Bolivia 1997Bolivia

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Bolivia - Introduction 1997
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Background: Bolivia broke away from Spanish rule in 1825. Its subsequent history has been marked by a seemingly endless series of coups, counter-coups, and abrupt changes in leaders and policies. Comparatively democratic civilian rule was established in the 1980s, but the leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, strikes, and drug dealing. Current issues include encouraging and negotiating the terms for foreign investment; strengthening the educational system; continuing the privatization program; pursuing judicial reform and an anti-corruption campaign.

Bolivia - Geography 1997
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Location: Central South America, southwest of Brazil

Geographic coordinates: 17 00 S, 65 00 W

Map referenceSouth America

Total: 1,098,580 km²
Land: 1,084,390 km²
Water: 14,190 km²
Comparative: slightly less than three times the size of Montana

Land boundaries
Total: 6,743 km
Border countries: (5) Argentina 832 km; , Brazil 3,400 km; , Chile 861 km; , Paraguay 750 km; , Peru 900 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid

Terrain: rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), hills, lowland plains of the Amazon Basin

Extremes lowest point: Rio Paraguay 90 m
Extremes highest point: Cerro Illimani 6,882 m

Natural resources: tin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 2%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 24%
Forests and woodland: 53%
Other: 21% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 1,750 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: cold, thin air of high plateau is obstacle to efficient fuel combustion, as well as to physical activity by those unaccustomed to it from birth; flooding in the northeast (March-April)

Note: landlocked; shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805 m), with Peru

Bolivia - People 1997
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Population: 7,669,868 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: 2.04% (1997 est.)

Noun: Bolivian(s)
Adjective: Bolivian

Ethnic groups: Quechua 30%, Aymara 25%, mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 25%-30%, white 5%-15%

Languages: Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara (official)

Religions: Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant (Evangelical Methodist)

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 40% (male 1,543,641; female 1,511,579)
15-64 years: 56% (male 2,081,792; female 2,184,876)
65 years and over: 4% (male 158,409; female 189,571) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 2.04% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 32.14 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 10.18 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.56 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

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

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 65.7 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 60.34 years
Male: 57.46 years
Female: 63.38 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.18 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 83.1%
Male: 90.5%
Female: 76% (1995 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Bolivia - Government 1997
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of Bolivia
Conventional short form: Bolivia
Local long form: Republica de Bolivia
Local short form: Bolivia

Government type: republic

Capital: 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

Dependent areas

Independence: 6 August 1825 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 6 August (1825)

Constitution: 2 February 1967; revised in August 1994

Legal system: based on Spanish law and Napoleonic Code; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age, universal and compulsory (married; 21 years of age, universal and compulsory (single)

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Gonzalo SANCHEZ DE LOZADA Bustamente (since 6 August 1993); Vice President Victor Hugo CARDENAS Conde (since 6 August 1993); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Head of government: President Gonzalo SANCHEZ DE LOZADA Bustamente (since 6 August 1993); Vice President Victor Hugo CARDENAS Conde (since 6 August 1993); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from a panel of candidates proposed by the Senate
Elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 6 June 1993 (next to be held June 1997); Constitutional reforms extend presidential and vice presidential terms to 5 years beginning in 1997
Election results: Gonzalo SANCHEZ DE LOZADA elected president; percent of vote - Gonzalo SANCHEZ DE LOZADA (MNR) 34%, Hugo BANZER Suarez (ADN/MIR alliance) 20%, Carlos PALENQUE Aviles (CONDEPA) 14%, Max FERNANDEZ Rojas (UCS) 13%, Antonio ARANIBAR Quiroga (MBL) 5%; no candidate received a majority of the popular vote; Gonzalo SANCHEZ DE LOZADA won a congressional runoff election on 4 August 1993 after forming a coalition with Max FERNANDEZ and Antonio ARANIBAR; FERNANDEZ died in a plane crash 26 November 1995

Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (27 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (130 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Elections: Chamber of Senators and Chamber of Deputies - last held 6 June 1993 (next to be held June 1997); Constitutional reforms extend congressional terms to 5 years beginning in 1997
Election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MNR 17, ADN 4, MIR 4, CONDEPA 1, UCS 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MNR 52, UCS 20, ADN 17, MIR 17, CONDEPA 13, MBL 7, ARBOL 1, ASD 1, EJE 1, PDC 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), judges appointed for a 10-year term by National Congress

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: AG, ECLAC, FAO, G-11, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Fernando Alvaro COSSIO
In the us chancery: 3,014 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 483-4,410 through 4,412
In the us FAX: [1] (202) 328-3,712
In the us consulates general: Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Curtis Warren KAMMAN
From the us embassy: Avenida Arce 2,780, San Jorge, La Paz
From the us mailing address: P. O. Box 425, La Paz; APO AA 34,032
From the us telephone: [591] (2) 430,251
From the us FAX: [591] (2) 433,900

