Context of Bolivia
Bolivia, officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. It is bordered by Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay to the southeast, Argentina to the south, Chile to the southwest and Peru to the west. The seat of government and executive capital is La Paz, while the constitutional capital is Sucre. The largest city and principal industrial center is Santa Cruz de la Sierra, located on the Llanos Orientales (tropical lowlands), a mostly flat region in the east of the country.
The sovereign state of Bolivia is a constitutionally unitary state, divided into nine departments. Its geography varies from the peaks of the Andes in the West, to the Eastern Lowlands, situated within the Amazon basin. One-third of the country is within the Andean mountain range. With 1,098,581 km2 (424,164 sq mi) of area, Bolivia is the fifth largest country in South America, after Brazil, A...Read more
Bolivia, officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. It is bordered by Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay to the southeast, Argentina to the south, Chile to the southwest and Peru to the west. The seat of government and executive capital is La Paz, while the constitutional capital is Sucre. The largest city and principal industrial center is Santa Cruz de la Sierra, located on the Llanos Orientales (tropical lowlands), a mostly flat region in the east of the country.
The sovereign state of Bolivia is a constitutionally unitary state, divided into nine departments. Its geography varies from the peaks of the Andes in the West, to the Eastern Lowlands, situated within the Amazon basin. One-third of the country is within the Andean mountain range. With 1,098,581 km2 (424,164 sq mi) of area, Bolivia is the fifth largest country in South America, after Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Colombia (and alongside Paraguay, one of the only two landlocked countries in the Americas), the 27th largest in the world, the largest landlocked country in the Southern Hemisphere, and the world's seventh largest landlocked country, after Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Chad, Niger, Mali, and Ethiopia.
The country's population, estimated at 12 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, Asians, and Africans. Spanish is the official and predominant language, although 36 indigenous languages also have official status, of which the most commonly spoken are Guarani, Aymara, and Quechua languages.
Before Spanish colonization, the Andean region of Bolivia was part of the Inca Empire, while the northern and eastern lowlands were inhabited by independent tribes. Spanish conquistadors arriving from Cusco and Asunción took control of the region in the 16th century. During the Spanish colonial period Bolivia was administered by the Real Audiencia of Charcas. Spain built its empire in large part upon the silver that was extracted from Bolivia's mines. After the first call for independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Republic, named for Simón Bolívar. Over the course of the 19th and early 20th century Bolivia lost control of several peripheral territories to neighboring countries including the seizure of its coastline by Chile in 1879. Bolivia remained relatively politically stable until 1971, when Hugo Banzer led a CIA-supported coup d'état which replaced the socialist government of Juan José Torres with a military dictatorship headed by Banzer. Banzer's regime cracked down on left-wing and socialist opposition and other forms of dissent, resulting in the torture and deaths of a number of Bolivian citizens. Banzer was ousted in 1978 and later returned as the democratically elected president of Bolivia from 1997 to 2001. Under the 2006–2019 presidency of Evo Morales the country saw significant economic growth and political stability.
Modern Bolivia is a charter member of the UN, IMF, NAM, OAS, ACTO, Bank of the South, ALBA, and USAN. Bolivia remains the second poorest country in South America, though it has slashed poverty rates and has the fastest growing economy in South America (in terms of GDP). It is a developing country. Its main economic activities include agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, and manufacturing goods such as textiles, clothing, refined metals, and refined petroleum. Bolivia is very rich in minerals, including tin, silver, lithium, and copper.
More about Bolivia
- Currency Bolivian boliviano
- Native name Bolivia
- Calling code +591
- Internet domain .bo
- Mains voltage 230V/50Hz
- Democracy index 5.08
- Population 11051600
- Area 1098581
- Driving side right
The region now known as Bolivia had been occupied for over 2,500 years when the Aymara arrived....Read morePre-colonialRead less
The region now known as Bolivia had been occupied for over 2,500 years when the Aymara arrived. However, present-day Aymara associate themselves with the ancient civilization of the Tiwanaku Empire which had its capital at Tiwanaku, in Western Bolivia. The capital city of Tiwanaku dates from as early as 1500 BC when it was a small, agriculturally-based village.
The Aymara community grew to urban proportions between AD 600 and AD 800, becoming an important regional power in the southern Andes. According to early estimates,[when?] the city covered approximately 6.5 square kilometers (2.5 square miles) at its maximum extent and had between 15,000 and 30,000 inhabitants. In 1996 satellite imaging was used to map the extent of fossilized suka kollus (flooded raised fields) across the three primary valleys of Tiwanaku, arriving at population-carrying capacity estimates of anywhere between 285,000 and 1,482,000 people.
