Bolivia Politics, Relations & Current Affairs

The United States government has worked in a dedicated fashion over the past five years to establish a relationship based on mutual respect, dialogue, and cooperation with the Bolivian government. This action is further demonstration that the Bolivian government is not interested in that vision. Bolivia’s Nationalization of Oil and Gas In a region seen as turning leftward, forging alliances would seem a natural course of events. But Bolivian President Evo Morales’ decision to nationalize the oil and gas industry is exposing tensions, causing experts to say there is more diffusion than alliance-building in Latin America. In August 2007, Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera said that the U.S. Embassy was using aid programs to fund the government’s political opponents, trying to develop «ideological and political resistance.» He cited USAID financing of Juan Carlos Urenda, author of a plan for Santa Cruz’s secession from Bolivia. A State Department spokesman denied the accusation, and USAID officials said they provided support to all Bolivian governors, not just those in the opposition.

  • Bolivia’s relations with Brazil and Argentina improved significantly, owing in part to a common bond that appeared to exist between these weak democratic governments emerging from military rule and facing the challenges of economic chaos.
  • A fiscal consolidation process could contribute to strengthening confidence in macroeconomic management and the sustainability of the exchange rate, as well as creating some policy space to deal with changes in the international environment or adverse climate events in the future.
  • With demand for cocaine remaining stable in the United States and rising elsewhere in recent years, coca growing has been on the rise in the three of the major Andean producing countries – Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.
  • Bolivia reportedly promised to take Israel to an international court for alleged war crimes committed against Palestinians in Gaza.

Chile and Bolivia broke diplomatic relations in 1978 following the failure of territorial negotiations regarding the exit to the sea of the plurinational state. Limited gas reserves, high fuel subsidies, an increasingly challenging regional market, and global efforts to decarbonize the energy sector make it necessary to seek alternatives to gas exports.

Of course, the two governments’ interests and agendas will not always coincide, real differences will persist and new disputes will arise; but the perpetuation of suspicions and antagonism that led to a breakdown in bilateral relations during the Bush administration is neither desirable nor inevitable. It would make little sense to prolong or let fester inherited problems that can be resolved for the better. Indeed, the new Obama administration and Congress could help repair some of the damage done to the U.S. reputation in Latin America in recent years by taking a flexible, respectful approach toward Bolivia, in cooperation with Bolivia’s neighbor democracies and the international community. The State Department claimed that there was a 14 percent increase in the area of coca under cultivation, and an increase in potential cocaine production from 115 to 120 metric tons, figures that the USTR echoed in its decision by alluding to a vague, “marked” increase in cocaine production. The cited 14 percent increase is nearly triple the 5 percent increase reported by UNODC for 2007.

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Bolivia Should End Revenge Justice

Army’s Southern Command commented only that such a development would represent a Bolivian internal matter. Lehman argues that the U.S. policy helped undermine Victor Paz Estensorro’s government in its final stages, though the that argument is not as clearly shown as some others. The book places special emphasis on the emergence of the National Security state in the United States and its importance in helping to shape bilateral ties, particularly with respect to the training of hundreds of Bolivian military officers at the School of the Americas after 1958. In 1963, all of the senior class at the Bolivian military academy went through training at the American jungle warfare facility in Panama. Appropriately, the book ends with the intersection of the emergence of the predominant cocaine economy in Bolivia after 1980, the return of a strong dependent relationship, and the disturbing links of a new political elite in Bolivia that is increasingly tied to a US-influenced technocracy. The election of the Evo Morales as president later in 2006 caused fresh tensions.

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There are still some opportunities in this area that, coupled with Bolivia’s significant mining potential, could be exploited by improving the investment climate, mainly in the fields of labor and tax regulation, to boost private investment and productivity, as well as to reduce high informality. In this context, sustainable recovery requires addressing some structural challenges. A fiscal consolidation process could contribute to strengthening confidence in macroeconomic management and the sustainability of the exchange rate, as well as creating some policy space to deal with changes in the international environment or adverse climate events in the future. After the commodity boom ended in 2014, Bolivia resorted to high public spending and growing domestic credit to maintain its high economic growth. These measures resulted in an increase in public debt and a reduction in international reserves and the fiscal savings accumulated during the boom. Adhering to a nonaligned policy, it established relations with the Soviet Union, Cuba, East European countries, and the Palestine Liberation Organization . Bolivia also maintained an important presence in the Organization of American States and the United Nations .

CEDLA Latin America Studies

Unlike the variants of the theory advanced during the 1960s and 1970s that highlighted the role of the state and business, power relations, and structures of exploitation, Lehman moves beyond these factors to add cultural, ideological, psychological, and other components. What he finds is that Bolivian-United States relations have moved through distinct unequal partnerships. Such periods have tended to begin with common interests «but almost invariably they have ended in frustration followed by imposition on the part of the patron, and by submission, resentment, and finally resistance on the part of the client» (p.xiv). Bolivia’s government announced on Tuesday that the possibility of reestablishing diplomatic relations with Chile is being examined after the new position assumed by President Gabriel Boric. Although the Bolivian government subsequently expelled the DEA in November 2008, the larger, Narcotic Affairs Section of the U.S. embassy continues to operate in Bolivia and coordinate closely with Morales administration officials. The Health Services Network Project’s goal is to improve access to and quality of healthcare services for 3.8 million Bolivians, prioritizing women, children and indigenous populations.

The book weaves together expertly the origins of the Patino-led international tin cartel, the international impact of the Chaco War, and the growing United States interest in Bolivian tin and oil after 1939. During the 1930s, «a sense of genuine, if limited good neighborliness» (p.87) guided relations between the two countries. That came to an end with the signing of the first tin agreement between Bolivia and the United States in 1940. In the years that followed, Americans intervened repeatedly in Bolivia’s internal affairs while making commitments to Bolivian development. By 1946, Americans bought more than half of Bolivia’s tin and dominated the international tin market on which Bolivia was dependent.

This is an important contribution because for the first time it puts together the whole history of U.S.-Bolivian relations. Understanding Bolivia’s Election Exit polls indicate socialist candidate Luis Arce will become Bolivia’s next president. The peaceful vote signaled an end to a year of electoral uncertainty, but the victor will now confront social upheaval and economic hardship intensified by the coronavirus pandemic. The swift development of effective vaccines against COVID-19 was an unprecedented scientific achievement.


Political and economic officers deal directly with the Bolivian Government in advancing U.S. interests, but are also available to provide information to American citizens on local economic and political conditions in the country. Commercial officers work closely with numerous U.S. companies that operate direct subsidiaries or have investments in Bolivia, providing information on Bolivian trade and industry regulations and administering several programs intended to aid U.S. companies starting or maintaining businesses in Bolivia.

However, high public debt and modest international reserves could limit efforts to boost the economy through expansionary policies alone, especially if the private sector does not play a more active and sustained role. USAID’s purpose in Bolivia since 1964 has been to help the Bolivian government improve the lives of ordinary Bolivians. All USAID programs have been supportive of the Bolivian government’s National Development Plan, and have been fully coordinated with appropriate government agencies.

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