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World Factbook (1990) Bolivia.jpg

 See regional map IV


Total area: 1,098,580 km²; land area: 1,084,390km²

Comparative area: slightly less than three times the size of Montana

Land boundaries: 6,743 km total; Argentina 832 km, Brazil 3,400 km, Chile 861 km, Paraguay 750 km, Peru 900 km

Coastline: none—landlocked

Maritime claims: none—landlocked

Disputes: 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

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

Terrain: high plateau, hills, lowland plains

Natural resources: tin, natural gas, crude oil, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron ore, lead, gold, timber

Land use: 3% arable land; NEGL% permanent crops; 25% meadows and pastures; 52% forest and woodland; 20% other; includes NEGL% irrigated

Environment: cold, thin air of high plateau is obstacle to efficient fuel combustion; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Note: landlocked; shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake, with Peru


Population: 6,706,854 (July 1990), growth rate 2.1% (1990)

Birth rate: 35 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 13 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 1 migrant/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 125 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 52 years male, 56 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 4.7 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Bolivian(s); adjective—Bolivian

Ethnic divisions: 30% Quechua, 25% Aymara, 25-30% mixed, 5-15% European

Religion: 95% Roman Catholic; active Protestant minority, especially Evangelical Methodist

Language: Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara (all official)

Literacy: 63%

Labor force: 1,700,000; 50% agriculture, 26% services and utilities, 10% manufacturing, 4% mining, 10% other (1983)

Organized labor: 150,000-200,000, concentrated in mining, industry, construction, and transportation; mostly organized under Bolivian Workers' Central (COB) labor federation


Long-form name: Republic of Bolivia

Type: republic

Capital: La Paz (seat of government); Sucre (legal capital and seat of judiciary)

Administrative divisions: 9 departments (departamentos, singular—departamento); Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, El Beni, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosí, Santa Cruz, Tarija

Independence: 6 August 1825 (from Spain)

Constitution: 2 February 1967

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

National holiday: Independence Day, 6 August (1825)

Executive branch: president, vice president, Cabinet

Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress (Congreso Nacional) consists of an upper chamber or Senate (Senado) and a lower chamber or Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema)

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—President Jaime PAZ Zamora (since 6 August 1989); Vice President Luis OSSIO Sanjines (since 6 August 1989)

Political parties and leaders: Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR), Jaime Paz Zamora; Nationalist Democratic Action (ADN), Hugo Banzer Suárez; Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (MNR), Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada; United Left (IU), coalition of leftist parties which includes Free Bolivia Movement (MBL), led by Antonio Aranibar, Patriotic National Convergency Axis (EJE-P) led by Walter Delgadillo, and Bolivian Communist Party (PCB) led by Humberto Ramirez; Conscience of the Fatherland (CONDEPA), Carlos Palenque Avilés; Revolutionary Vanguard-9th of April (VR-9), Carlos Serrate Reich

Suffrage: universal and compulsory at age 18 (married) or 21 (single)

Elections: President—last held 7 May 1989 (next to be held May 1993); results—Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (MNR) 23%, Hugo Banzer Suárez (ADN) 22%, Jaime Paz Zamora (MIR) 19%; no candidate received a majority of the popular vote; Jaime Paz Zamora (MIR) formed a coalition with Hugo Banzer (ADN); with ADN support Paz Zamora won the congressional runoff election on 4 August and was inaugurated on 6 August;

Senate—last held 7 May 1989 (next to be held May 1993); results—percent of vote NA; seats (27 total) MNR 9, ADN 8, MIR 8, CONDEPA 2;

Chamber of Deputies—last held 7 May 1989 (next to be held May 1993); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(130 total) MNR 40, ADN 38, MIR 30, IU 10, CONDEPA 9, VR-9 3

