Bolivia Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022

Basic information about the territory

Bolivia Basic Information

Subchapters:

  • System of governance and political tendencies in the country
  • Foreign policy of the country
  • Population

The system of governance and political tendencies in the country

Plurinational State of Bolivia – Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia

Bolivia is a republic headed by a president elected directly by the population for a 5-year term. If none of the candidates receives a supermajority of the votes, the president is elected by Congress. The president appoints the government, which currently consists of 17 ministers. The Constitution of 2009 applies in the country. Check diseaseslearning to learn more about Bolivia political system.

Composition of the government as of 1 May 2022:

President (and Prime Minister): Luis Arce

Minister of Foreign Affairs: Rogelio Mayta Mayta

Minister-Head of the Office of the President: María Nela Prada

Minister-Head of the Government Office: Carlos Eduardo Del Castillo

Minister of Defense: Edmundo Novillo

Minister for Planning: Felima Gabriela Mendoza

Minister of Economy: Marcelo Alejandro Montenegro

Hydrocarbons Minister: Franklin Molina

Minister of Productive Development: Néstor Huanca

Minister of Public Works: Edgar Montaño

Minister of Mining: Ramiro Villavicencio

Minister of Justice and Institutional Transparency: Iván Manolo Lima

Minister of Labor: Verónica Patricia Navia

Minister of Health: Jeyson Marcos Auza Pinto

Minister of Environment and Water: Juan Santos Cruz

Minister of Education, Culture and Sports: Adrián Rubén Quelca

Minister of Land and Rural Development: Remmy Gonzáles Atila

Minister of Culture, Decolonization and Depatriarchalization: Sabina Orellana Cruz

Political tendencies point towards the nationalization of all important sectors of the national economy and the promotion of the policy of state influence in the economy, on the basis of which the state intends to dominate key sectors of the economy. The government practices a policy of economic redistribution of profits to fight poverty, nationalization and verbally defines itself as 21st century socialism (but with an economy with capitalist elements). The opposition, which has its core in the rich eastern region of Santa Cruz, has made significant electoral gains in this part of the country, which is rich in natural gas and represents the country’s industrial center. From its point of view, this region then “pays extra” for the redistribution that is happening to its disadvantage. In recent years, the country has been plagued by numerous road blockades and protest and coercive actions, characteristic of the Bolivian reality.

Foreign policy of the country

Bolivia’s foreign policy is based on a strong anti-American orientation, with Venezuela and Cuba as Bolivia’s main partners. Bolivia continues to focus on relations with its neighbors, particularly Brazil and Argentina, as well as Peru and Ecuador. Recently, the intensity of cooperation with Russia and with some Asian and African states (Japan, China, Korea, India, Iran, Libya, etc.) has been increasing. Bolivia is trying to find new allies to support the economic development of the country, and it is evident that it is mainly interested in countries with a similar attitude towards the US. In March 2014, Bolivia submitted an application for full membership in MERCOSUR, of which it is currently only a provisional member without voting rights. Within the framework of membership of the Andean Community (CAN), Bolivia is not very involved, on the contrary, it closely cooperates with Venezuela within the activities of the ALBA regional community. Check themotorcyclers for Bolivia defense and foreign policy.

Brazil is clearly the largest partner not only in the sale of natural gas. Brazil’s Petrobras and Bolivia’s YPFB have signed an expansion contract for supplies of 2.24 million m3 per day to the Mário Coval thermal power plant. As part of cooperation with Russia, it seeks to purchase military equipment and obtain help in the fight against drug smugglers in exchange for stopped aid from the US.

In terms of foreign policy, Bolivia’s access to the sea continues to be a key issue. Bolivia’s long-standing claims against Chile for the return of “sovereign access to the sea” have severed diplomatic relations (currently consular only) between Chile and Bolivia. An important part of the foreign-political activities of the Bolivian government has become the effort to abolish the penalization of some traditional ways of using coca.

Population

Bolivia has approximately 11,633,371 inhabitants (2020) with a density of 10.59/km2. The majority (approx. 61%) of the population is in the working age between 15 and 64 years. The share of the population under 15 years of age is approximately 33%, and those over 65 are completely marginal – it is therefore a relatively young population. Bolivia is the country with the largest proportion of indigenous people in South America. The share of the Caucasian population is about 15%, and the rest are made up of Indians and half-breeds. Approximately 4 million people live in the five largest cities, the largest is the twin city of La Paz – El Alto with more than million inhabitants, the other big cities are Santa Cruz and Cochabamba. Urbanization reaches 64%. At the same time, there is a significant increase in urbanization, with rural depopulation and an increase in the share of the urban population.

The population is not evenly distributed between individual regions. The reason is the complex geography of Bolivia, where the west of the country consists of the high Altiplano plateau (the departments of Oruro, Potosí, part of the department of La Paz with the city of La Paz itself), which descends to the east into the lower regions of the pampas and the forested part of Bolivia (Santa Cruz, Pando, Beni, part of Cochabamba).

The population of the Altiplano consists mostly of the Aymara and Quechua Indian ethnic groups. In the eastern part of the country, there are a number of other Indian ethnicities (e.g. the Guaraní ethnic group near the border with Paraguay), but they are not as numerous as the Altiplano ethnic group. Descendants of European immigrants are mostly found in big cities (Santa Cruz, La Paz, Cochabamba). In Bolivia, there was not such a strong mixing of the population of Indian and European origin as, for example, in Peru. The current president, Arce, supports the Indian identity as the foundation of Bolivia. The dominant religion is Christianity (92% of the population are Roman Catholics).