Around AD 400, Tiwanaku went from being a locally dominant force to a predatory state. Tiwanaku expanded its reaches into the Yungas and brought its culture and way of life to many other cultures in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. Tiwanaku was not a violent culture in many respects. In order to expand its reach, Tiwanaku exercised great political astuteness, creating colonies, fostering trade agreements (which made the other cultures rather dependent), and instituting state cults.
The empire continued to grow with no end in sight. William H. Isbell states "Tiahuanaco underwent a dramatic transformation between AD 600 and 700 that established new monumental standards for civic architecture and greatly increased the resident population." Tiwanaku continued to absorb cultures rather than eradicate them. Archaeologists note a dramatic adoption of Tiwanaku ceramics into the cultures which became part of the Tiwanaku empire. Tiwanaku's power was further solidified through the trade it implemented among the cities within its empire.
Tiwanaku's elites gained their status through the surplus food they controlled, collected from outlying regions, and then redistributed to the general populace. Further, this elite's control of llama herds became a powerful control mechanism, as llamas were essential for carrying goods between the civic center and the periphery. These herds also came to symbolize class distinctions between the commoners and the elites. Through this control and manipulation of surplus resources, the elite's power continued to grow until about AD 950. At this time, a dramatic shift in climate occurred, causing a significant drop in precipitation in the Titicaca Basin, believed by archaeologists to have been on the scale of a major drought.
As the rainfall decreased, many of the cities farther away from Lake Titicaca began to tender fewer foodstuffs to the elites. As the surplus of food decreased, and thus the amount available to underpin their power, the control of the elites began to falter. The capital city became the last place viable for food production due to the resiliency of the raised field method of agriculture. Tiwanaku disappeared around AD 1000 because food production, the main source of the elites' power, dried up. The area remained uninhabited for centuries thereafter.
Between 1438 and 1527, the Inca empire expanded from its capital at Cusco, Peru. It gained control over much of what is now Andean Bolivia and extended its control into the fringes of the Amazon basin.Colonial period
The Spanish conquest of the Inca empire began in 1524 and was mostly completed by 1533. The territory now called Bolivia was known as Charcas, and was under the authority of the Viceroy of Peru in Lima. Local government came from the Audiencia de Charcas located in Chuquisaca (La Plata—modern Sucre). Founded in 1545 as a mining town, Potosí soon produced fabulous wealth, becoming the largest city in the New World with a population exceeding 150,000 people.
By the late 16th century, Bolivian silver was an important source of revenue for the Spanish Empire. A steady stream of natives served as labor force under the brutal, slave conditions of the Spanish version of the pre-Columbian draft system called the mita. Charcas was transferred to the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776 and the people from Buenos Aires, the capital of the Viceroyalty, coined the term "Upper Peru" (Spanish: Alto Perú) as a popular reference to the Royal Audiencia of Charcas. Túpac Katari led the indigenous rebellion that laid siege to La Paz in March 1781, during which 20,000 people died. As Spanish royal authority weakened during the Napoleonic wars, sentiment against colonial rule grew.Independence and subsequent wars
The struggle for independence started in the city of Sucre on 25 May 1809 and the Chuquisaca Revolution (Chuquisaca was then the name of the city) is known as the first cry of Freedom in Latin America. That revolution was followed by the La Paz revolution on 16 July 1809. The La Paz revolution marked a complete split with the Spanish government, while the Chuquisaca Revolution established a local independent junta in the name of the Spanish King deposed by Napoleon Bonaparte. Both revolutions were short-lived and defeated by the Spanish authorities in the Viceroyalty of the Rio de La Plata, but the following year the Spanish American wars of independence raged across the continent.
Bolivia was captured and recaptured many times during the war by the royalists and patriots. Buenos Aires sent three military campaigns, all of which were defeated, and eventually limited itself to protecting the national borders at Salta. Bolivia was finally freed of Royalist dominion by Marshal Antonio José de Sucre, with a military campaign coming from the North in support of the campaign of Simón Bolívar. After 16 years of war the Republic was proclaimed on 6 August 1825.
