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Bolivia is also one of the world's largest producers of coca, the raw material for cocaine. A crop-eradication programme, though easing the flow of conditional US aid, has incensed many of Bolivia's poorest farmers for whom coca is often the only source of income. First elected in December , Evo Morales, from the Aymara indigenous group, is first president to come from the country's indigenous majority. As a leader of a coca-growers union, he was also the first president to emerge from the social movements whose protests forced Bolivia's two previous presidents from office. Having come to power with a radical programme aimed at addressing the extreme social divisions and inequalities of Bolivia, he achieved in a few short years real social gains for the majority of Bolivians.

Mr Morales' political ideology combines standard left-wing ideas with an emphasis on traditional indigenous Andean values and concepts of social organisation.

Bolivia profile - Timeline

In February , Mr Morales lost a referendum that would have allowed him to run for president for a fourth term. The authorities use legal, political and economic means to pressure independent media, says Freedom House. One year later, Bolivia becomes independent with Simon Bolivar as its president. President Sanchez de Lozada resigns under pressure of protests and is succeeded by Carlos Mesa. Mesa is forced to resign two years later after protests continue. Socialist leader Evo Morales wins presidential elections, becoming the first indigenous Bolivian to fill the post.

Parliament could be reconvened immediately if Boris Johnson is ruled to have suspended it unlawfully. Bolivia country profile 10 January Related Topics Bolivia. In Chile, the 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.

The eviction of the Bolivian troops in 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 the occupation. At the end of the war, the Treaty of Puno was signed on June 7, However, the climate of tension between Lima and La Paz would continue until , when the signing of a Peace and Trade Treaty became effective. The estimated population of the main three cities in was La Paz ,, Cochabamba , and Potosi , A period of political and economic instability in the early-to-midth century weakened Bolivia.

In addition, during the War of the Pacific —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. Thus, since independence, Bolivia has lost over half of its territory to neighboring countries. It also lost the state of Acre , in the Acre War , important because this region was known for its production of rubber.

Popular myth has it that Bolivian president Mariano Melgarejo —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. 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 —35 , where Bolivia lost a great part of the Gran Chaco region in dispute, marked a turning-point.

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Denied its victory in the presidential elections, the MNR led a successful revolution in Twelve years of tumultuous rule left the MNR divided. In , a military junta overthrew President Estenssoro at the outset of his third term. He returned to the presidency in through Elections in and were inconclusive and marked by fraud. 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]. Unrest forced the military to convoke the Congress , elected in , and allow it to choose a new chief executive. The Law of Popular Participation dumped upon municipalities the responsibility of maintaining various infrastructures and offering services : health, education, systems of irrigation, without support from the state.

The indigenous population of the Andean region was not able to benefit from government reforms. A teachers' strike in was defeated because the COB could not marshal the support of many of its members, including construction and factory workers. 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 relatively robust economic growth of the mids continued until about the third year of its term in office.

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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.

South America :: Bolivia — The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency

Between January and April , large-scale protests erupted in Cochabamba , Bolivia's third largest city, in response to the privatisation of water resources by foreign companies and a subsequent doubling of water prices. On 6 August , Banzer resigned from office after being diagnosed with cancer.

He died less than a year later. The MNR platform featured three overarching objectives: economic reactivation and job creation , anti- corruption , and social inclusion. In the Bolivian gas conflict broke out. On 12 October the government imposed martial law in El Alto after 16 people were shot by the police and several dozen wounded in violent clashes. 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.


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After a resurgence of gas protests in , Carlos Mesa attempted to resign in January , but his offer was refused by Congress. On 22 March , after weeks of new street protests from organizations accusing Mesa of bowing to U. Evo Morales won the presidential election with On 1 May , Morales caused controversy when he announced his intent to re-nationalize Bolivian hydrocarbon assets. Fulfilling a campaign promise, on 6 August , Morales opened the Bolivian Constituent Assembly to begin writing a new constitution aimed at giving more power to the indigenous majority.

In August , more conflicts arose in Sucre, as the city demanded the discussion of the seat of government inside the assembly, hoping the executive and legislative branches could return to the city, but the assembly and the government said this demand was overwhelmingly impractical and politically undesirable.

In the national general elections, Evo Morales was re-elected with His party, Movement for Socialism , also won a two-thirds majority in both houses of the National Congress. The geography of the country exhibits a great variety of terrain and climates. Bolivia has a high level of biodiversity , considered one of the greatest in the world, as well as several ecoregions with ecological sub-units such as the Altiplano , tropical rainforests including Amazon rainforest , dry valleys , and the Chiquitania , which is a tropical savanna.

Although a country of great geographic diversity, Bolivia has remained a landlocked country since the War of the Pacific. Bolivia can be divided into three physiographic regions:. The geology of Bolivia comprises a variety of different lithologies as well as tectonic and sedimentary environments. On a synoptic scale, geological units coincide with topographical units. Most elementally, the country is divided into a mountainous western area affected by the subduction processes in the Pacific and an eastern lowlands of stable platforms and shields.

The climate of Bolivia varies drastically from one eco-region to the other, from the tropics in the eastern llanos to a polar climate in the western Andes. The summers are warm, humid in the east and dry in the west, with rains that often modify temperatures, humidity, winds, atmospheric pressure and evaporation, yielding very different climates in different areas.

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Winters are very cold in the west, and it snows in the mountain ranges, while in the western regions, windy days are more common. The autumn is dry in the non-tropical regions. Bolivia is especially vulnerable to the negative consequences of climate change.


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Twenty percent of the world's tropical glaciers are located within the country, [52] and are more sensitive to change in temperature due to the tropical climate they are located in. Temperatures in the Andes increase by 0. Farmers have taken to temporary city jobs when there is poor yield for their crops, while others have started permanently leaving the agricultural sector and are migrating to nearby towns for other forms of work; [54] some view these migrants as the first generation of climate refugees.

Bolivia's government and other agencies have acknowledged the need to instill new policies battling the effects of climate change. Bolivia, with an enormous variety of organisms and ecosystems , is part of the " Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries ".

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The territory of Bolivia comprises four types of biomes , 32 ecological regions, and ecosystems. Bolivia boasts over 17, species of seed plants, including over 1, species of fern , 1, species of marchantiophyta and moss , and at least species of fungus. In addition, there are more than 3, species of medicinal plants. Bolivia is considered the place of origin for such species as peppers and chili peppers , peanuts , the common beans , yucca , and several species of palm.

Bolivia also naturally produces over 4, kinds of potatoes. In addition, there are more than 3, types of butterfly , and more than 60 domestic animals. Bolivia has gained global attention for its ' Law of the Rights of Mother Earth ', which accords nature the same rights as humans.

Bolivia has been governed by democratically elected governments since ; prior to that, it was governed by various dictatorships. Bolivia's multiparty democracy has seen a wide variety of parties in the presidency and parliament, although the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement , Nationalist Democratic Action , and the Revolutionary Left Movement predominated from to The current president is Evo Morales , the first indigenous Bolivian to serve as head of state.

Morales' Movement for Socialism — Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples party was the first to win an outright presidential majority in four decades, doing so both in and The constitution , drafted in —07 and approved in , provides for balanced executive, legislative, judicial, and electoral powers, as well as several levels of autonomy. The traditionally strong executive branch tends to overshadow the Congress , whose role is generally limited to debating and approving legislation initiated by the executive.