% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $7.32 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 88
    $6.13 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $17.13 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    $14.25 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    $9.044 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    $7.633 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $7.69 billion (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    $6.089 billion (31 December 2011)
    $3.915 billion (31 December 2010)
    $271.8 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    $537.2 million (2011 est.)
    $10.65 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    $8.332 billion (2011 est.)
    natural gas, soybeans and soy products, crude petroleum, zinc ore, tin
    Brazil 40.3%, US 17.7%, Argentina 7.7%, Peru 5.3% (2012)
    $7.653 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    $7.126 billion (2011 est.)
    petroleum products, plastics, paper, aircraft and aircraft parts, prepared foods, automobiles, insecticides
    Chile 20.8%, Brazil 19.9%, Argentina 11.7%, US 9.9%, Peru 7.1%, Venezuela 6%, China 4.8% (2012)
    $13.93 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    $12.02 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $7.007 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    $6.474 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $8.81 billion (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    $7.75 billion (31 December 2011)
    $8 million (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    $21 million (31 December 2010)
    bolivianos (BOB) per US dollar -
    6.96 (2012 est.)
    6.9875 (2011 est.)
    7.0167 (2010 est.)
    7.07 (2009)
    7.253 (2008)

Energy ::Bolivia

Communications ::Bolivia

    879,000 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    8.355 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    general assessment: Bolivian National Telecommunications Company was privatized in 1995 but re-nationalized in 2007; the primary trunk system is being expanded and employs digital microwave radio relay; some areas are served by fiber-optic cable; system operations, reliability, and coverage have steadily improved.
    domestic: most telephones are concentrated in La Paz, Santa Cruz, and other capital cities; mobile-cellular telephone use expanding rapidly and, in 2011, teledensity reached about 80 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 591; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2011)
    large number of radio and TV stations broadcasting with private media outlets dominating; state-owned and private radio and TV stations generally operating freely, although both pro-government and anti-government groups have attacked media outlets in response to their reporting (2010)
    .bo
    180,988 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    1.103 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 95

Transportation ::Bolivia

    855 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    total: 21
    over 3,047 m: 5
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
    914 to 1,523 m: 6 (2013)
    total: 834
    over 3,047 m: 1
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 47
    914 to 1,523 m: 151
    under 914 m:
    631 (2013)
    gas 5,457 km; liquid petroleum gas 51 km; oil 2,511 km; refined products 1,627 km (2013)
    total: 3,652 km
    country comparison to the world: 46
    narrow gauge: 3,652 km 1.000-m gauge (2010)
    total: 80,488 km
    country comparison to the world: 60
    paved: 11,993 km
    unpaved: 68,495 km (2010)
    10,000 km (commercially navigable almost exclusively in the northern and eastern parts of the country) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    total: 18
    country comparison to the world: 98
    by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 14, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 2
    foreign-owned: 5 (Syria 4, UK 1, (2010)
    river port(s): Puerto Aguirre (Paraguay/Parana)
    note: Bolivia has free port privileges in maritime ports in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay

Military ::Bolivia

Transnational Issues ::Bolivia

    Chile and Peru rebuff Bolivia's reactivated claim to restore the Atacama corridor, ceded to Chile in 1884, but Chile offers instead unrestricted but not sovereign maritime access through Chile for Bolivian natural gas; contraband smuggling, human trafficking, and illegal narcotic trafficking are problems in the porous areas of the border with Argentina
    world's third-largest cultivator of coca (after Colombia and Peru) with an estimated 35,000 hectares under cultivation in 2009, an increase of ten percent over 2008; third largest producer of cocaine, estimated at 195 metric tons potential pure cocaine in 2009, a 70 percent increase over 2006; transit country for Peruvian and Colombian cocaine destined for Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Europe; weak border controls; some money-laundering activity related to narcotics trade; major cocaine consumption (2008)