Flag descriptionflag of Bolivia: 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

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Bolivia - Economy 1997
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Economy overview: With its long history of semifeudal social controls, dependence on volatile prices for its mineral exports, and bouts of hyperinflation, Bolivia has remained one of the poorest and least developed Latin American countries. However, Bolivia has experienced generally improving economic conditions since the PAZ Estenssoro administration (1985-89) introduced market-oriented policies which reduced inflation from 11,700% in 1985 to about 20% in 1988. PAZ Estenssoro was followed as president by Jaime PAZ Zamora (1989-93) who continued the free-market policies of his predecessor, despite opposition from his own party and from Bolivia's once powerful labor movement. By maintaining fiscal discipline, PAZ Zamora helped reduce inflation to 9.3% in 1993, while GDP grew by an annual average of 3.25% during his tenure. Inaugurated in August 1993, President SANCHEZ DE LOZADA has vowed to advance the market-oriented economic reforms he helped launch as PAZ Estenssoro's planning minister. His successes include the signing of a free trade agreement with Mexico and the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur) as well as the privatization of the state airline, phone company, railroad, electric power company, and oil company. Furthermore, SANCHEZ DE LOZADA sponsored legislation creating private social security accounts for all adult Bolivians and capitalized these new accounts with the state's remaining 50% share in the privatized companies.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 3.9% (1996)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 17%
Industry: 31%
Services: 52% (1995 est.)

Agriculture products: coffee, coca, cotton, corn, sugarcane, rice, potatoes; timber

Industries: mining, smelting, petroleum, food and beverages, tobacco, handicrafts, clothing

Industrial production growth rate: 4% (1995 est.)

Labor force
Total: 2.3 million
By occupation agriculture: NA%
By occupation servicesandutilities: NA%
By occupation miningand construction: NA%
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 18.8% (1995 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $3.75 billion
Expenditures: $3.75 billion, including capital expenditures of $556.2 million (1995 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $1.1 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
Commodities: metals 39%, natural gas 9%, soybeans 11%, jewelry 11%, wood 8%
Partners: US 26%, Argentina 17%, UK 15%, Peru 14% (1995)

Total value: $1.4 billion (c.i.f., 1995)
Commodities: capital goods 48%, chemicals 11%, petroleum 5%, food 5% (1993 est.)
Partners: US 18%, Brazil 15%, Japan 13%, Argentina 8% (1995)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $4.3 billion (November 1996)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: bolivianos ($B) per US$1 - 5.1720 (November 1996), 4.8003 (1995), 4.6205 (1994), 4.2651 (1993), 3.9005 (1992)

Bolivia - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 3.02 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 334 kWh (1995 est.)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Bolivia - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: new subscribers face bureaucratic difficulties; most telephones are concentrated in La Paz and other cities
Domestic: microwave radio relay system being expanded
International: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Bolivia - Military 1997
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $145 million (1996)
Percent of gdp: 1.9% (1996)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Bolivia - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 941 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 693
With paved runways over 3047 m: 4
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 3
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 3
With paved runways under 914 m: 683 (1996 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 248
With unpaved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 2
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 68
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 178 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 693
Over 3047 m: 4
2438 to 3047 m: 3
15-24 to 2437 m: 3
Under 914 m: 683 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 248
2438 to 3047 m: 2
15-24 to 2437 m: 68
914 to 1523 m: 178 (1996 est.)


Pipelines: crude oil 1,800 km; petroleum products 580 km; natural gas 1,495 km

Total: 3,691 km (single track)
Narrow gauge: 3,652 km 1.000-m gauge; 39 km 0.760-m gauge (13 km electrified) (1995)


Waterways: 10,000 km of commercially navigable waterways

Merchant marine: total:1 cargo ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,214 GRT/6,390 DWT (1996 est.)

Ports and terminals

Bolivia - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: has wanted a sovereign corridor to the South Pacific Ocean since the Atacama area was lost to Chile in 1884; dispute with Chile over Rio Lauca water rights

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: world's third-largest cultivator of coca (after Peru and Colombia) with an estimated 48,100 hectares under cultivation in 1996, a one percent decrease in overall cultivation of coca over 1995 levels; Bolivia, however, is the second-largest producer of coca leaf; even so, voluntary and forced eradication programs resulted in leaf production dropping from 85,000 metric tons in 1995 to 75,100 tons in 1996; government considers all but 12,000 hectares illicit; intermediate coca products and cocaine exported to or through Colombia and Brazil to the US and other international drug markets; alternative crop program aims to reduce illicit coca cultivation

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