In 1836, Bolivia, under the rule of Marshal Andrés de Santa Cruz, invaded Peru to reinstall the deposed president, General Luis José de Orbegoso. Peru and Bolivia formed the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, with de Santa Cruz as the Supreme Protector. Following tension between the Confederation and Chile, Chile declared war on 28 December 1836. Argentina separately declared war on the Confederation on 9 May 1837. The Peruvian-Bolivian forces achieved several major victories during the War of the Confederation: the defeat of the Argentine expedition and the defeat of the first Chilean expedition on the fields of Paucarpata near the city of Arequipa. The Chilean army and its Peruvian rebel allies surrendered unconditionally and signed the Paucarpata Treaty. The treaty stipulated that Chile would withdraw from Peru-Bolivia, Chile would return captured Confederate ships, economic relations would be normalized, and the Confederation would pay Peruvian debt to Chile. However, the Chilean government and public rejected the peace treaty. Chile organized a second attack on the Confederation and defeated it in the Battle of Yungay. After this defeat, Santa Cruz resigned and went to exile in Ecuador and then Paris, and the Peruvian-Bolivian Confederation was dissolved.
Following the renewed independence of Peru, Peruvian president General Agustín Gamarra invaded Bolivia. On 18 November 1841, the battle de Ingavi took place, in which the Bolivian Army defeated the Peruvian troops of Gamarra (killed in the battle). After the victory, Bolivia invaded Perú on several fronts. The eviction of the Bolivian troops from the south of Peru would be achieved by the greater availability of material and human resources of Peru; the Bolivian Army did not have enough troops to maintain an occupation. In the district of Locumba – Tacna, a column of Peruvian soldiers and peasants defeated a Bolivian regiment in the so-called Battle of Los Altos de Chipe (Locumba). In the district of Sama and in Arica, the Peruvian colonel José María Lavayén organized a troop that managed to defeat the Bolivian forces of Colonel Rodríguez Magariños and threaten the port of Arica. In the battle of Tarapacá on 7 January 1842, Peruvian militias formed by the commander Juan Buendía defeated a detachment led by Bolivian colonel José María García, who died in the confrontation. Bolivian troops left Tacna, Arica and Tarapacá in February 1842, retreating towards Moquegua and Puno. The battles of Motoni and Orurillo forced the withdrawal of Bolivian forces occupying Peruvian territory and exposed Bolivia to the threat of counter-invasion. The Treaty of Puno was signed on 7 June 1842, ending the war. However, the climate of tension between Lima and La Paz would continue until 1847, when the signing of a Peace and Trade Treaty became effective.
The estimated population of the main three cities in 1843 was La Paz 300,000, Cochabamba 250,000 and Potosi 200,000.
A period of political and economic instability in the early-to-mid-19th century weakened Bolivia. In addition, during the War of the Pacific (1879–83), Chile occupied vast territories rich in natural resources south west of Bolivia, including the Bolivian coast. Chile took control of today's Chuquicamata area, the adjoining rich salitre (saltpeter) fields, and the port of Antofagasta among other Bolivian territories.
Since independence, Bolivia has lost over half of its territory to neighboring countries. Through diplomatic channels in 1909, it lost the basin of the Madre de Dios River and the territory of the Purus in the Amazon, yielding 250,000 km2 to Peru. It also lost the state of Acre, in the Acre War, important because this region was known for its production of rubber. Peasants and the Bolivian army fought briefly but after a few victories, and facing the prospect of a total war against Brazil, it was forced to sign the Treaty of Petrópolis in 1903, in which Bolivia lost this rich territory. Popular myth has it that Bolivian president Mariano Melgarejo (1864–71) traded the land for what he called "a magnificent white horse" and Acre was subsequently flooded by Brazilians, which ultimately led to confrontation and fear of war with Brazil.
In the late 19th century, an increase in the world price of silver brought Bolivia relative prosperity and political stability.Early 20th century
During the early 20th century, tin replaced silver as the country's most important source of wealth. A succession of governments controlled by the economic and social elite followed laissez-faire capitalist policies through the first 30 years of the 20th century.
Living conditions of the native people, who constitute most of the population, remained deplorable. With work opportunities limited to primitive conditions in the mines and in large estates having nearly feudal status, they had no access to education, economic opportunity, and political participation. Bolivia's defeat by Paraguay in the Chaco War (1932–1935), where Bolivia lost a great part of the Gran Chaco region in dispute, marked a turning-point.
On 7 April 1943, Bolivia entered World War II, joining part of the Allies, which caused president Enrique Peñaranda to declare war on the Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan.
The Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (MNR), the most historic political party, emerged as a broad-based party. Denied its victory in the 1951 presidential elections, the MNR led a successful revolution in 1952. Under President Víctor Paz Estenssoro, the MNR, having strong popular pressure, introduced universal suffrage into his political platform and carried out a sweeping land-reform promoting rural education and nationalization of the country's largest tin mines.Late 20th century
Twelve years of tumultuous rule left the MNR divided. In 1964, a military junta overthrew President Estenssoro at the outset of his third term. The 1969 death of President René Barrientos Ortuño, a former member of the junta who was elected president in 1966, led to a succession of weak governments. Alarmed by the rising Popular Assembly and the increase in the popularity of President Juan José Torres, the military, the MNR, and others installed Colonel (later General) Hugo Banzer Suárez as president in 1971. He returned to the presidency in 1997 through 2001. Juan José Torres, who had fled Bolivia, was kidnapped and assassinated in 1976 as part of Operation Condor, the U.S.-supported campaign of political repression by South American right-wing dictators.
The United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) financed and trained the Bolivian military dictatorship in the 1960s. The revolutionary leader Che Guevara was killed by a team of CIA officers and members of the Bolivian Army on 9 October 1967, in Bolivia. Félix Rodríguez was a CIA officer on the team with the Bolivian Army that captured and shot Guevara. Rodriguez said that after he received a Bolivian presidential execution order, he told "the soldier who pulled the trigger to aim carefully, to remain consistent with the Bolivian government's story that Che had been killed in action during a clash with the Bolivian army." Rodriguez said the US government had wanted Che in Panama, and "I could have tried to falsify the command to the troops, and got Che to Panama as the US government said they had wanted", but that he had chosen to "let history run its course" as desired by Bolivia.
Elections in 1979 and 1981 were inconclusive and marked by fraud. There were coups d'état, counter-coups, and caretaker governments. In 1980, General Luis García Meza Tejada carried out a ruthless and violent coup d'état that did not have popular support. The Bolivian Workers' Center, which tried to resist the putsch, was violently repressed. More than a thousand people were killed in less than a year. Cousin of one of the most important narco-trafficker of the country, Luis García Meza Tejada favors the production of cocaine. He pacified the people by promising to remain in power only for one year. At the end of the year, he staged a televised rally to claim popular support and announced, "Bueno, me quedo", or, "All right; I'll stay [in office]". After a military rebellion forced out Meza in 1981, three other military governments in 14 months struggled with Bolivia's growing problems. Unrest forced the military to convoke the Congress, elected in 1980, and allow it to choose a new chief executive. In October 1982, Hernán Siles Zuazo again became president, 22 years after the end of his first term of office (1956–1960).Democratic transition
In 1993, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada was elected president in alliance with the Tupac Katari Revolutionary Liberation Movement, which inspired indigenous-sensitive and multicultural-aware policies. Sánchez de Lozada pursued an aggressive economic and social reform agenda. The most dramatic reform was privatization under the "capitalization" program, under which investors, typically foreign, acquired 50% ownership and management control of public enterprises in return for agreed upon capital investments. In 1993, Sanchez de Lozada introduced the Plan de Todos, which led to the decentralization of government, introduction of intercultural bilingual education, implementation of agrarian legislation, and privatization of state owned businesses. The plan explicitly stated that Bolivian citizens would own a minimum of 51% of enterprises; under the plan, most state-owned enterprises (SOEs), though not mines, were sold. This privatization of SOEs led to a neoliberal structuring.
The reforms and economic restructuring were strongly opposed by certain segments of society, which instigated frequent and sometimes violent protests, particularly in La Paz and the Chapare coca-growing region, from 1994 through 1996. The indigenous population of the Andean region was not able to benefit from government reforms. During this time, the umbrella labor-organization of Bolivia, the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB), became increasingly unable to effectively challenge government policy. A teachers' strike in 1995 was defeated because the COB could not marshal the support of many of its members, including construction and factory workers.1997–2002 General Banzer Presidency
In the 1997 elections, General Hugo Banzer, leader of the Nationalist Democratic Action party (ADN) and former dictator (1971–1978), won 22% of the vote, while the MNR candidate won 18%. At the outset of his government, President Banzer launched a policy of using special police-units to eradicate physically the illegal coca of the Chapare region. The MIR of Jaime Paz Zamora remained a coalition-partner throughout the Banzer government, supporting this policy (called the Dignity Plan). The Banzer government basically continued the free-market and privatization-policies of its predecessor. The relatively robust economic growth of the mid-1990s continued until about the third year of its term in office. After that, regional, global and domestic factors contributed to a decline in economic growth. Financial crises in Argentina and Brazil, lower world prices for export commodities, and reduced employment in the coca sector depressed the Bolivian economy. The public also perceived a significant amount of public sector corruption. These factors contributed to increasing social protests during the second half of Banzer's term.
