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Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Bolivia

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Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; much of its subsequent history has consisted of a series of nearly 200 coups and countercoups. Democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production. In December 2005, Bolivians elected Movement Toward Socialism leader Evo MORALES president - by the widest margin of any leader since the restoration of civilian rule in 1982 - after he ran on a promise to change the country's traditional political class and empower the nation's poor majority. However, since taking office, his controversial strategies have exacerbated racial and economic tensions between the Amerindian populations of the Andean west and the non-indigenous communities of the eastern lowlands. (from the CIA)


Economic Overview

Bolivia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in latin america. following a disastrous economic crisis during the early 1980s, reforms spurred private investment, stimulated economic growth, and cut poverty rates in the 1990s. the period 2003-05 was characterized by political instability, racial tensions, and violent protests against plans - subsequently abandoned - to export bolivia's newly discovered natural gas reserves to large northern hemisphere markets. in 2005, the government passed a controversial hydrocarbons law that imposed significantly higher royalties and required foreign firms then operating under risk-sharing contracts to surrender all production to the state energy company, which was made the sole exporter of natural gas. the law also required that the state energy company regain control over the five companies that were privatized during the 1990s - a process that is still underway. in 2006, higher earnings for mining and hydrocarbons exports pushed the current account surplus to about 12% of gdp and the government's higher tax take produced a fiscal surplus after years of large deficits. debt relief from the g8 - announced in 2005 - also has significantly reduced bolivia's public sector debt burden. private investment as a share of gdp, however, remains among the lowest in latin america, and inflation reached double-digit levels in 2007.

Environmental 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

Government Type



9,247,816 (july 2008 est.)


Central south america, southwest of brazil


Total: 1,098,580 sq km land: 1,084,390 sq km water: 14,190 sq km

Slightly less than three times the size of montana

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: republic of bolivia conventional short form: bolivia local long form: republica de bolivia local short form: bolivia


Name: la paz (administrative capital) geographic coordinates: 16 30 s, 68 09 w time difference: utc-4 (1 hour ahead of washington, dc during standard time) note: sucre (constitutional capital)

Military Service

18 years of age for 12-month compulsory military service; when annual number of volunteers falls short of goal, compulsory recruitment is effected, including conscription of boys as young as 14; 15-19 years of age for voluntary premilitary service, provides exemption from further military service (2008)

International Disputes

Chile and peru rebuff bolivia's reactivated claim to restore the atacama corridor, ceded to chile in 1884, but chile offers instead unrestricted but not sovereign maritime access through chile for bolivian natural gas and other commodities; an accord placed the long-disputed isla surez/ilha de guajar-mirim, a fluvial island on the ro mamor, under bolivian administration in 1958, but sovereignty remains in dispute

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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