Member of: FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IATP, IBRD, ICAO, ICO, IDA, IDB—Inter-American Development Bank, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, ISO, ITC, ITU, IWC—International Wheat Council, LAIA, NAM, OAS, PAHO, SELA, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Jorge CRESPO; Chancery at 3014 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 483-4410 through 4412; there are Bolivian Consulates General in Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco; US—Ambassador Robert GELBARD; Embassy at Banco Popular del Peru Building, corner of Calles Mercado y Colon, La Paz (mailing address is P. O. Box 425, La Paz, or APO Miami 34032); telephone [591](2) 350251 or 350120

Flag: 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


Overview: The Bolivian economy steadily deteriorated between 1980 and 1985 as La Paz financed growing budget deficits by expanding the money supply and inflation spiraled—peaking at 11,700%. An austere orthodox economic program adopted by newly elected President Paz Estenssoro in 1985, however, succeeded in reducing inflation to between 10% and 20% annually during 1987 and 1989, eventually restarting economic growth. President Paz Zamora has pledged to retain the economic policies of the previous government in order to keep inflation down and continue the growth begun under his predecessor. Nevertheless, Bolivia continues to be one of the poorest countries in Latin America, and it remains vulnerable to price fluctuations for its limited exports mainly minerals and natural gas. Moreover, for many farmers, who constitute half of the country's work force, the main cash crop is coca, which is sold for cocaine processing.

GNP: $4.6 billion, per capita $660; real growth rate 2.8% (1988)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 15.5% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 20.7% (1988)

Budget: revenues $2,867 million; expenditures $2,867 million, including capital expenditures of $663 million (1987)

Exports: $634 million (f.o.b., 1989); commodities—metals 45%, natural gas 32%, coffee, soybeans, sugar, cotton, timber, and illicit drugs; partners—US 23%, Argentina

Imports: $786 million (c.i.f., 1989); commodities—food, petroleum, consumer goods, capital goods; partners—US 15% External debt: $5.7 billion (December 1989)

Industrial production: growth rate 8.1% (1987)

Electricity: 817,000 kW capacity; 1,728 million kWh produced, 260 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: mining, smelting, petroleum, food and beverage, tobacco, handicrafts, clothing; illicit drug industry reportedly produces the largest revenues

Agriculture: accounts for 20% of GDP (including forestry and fisheries); principal commodities—coffee, coca, cotton, corn, sugarcane, rice, potatoes, timber; self-sufficient in food

Illicit drugs: world's second-largest producer of coca (after Peru) with an estimated 54,000 hectares under cultivation; government considers all but 12,000 hectares illicit and subject to eradication; intermediate coca products and cocaine exported to or through Colombia and Brazil to the US and other international drug markets

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $909 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $1.4 billion; Communist countries (1970-88), $340 million

Currency: boliviano (plural—bolivianos); 1 boliviano ($B) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: bolivianos ($B) per US$1—2.6917 (1989), 2.3502 (1988), 2.0549 (1987), 1.9220 (1986), 0.4400 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 3,675 km total; 3,643 km 1.000-meter gauge and 32 km 0.760-meter gauge, all government owned, single track

Highways: 38,836 km total; 1,300 km paved, 6,700 km gravel, 30,836 km improved and unimproved earth

Inland waterways: 10,000 km of commercially navigable waterways

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

Ports: none; maritime outlets are Arica and Antofagasta in Chile and Matarani in Peru

Merchant marine: 2 cargo ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 14,051 GRT/22,155 DWT; note—1 is owned by the Bolivian Navy

Civil air: 56 major transport aircraft

Airports: 636 total, 551 usable; 9 with permanent-surface runways; 1 with runways over 3,659 m; 8 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 110 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: radio relay system being expanded; improved international services; 144,300 telephones; stations—129 AM, no FM, 43 TV, 68 shortwave; 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Bolivian Army, Bolivian Navy, Bolivian Air Force (literally, the Army of the Nation, the Navy of the Nation, the Air Force of the Nation)

Military manpower: males 15-49, 1,629,154; 1,060,187 fit for military service; 70,528 reach military age (19) annually

Defense expenditures: 3% of GNP (1987)