Between January 1999 and April 2000, large-scale protests erupted in Cochabamba, Bolivia's third largest city at the time, in response to the privatization of water resources by foreign companies and a subsequent doubling of water prices. On 6 August 2001, Banzer resigned from office after being diagnosed with cancer. He died less than a year later. Vice President Jorge Fernando Quiroga Ramírez completed the final year of his term.2002–2005 Sánchez de Lozada / Mesa presidency
In the June 2002 national elections, former President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (MNR) placed first with 22.5% of the vote, followed by coca-advocate and native peasant-leader Evo Morales (Movement Toward Socialism, MAS) with 20.9%. A July agreement between the MNR and the fourth-place MIR, which had again been led in the election by former President Jaime Paz Zamora, virtually ensured the election of Sánchez de Lozada in the congressional run-off, and on 6 August he was sworn in for the second time. The MNR platform featured three overarching objectives: economic reactivation (and job creation), anti-corruption, and social inclusion.
In 2003 the Bolivian gas conflict broke out. On 12 October 2003, the government imposed martial law in El Alto after 16 people were shot by the police and several dozen wounded in violent clashes. Faced with the option of resigning or more bloodshed, Sánchez de Lozada offered his resignation in a letter to an emergency session of Congress. After his resignation was accepted and his vice president, Carlos Mesa, invested, he left on a commercially scheduled flight for the United States.
The country's internal situation became unfavorable for such political action on the international stage. After a resurgence of gas protests in 2005, Carlos Mesa attempted to resign in January 2005, but his offer was refused by Congress. On 22 March 2005, after weeks of new street protests from organizations accusing Mesa of bowing to U.S. corporate interests, Mesa again offered his resignation to Congress, which was accepted on 10 June. The chief justice of the Supreme Court, Eduardo Rodríguez, was sworn as interim president to succeed the outgoing Carlos Mesa.2005–2019 Morales PresidencyThe neutrality of this section is disputed.(September 2020)
Evo Morales won the 2005 presidential election with 53.7% of the votes in Bolivian elections. On 1 May 2006, Morales announced his intent to re-nationalize Bolivian hydrocarbon assets following protests which demanded this action. Fulfilling a campaign promise, on 6 August 2006, Morales opened the Bolivian Constituent Assembly to begin writing a new constitution aimed at giving more power to the indigenous majority.
In August 2007, a conflict which came to be known as The Calancha Case arose in Sucre.[undue weight? ] Local citizens demanded that an official discussion of the seat of government be included in the agenda of the full body of the Bolivian Constituent Assembly. The people of Sucre wanted to make Sucre the full capital of the country, including returning the executive and legislative branches to the city, but the government rejected the demand as impractical. Three people died in the conflict and as many as 500 were wounded. The result of the conflict was to include text in the constitution stating that the capital of Bolivia is officially Sucre, while leaving the executive and legislative branches in La Paz. In May 2008, Evo Morales was a signatory to the UNASUR Constitutive Treaty of the Union of South American Nations.
2009 marked the creation of a new constitution and the renaming of the country to the Plurinational State of Bolivia. The previous constitution did not allow a consecutive reelection of a president, but the new constitution allowed for just one reelection, starting the dispute if Evo Morales was enabled to run for a second term arguing he was elected under the last constitution. This also triggered a new general election in which Evo Morales was re-elected with 61.36% of the vote. His party, Movement for Socialism, also won a two-thirds majority in both houses of the National Congress. By 2013, after being reelected under the new constitution, Evo Morales and his party attempted a third term as President of Bolivia. The opposition argued that a third term would be unconstitutional but the Bolivian Constitutional Court ruled that Morales' first term under the previous constitution, did not count towards his term limit. This allowed Evo Morales to run for a third term in 2014, and he was re-elected with 64.22% of the vote. On 17 October 2015, Morales surpassed Andrés de Santa Cruz's nine years, eight months, and twenty-four days in office and became Bolivia's longest serving president. During his third term, Evo Morales began to plan for a fourth, and the 2016 Bolivian constitutional referendum asked voters to override the constitution and allow Evo Morales to run for an additional term in office. Morales narrowly lost the referendum, however in 2017 his party then petitioned the Bolivian Constitutional Court to override the constitution on the basis that the American Convention on Human Rights made term limits a human rights violation. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights determined that term limits are not a human rights violation in 2018, however, once again the Bolivian Constitutional Court ruled that Morales has permission to run for a fourth term in the 2019 elections, and this permission was not retracted. "[T]he country's highest court overruled the constitution, scrapping term limits altogether for every office. Morales can now run for a fourth term in 2019 – and for every election thereafter."
