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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 counter-coups. Comparatively democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and drug production. Current goals include attracting foreign investment, strengthening the educational system, resolving disputes with coca growers over Bolivia's counterdrug efforts, and waging an anticorruption campaign.
Geography Bolivia
Central South America, southwest of Brazil
Geographic coordinates:
17 00 S, 65 00 W
Map references:
South America
total: 1,098,580 sq km
water: 14,190 sq km
land: 1,084,390 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than three times the size of Montana
Land boundaries:
total: 6,743 km
border countries: Argentina 832 km, Brazil 3,400 km, Chile 861 km, Paraguay 750 km, Peru 900 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
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
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Rio Paraguay 90 m
highest point: Nevado Sajama 6,542 m
Natural resources:
tin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 1.73%
permanent crops: 0.21%
other: 98.06% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
1,280 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
flooding in the northeast (March-April)
Environment - current issues:
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
Environment - international agreements:
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, Ozone Layer Protection
Geography - note:
landlocked; shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805 m), with Peru
People Bolivia
8,724,156 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 36.4% (male 1,619,950; female 1,557,883)
15-64 years: 59.1% (male 2,522,086; female 2,631,944)
65 years and over: 4.5% (male 175,193; female 217,100) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 21.1 years
male: 20.4 years
female: 21.8 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.56% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
24.65 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
7.77 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
-1.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 54.58 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 50.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 58.23 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 65.14 years
male: 62.54 years
female: 67.86 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.08 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% - note: no country specific models provided (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
4,600 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
290 (2001 est.)
noun: Bolivian(s)
adjective: Bolivian
Ethnic groups:
Quechua 30%, mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 30%, Aymara 25%, white 15%
Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant (Evangelical Methodist)
Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara (official)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 87.2%
male: 93.1%
female: 81.6% (2003 est.)
Government Bolivia
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Bolivia
conventional short form: Bolivia
local short form: Bolivia
local long form: Republica de Bolivia
Government type:
La Paz (seat of government); Sucre (legal capital and seat of judiciary)
Administrative divisions:
9 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, Beni, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz, Tarija
6 August 1825 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 6 August (1825)
2 February 1967; revised in August 1994
Legal system:
based on Spanish law and Napoleonic Code; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age, universal and compulsory (married); 21 years of age, universal and compulsory (single)
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Carlos Diego MESA Gisbert (since 17 October 2003); Vice President (vacant); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Carlos Diego MESA Gisbert (since 17 October 2003); Vice President (vacant); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms; election last held 30 June 2002 (next to be held NA June 2007)
election results: as a result of no candidate winning a majority in the 30 June 2002 election, Gonzalo SANCHEZ DE LOZADA Bustamante was chosen president by Congress; Congressional votes - Gonzalo SANCHEZ DE LOZADA Bustamante 84, Evo MORALES 43; note - following the resignation of the elected president on 17 October 2003, Vice President Carlos Diego MESA Gisbert assumed the presidency
Legislative branch:
bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (27 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; 68 are directly elected from their districts and 62 are elected by proportional representation from party lists to serve five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Senators and Chamber of Deputies - last held 30 June 2002 (next to be held NA June 2007)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - MNR 11, MAS 8, MIR 5, NFR 2, other 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - MNR 36, MAS 27, MIR 26, NFR 25, others 16
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges appointed for 10-year terms by National Congress); District Courts (one in each department); provincial and local courts (to try minor cases)
Political parties and leaders:
Bolivian Socialist Falange or FSB [Romel PANTOJA]; Civic Solidarity Union or UCS [Johnny FERNANDEZ]; Free Bolivia Movement or MBL [Franz BARRIOS]; Marshal of Ayacucho Institutional Vanguard or VIMA [Freddy ZABALA]; Movement of the Revolutionary Left or MIR [Jaime PAZ Zamora]; Movement Toward Socialism or MAS [Evo MORALES]; Movement Without Fear or MSM [Juan DEL GRANADO]; Nationalist Democratic Action or ADN [Jorge Fernando QUIROGA Ramirez]; Nationalist Revolutionary Movement or MNR [leader NA]; New Republican Force or NFR [Manfred REYES-VILLA]; Pachakuti Indigenous Movement or MIP [Felipe QUISPE]; Socialist Party or PS [Jeres JUSTINIANO]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Cocalero Groups; indigenous organizations; labor unions; Sole Confederation of Campesino Workers of Bolivia or CSUTCB [Roman LOAYZA]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jaime APARICIO Otero
consulate(s): Washington, DC
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York, and San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 328-3712
telephone: [1] (202) 483-4410
chancery: 3014 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador David N. GREENLEE
embassy: Avenida Arce 2780, San Jorge, La Paz
mailing address: P. O. Box 425, La Paz; APO AA 34032
telephone: [591] (2) 2430120, 2430251
FAX: [591] (2) 2433900
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), yellow, and green with the coat of arms centered on the yellow band; similar to the flag of Ghana, which has a large black five-pointed star centered in the yellow band
Economy Bolivia
Economy - overview:
Bolivia, long one of the poorest and least developed Latin American countries, made considerable progress in the 1990s toward the development of a market-oriented economy. Successes under President SANCHEZ DE LOZADA (1993-97) included the signing of a free trade agreement with Mexico and becoming an associate member of the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur), as well as the privatization of the state airline, telephone company, railroad, electric power company, and oil company. Growth slowed in 1999, in part due to tight government budget policies, which limited needed appropriations for anti-poverty programs, and the fallout from the Asian financial crisis. In 2000, major civil disturbances held down growth to 2.5%. Bolivia's GDP failed to grow in 2001 due to the global slowdown and laggard domestic activity. Growth picked up slightly in 2002, but the first quarter of 2003 saw extensive civil riots and looting and loss of confidence in the government. Bolivia will remain highly dependent on foreign aid unless and until it can develop its substantial natural resources.
