Bolivia Relations with Other Countries

Bolivia Relations with Other Countries

Based on clearly anti-capitalist and anti-American discourses, Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua were close allies until a few years ago and formed the “Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas” (ALBA) according to thedressexplorer. But this close relationship has waned significantly after Hugo Chavez’s death and the fall in crude oil prices. With the assumption of office of the interim president Áñez, the membership of Bolivia was terminated.

President Morales continued to have a special relationship with Raul Castro to the end and continues to cultivate it with regular visits. Cuba was also committed to Bolivia and has z. B. sent several hundred doctors to Bolivia to improve the health situation. This collaboration has now also been terminated. Compared to the close ties with Cuba, relations with Venezuela had already cooled since the death of Hugo Chavez. During the Chavez government, Venezuela supported the Bolivian government financially and with advice and action. But since Maduro took office, contact and exchange had decreased significantly. One reason for this is that Venezuela is very preoccupied with its own business. The country not only has significant financial problems, but also difficulties in ensuring that one’s own population is supplied with food and everyday goods. The current developments in Venezuela were followed in Bolivia with great concern about the situation in their own country.

Foreign relations with other countries in the region, for example to its big neighbor Brazil, has changed completely over the last decade under the Morales government. At the beginning of Evo Morales’ term of office, he had close ties with the then Brazilian President Lula da Silva. These were very good despite the nationalization of the holdings of the Brazilian state-owned company Petrobras in Bolivia – the biggest victim of the Bolivian natural gas and oil nationalizations in 2006. Petrobras produced 100% of Bolivia’s gasoline and 60% of diesel consumption, handled 75% of gas exports to Brazil, and has so far controlled almost half (46%) of Bolivia’s gas reserves and almost all of its refinery capacities (95%), as well as a quarter (23 %) of gas derivatives. Under the successor Dilma Rousseff, also due to other priorities,Relations between Bolivia and Brazil cooled significantly. One episode that contributed to the deterioration of relationships is the Roger Pinto case. Pinto, a former opposition MP in Bolivia, accused the Morales government of drug links. There were then attempts to silence the MPs using allegations of corruption. Pinto was granted asylum by the Brazilian government, which in turn angered the Bolivian government. The election of right-wing Jair Bolsonaro in December 2018 had further deteriorated relations with its large neighbor and main consumer of Bolivian natural gas.

Outside the region, the traditionally good relations with the Federal Republic of Germany should be mentioned. One focus of the relationship has so far been on development cooperation, but economic interests in the energy and transport sectors are increasingly coming to the fore. German development cooperation focuses on sustainable agriculture as well as water supply and wastewater disposal (see GIZ). Other EU countries that cooperate with Bolivia are Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, France and Sweden.

Relations with China have expanded considerably in recent years. Chinese companies invest heavily in raw material extraction projects and are also contractors for large investments in the infrastructure sector. The latter are often financed by loans, making China an important donor to Bolivia. There are, however, considerable reservations in the country against this increased presence of China, since the agreements that have been concluded are mostly not made public and environmental and social standards are often not complied with. How these relationships will be structured in the future is currently not foreseeable.

Bolivia’s close relationship with Russia will also be realigned over the next few months. It seems unlikely that the joint nuclear project will be realized by the next elected government. Russia wanted to help Bolivia build a nuclear power plant. Evo Morales emphasized that the country needs energy alternatives if it wants to become a center of regional energy supply.

Relations with Chile and the USA have always been rather difficult. Relations with neighboring Chile have been very tense since the Saltpeter War (1879-83) – as a result of the war, Bolivia lost access to the Pacific. Relations with the USA deteriorated increasingly in 2008: the American development organization USAID in the coca growing area of Chapare was expelled from the country in June, the US ambassador was declared a persona non grata in September, and drug enforcement was implemented in November Administration (DEA), expelled after 35 years of presence, and on May 1, 2013 became USAID completely expelled from the country, which in turn has led to reactions on the part of the US government. In return, the American government has put Bolivia back on the drug trafficking list. This situation remained practically unchanged for years. With the assumption of office of the interim president Áñez, diplomatic relations with the USA were restored almost immediately.

The center of the official capital Sucre

The center of the official capital Sucre