The revenues generated by the partial nationalization of hydrocarbons made it possible to finance several social measures: the Renta Dignidad (or old age minimum) for people over 60 years old; the Juana Azurduy voucher (named after the revolutionary Juana Azurduy de Padilla, 1780–1862), which ensures the complete coverage of medical expenses for pregnant women and their children in order to fight infant mortality; the Juancito Pinto voucher (named after a child hero of the Pacific War, 1879–1884), an aid paid until the end of secondary school to parents whose children are in school in order to combat school dropout, and the Single Health System, which since 2018 has offered all Bolivians free medical care.
The reforms adopted have made the Bolivian economic system the most successful and stable in the region. Between 2006 and 2019, GDP has grown from $9 billion to over $40 billion, real wages have increased, GDP per capita has tripled, foreign exchange reserves are on the rise, inflation has been essentially eliminated, and extreme poverty has fallen from 38% to 15%, a 23-point drop.Interim government 2019–2020
During the 2019 elections, the transmission of the unofficial quick counting process was interrupted; at the time, Morales had a lead of 46.86 percent to Mesa's 36.72, after 95.63 percent of tally sheets were counted. The Transmisión de Resultados Electorales Preliminares (TREP) is a quick count process used in Latin America as a transparency measure in electoral processes that is meant to provide a preliminary results on election day, and its shutdown without further explanation raised consternation among opposition politicians and certain election monitors. Two days after the interruption, the official count showed Morales fractionally clearing the 10-point margin he needed to avoid a runoff election, with the final official tally counted as 47.08 percent to Mesa's 36.51 percent, starting a wave of protests and tension in the country.
Amidst allegations of fraud perpetrated by the Morales government, widespread protests were organized to dispute the election. On 10 November, the Organization of American States (OAS) released a preliminary report concluding several irregularities in the election, though these findings were heavily disputed. The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) concluded that "it is very likely that Morales won the required 10 percentage point margin to win in the first round of the election on 20 October 2019." David Rosnick, an economist for CEPR, showed that "a basic coding error" was discovered in the OAS's data, which explained that the OAS had misused its own data when it ordered the time stamps on the tally sheets alphabetically rather than chronologically. However, the OAS stood by its findings arguing that the "researchers' work did not address many of the allegations mentioned in the OAS report, including the accusation that Bolivian officials maintained hidden servers that could have permitted the alteration of results". Additionally, observers from the European Union released a report with similar findings and conclusions as the OAS. The tech security company hired by the TSE (under the Morales administration) to audit the elections, also stated that there were multiple irregularities and violations of procedure and that "our function as an auditor security company is to declare everything that was found, and much of what was found supports the conclusion that the electoral process should be declared null and void". The New York Times reported on 7 June 2020 that the OAS analysis immediately after the 20 October election was flawed yet fuelled "a chain of events that changed the South American nation's history".
After weeks of protests, Morales resigned on national television shortly after the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces General Williams Kaliman had urged that he do so in order to restore "peace and stability". Morales flew to Mexico and was granted asylum there, along with his vice president and several other members of his government. Opposition Senator Jeanine Áñez's declared herself interim president, claiming constitutional succession after the president, vice president and both head of the legislature chambers. She was confirmed as interim president by the constitutional court who declared her succession to be constitutional and automatic. Morales, his supporters, the Governments of Mexico and Nicaragua, and other personalities argued the event was a coup d'état. However, local investigators and analysts pointed out that even after Morales' resignation and during all of Añez's term in office, the Chambers of Senators and Deputies were ruled by Morales' political party MAS, making it impossible to be a coup d'état, as such an event would not allow the original government to maintain legislative power. International politicians, scholars and journalists are divided between describing the event as a coup or a spontaneous social uprising against an unconstitutional fourth term.[excessive citations] Protests to reinstate Morales as president continued becoming highly violent: burning public buses and private houses, destroying public infrastructure and harming pedestrians. The protests were met with more violence by security forces against Morales supporters after Áñez exempted police and military from criminal responsibility in operations for "the restoration of order and public stability".