purchasing power parity - $20.88 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.1% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $2,400 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 20%
industry: 20%
services: 60% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
70% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.3%
highest 10%: 32% (1999)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
58.9 (1997)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
2.5 million (2001)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate:
note: widespread underemployment (2000)
revenues: $4 billion
expenditures: $4 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2002 est.)
mining, smelting, petroleum, food and beverages, tobacco, handicrafts, clothing
Industrial production growth rate:
3.9% (1998)
Electricity - production:
3.901 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 44.4%
hydro: 54%
other: 1.5% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
3.634 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
3 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
9 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
44,340 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
49,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
Oil - proved reserves:
458.8 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
4.05 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
1.15 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
2.9 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
727.2 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Agriculture - products:
soybeans, coffee, coca, cotton, corn, sugarcane, rice, potatoes; timber
$1.495 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
soybeans, natural gas, zinc, gold, wood (2000)
Exports - partners:
Brazil 24.3%, Switzerland 15.7%, US 14.1%, Venezuela 12.8%, Colombia 10.2%, Peru 5.4% (2002)
$1.505 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
capital goods, raw materials and semi-manufactures, chemicals, petroleum, food
Imports - partners:
Brazil 22%, Argentina 17.4%, US 15.6%, Chile 6.9%, Japan 5.5%, Peru 5.4%, China 4.8% (2002)
Debt - external:
$5.9 billion (2002 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$588 million (1997)
boliviano (BOB)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
bolivianos per US dollar - 7.66 (2003), 7.17 (2002), 6.61 (2001), 6.18 (2000), 5.81 (1999)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Bolivia
Telephones - main lines in use:
563,900 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
872,700 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: new subscribers face bureaucratic difficulties; most telephones are concentrated in La Paz and other cities; mobile cellular telephone use expanding rapidly
domestic: primary trunk system, which is being expanded, employs digital microwave radio relay; some areas are served by fiber-optic cable; mobile cellular systems are being expanded
international: country code - 591; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 171, FM 73, shortwave 77 (1999)
5.25 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
48 (1997)
900,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
1,413 (2002)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
9 (2000)
Internet users:
270,000 (2002)
Transportation Bolivia
total: 3,519 km
narrow gauge: 3,519 km 1.000-m gauge (2003)
total: 53,790 km
paved: 3,496 km (including 13 km of expressways)
unpaved: 50,294 km (2000 est.)
10,000 km (commercially navigable)
gas 4,860 km; liquid petroleum gas 47 km; oil 2,460 km; refined products 1,589 km; unknown (oil/water) 247 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Puerto Aguirre (on the Paraguay/Parana waterway, at the Bolivia/Brazil border); also, Bolivia has free port privileges in maritime ports in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay
Merchant marine:
total: 56 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 413,407 GRT/699,901 DWT
by type: bulk 3, cargo 26, chemical tanker 4, container 3, livestock carrier 1, multi-functional large load carrier 1, petroleum tanker 10, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 1, short-sea/passenger 3, specialized tanker 2
registered in other countries: 1 (2003 est.)
foreign-owned: Argentina 1, British Virgin Islands 1, Cambodia 1, China 1, Cyprus 1, Egypt 1, Eritrea 1, Germany 2, Greece 1, Hong Kong 1, Indonesia 1, Iran 1, Italy 2, Latvia 2, Panama 3, Romania 1, Russia 1, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Saudi Arabia 2, Singapore 3, Syria 1, Turkey 1, United Kingdom 1, United States 3, Yemen 2
1,067 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 13
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1,052
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 61
914 to 1,523 m: 210
under 914 m: 777 (2003 est.)
Military Bolivia
Military branches:
Army (Ejercito Boliviano), Navy (Fuerza Naval, includes Marines), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Boliviana)
Military manpower - military age:
19 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 2,175,384 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 1,417,804 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 98,155 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$127 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.6% (2003)
Transnational Issues Bolivia
Disputes - international:
has reactivated its claim to restore the Atacama corridor ceded to Chile in 1884 to secure sovereign maritime access for Bolivian natural gas
Illicit drugs:
world's third-largest cultivator of coca (after Colombia and Peru) with an estimated 28,450 hectares under cultivation in June 2003, a 23% increase from June 2002; intermediate coca products and cocaine exported mostly to or through Brazil, Argentina, and Chile to European and US drug markets; eradication and alternative crop programs under the MESA administration have been unable to keep pace with farmers' attempts to increase cultivation; money-laundering activity related to narcotics trade, especially along the borders with Brazil and Paraguay