In April 2020, the interim government took out a loan of more than $327 million from the International Monetary Fund in order to meet the country's needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. . New elections were scheduled for 3 May 2020. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Bolivian electoral body, the TSE, made an announcement postponing the election. MAS reluctantly agreed with the first delay only. A date for the new election was delayed twice more, in the face of massive protests and violence. The final proposed date for the elections was 18 October 2020. Observers from the OAS, UNIORE, and the UN all reported that they found no fraudulent actions in the 2020 elections.
The general election had a record voter turnout of 88.4% and ended in a landslide win for MAS which took 55.1% of the votes compared to 28.8% for centrist former president Carlos Mesa. Both Mesa and Áñez conceded defeat. "I congratulate the winners and I ask them to govern with Bolivia and democracy in mind", Áñez said on Twitter.Government of Luis Arce: 2020–present
On 8 November 2020, Luis Arce was sworn in as President of Bolivia alongside his Vice President David Choquehuanca. In February 2021, the Arce government returned an amount of around $351 million to the IMF. This comprised a loan of $327 million taken out by the interim government in April 2020 and interest of around $24 million. The government said it returned the loan to protect Bolivia's economic sovereignty and because the conditions attached to the loan were unacceptable.
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- Stay safe Apply common sense and take precautions that apply elsewhere. All tourists should be careful when selecting a travel guide and never accept medication from unverifiable sources. Women tourists should be cautious when travelling alone. At night try to use radio taxis, as fake cabs are common and robbings and even rapes do occur. It is a good idea to register with the consulate of your country of residence upon entry into the country. And it is also helpful learn at least basic Spanish to keep yourself a little safe. When taking an interdepartmental bus (say from La Paz to Cochabamba), do not accept snacks or drinks from nearby passengers. Even though most likely they may just want to be nice, there have been instances that passengers being drugged and robbed during nighttime trips. Say "no, gracias". Always remain cautious and suspicious when approached by someone or get befriended by a stranger in the street. Bolivians are very closed towards foreigners. Even when you do business with them, e.g. buying something, they will rather prefer not to do so. Ask yourself, why would anyone even start a conversation with a tourist when their general mood is often far from friendly and open. There must be something wrong if it is not the owner of your hostel or another Westerner. You are better off to immediately walk away from such a situation, saying Lo siento. There are certainly better ways to find friends in Bolivia. In general, if you travel less touristy routes, you will mostly be safe, apart from general dangers like traffic. Criminals targeting tourists will mostly always be where they can expect a high supply. Waiting in the middle of nowhere for one tourist a month is not what they are looking for. Hence, if you enjoy authentic travel and experience, you will be safe at the same time. There are a lot of dogs on the streets in Bolivia, especially in smaller towns and villages. The dogs are generally friendly; they walk around and "sunbathe" near houses.The plain-clothed police officer scam
This seems to be rampant (but seldom) in this region and especially in cities like La Paz, Cochabamba and Sucre, basically everywhere where to expect larger amounts of tourists, but especially near plazas and in the center. In remote regions of Bolivia you should be safe from it, because the frequency of tourists to target is too low and travellers to such remote regions are generally more aware and firm with a country and travelling in general....Read moreStay safe Apply common sense and take precautions that apply elsewhere. All tourists should be careful when selecting a travel guide and never accept medication from unverifiable sources. Women tourists should be cautious when travelling alone. At night try to use radio taxis, as fake cabs are common and robbings and even rapes do occur. It is a good idea to register with the consulate of your country of residence upon entry into the country. And it is also helpful learn at least basic Spanish to keep yourself a little safe. When taking an interdepartmental bus (say from La Paz to Cochabamba), do not accept snacks or drinks from nearby passengers. Even though most likely they may just want to be nice, there have been instances that passengers being drugged and robbed during nighttime trips. Say "no, gracias". Always remain cautious and suspicious when approached by someone or get befriended by a stranger in the street. Bolivians are very closed towards foreigners. Even when you do business with them, e.g. buying something, they will rather prefer not to do so. Ask yourself, why would anyone even start a conversation with a tourist when their general mood is often far from friendly and open. There must be something wrong if it is not the owner of your hostel or another Westerner. You are better off to immediately walk away from such a situation, saying Lo siento. There are certainly better ways to find friends in Bolivia. In general, if you travel less touristy routes, you will mostly be safe, apart from general dangers like traffic. Criminals targeting tourists will mostly always be where they can expect a high supply. Waiting in the middle of nowhere for one tourist a month is not what they are looking for. Hence, if you enjoy authentic travel and experience, you will be safe at the same time. There are a lot of dogs on the streets in Bolivia, especially in smaller towns and villages. The dogs are generally friendly; they walk around and "sunbathe" near houses.The plain-clothed police officer scamRead less
This seems to be rampant (but seldom) in this region and especially in cities like La Paz, Cochabamba and Sucre, basically everywhere where to expect larger amounts of tourists, but especially near plazas and in the center. In remote regions of Bolivia you should be safe from it, because the frequency of tourists to target is too low and travellers to such remote regions are generally more aware and firm with a country and travelling in general.
The scam: Generally, travelers — alone or in pairs — are being targeted for robberies in the centre of town or on a bus. Typically, a young man (an accomplice) will try to start up a conversation about hotels or hostels, and claim to be staying at the same one as the target. Alternatively, he might ask you for directions (to simple destinations), or start any conversation to befriend you. Then an "undercover police officer" (aka plain-clothed police officer) will arrive on the scene because of "passport difficulties" or "drug searches". Then the accomplice will often claim that the same thing happened to them and that it is best to just cooperate with them. If you hand out your passport, the "officer" will use it as ransom to get you into a car/taxi (part of the setup) to do a search at the "police station". At the fake station your luggage will be search and money will mysteriously disappear from it, which you will only notice after the incident when being back on the street. Some people have had all of there possessions stolen this way—including rings off of fingers. Even worse, if it turns out that no money or valuable are in your luggage, the situation might turn even uglier—an Austrian couple was found murdered in 2006 after following false police into a taxi.
Advice:Never show any valuables or give your passport, or anything for that matter that can be used as ransom (e.g. for you to get into a car), to anyone. Always carry a copy and hand the copy out if necessary, even with ho(s)tels. If anyone objects, make a stand and explain that the region is too dangerous to give out your passport and people have been killed doing it. Alternatively, think of a stupid story, you lost it and now have to get a new one. Never get into a taxi with them or someone you do not know for that matter, even if that someone has your passport. This is South America, where taxis are not to be trusted and gun violence exists! If you get into a taxi the guy will not just hold your passport but your life in his hands. Note, a passport can always be replaced at the next embassy, a life cannot. Never bring large amounts of foreign money to countries like Bolivia (Peru, Ecuador or Colombia). Bolivia is very easy with a credit card and ATMs, and there is always Western Union, just in case. Never keep all your money in your backpack. Spread it, also hide it in you pants. However, have a small amount ready to give away just in case, to keep up the façade. By the way, backpacks often have space between layers of textile where usually no one would expect anything to be, e.g. inside where the back bars are. You can leverage these places for money and credit cards. Undercover police (aka plain-clothed police officer) are strictly ordered not to hassle tourists. Thus, any such case should immediately ring you bells. And even if it were real undercover police, you would not want to get with them into a car either, because if you have to, there is something terribly wrong and it is not going to end up well either way. Express this fear clearly and make a stand as much as you can. If you can, call 110, which is the Bolivian number for emergencies. If necessary, insist on being taken by foot to the next police station before giving them access to your things. Or even walk to nearby crowded places, e.g. a central plaza, and seek the help of uniformed police there. Stay on the main and crowded roads! If you feel secure enough doing so, scream "Policía!" as loud as you can. Most local people will be more than happy to help a stranger. Alternatively, seek help of restaurants, pharmacies, or larger shops if you feel insecure. Or, if confident enough, simply walk away if you feel like you are caught in a dodgy situation.
Note, the way of using an accomplice to befriend you is a recent twist in the scam. Be aware that the future might show other alteration of it, always ending up with you giving your passport to the "officer", entering the car and getting mugged afterwards.
This scam is seldom but still exists. If you suspicious and aware, or the kind of guy/gal not to be messed with, or even just clearly above 30, you are probably safe and do not have to fear these criminals. They usually target traveller they can handle with ease, i.e. youngsters in their 20s, naive and alone in the world for the first time—as sad as it sounds.