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Bolivia

Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825.  Democratic civilian rule was established in 1982.  In December 2005, Bolivians elected Movement Toward Socialism leader Evo Morales as President by the widest margin of any leader since the restoration of civilian rule. Evo Morales has since been re-elected (December 09) with 67% of the majority.

President Morales ran his successful campaign on a promise to change the country's traditional political class and empower the nation's poor, indigenous majority.  A major tenet of improving the conditions for the poor outside the major cities is the creation of employment in the regions.  The Morales Government has publicly endorsed the thrust to encourage foreign investment in mining and the creation of jobs ensuring projects are sanctioned at both the central & local community level through the issue of a 'social licence'.  Republic has willingly accepted the obligations of assisting to improve the living conditions of the people indigenous to the Amayapampa Gold Project and is in the process of obtaining the 'social licence' for the Project.

Geography




Overview

The Republic of Bolivia is a country of statistical extremes, it is landlocked and shares control of Lago Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805 m), with Peru.

Bolivia is the highest and most isolated country in South America. It has the largest proportion of indigenous people, who make up around two-thirds of the population and 66% of the population is urbanised.

Facts

Population: 9.7 million (UN, 2008)
Capital: Sucre (official), La Paz (administrative)
Largest city: Santa Cruz
Administrative Departments: 9 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz and Tarija.
Government: chief of state is President Juan Evo MORALES Ayma (since 22 January 2006); Vice President Alvaro GARCIA Linera (since 22 January 2006). The president is both chief of state and head of government.
Legal System: based on Spanish law and Napoleonic Code; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; the 2009 Constitution incorporates indigenous community justice into Bolivia's judicial system.
Area: 1.1 million sq km (424,164 sq miles)
Major languages: Spanish (60.7%), Quechua (21.2%), Aymara (14.6%), Guarani & other (3.5%)
Major religion: Christianity (Roman Catholic 95%)
Ethnic Groups: Quechua 30%, mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 30%, Aymara 25%, white 15%
Life expectancy: 63 years (men), 68 years (women) (UN)
Literacy: 86.7% of the total population aged 15 and over can read and write
Monetary unit: 1 boliviano = 100 centavos
Natural Resources: Gold, tin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron ore, lead, timber, hydropower
Main exports: Gold, soyabeans, natural gas, zinc, silver, lead, tin, antimony, wood, sugar
GNI per capita: US$1,260 (World Bank, 2007)

Economy

Though rich in mineral and energy resources, Bolivia is one of South America's poorest countries. Wealthy urban elites, who are mostly of Spanish ancestry, have traditionally dominated political and economic life, whereas most Bolivians are low-income subsistence farmers, miners, small traders or artisans.

Politics

Socialist leader Evo Morales, a figurehead for Bolivia's coca farmers, won presidential elections in December 2005, the first indigenous Bolivian to do so. He described himself as the candidate "of the most disdained and discriminated against".

Indigenous leader Evo MoralesHis victory was decisive; he surpassed the figure needed to take office without the need for a vote in Congress.  Much of his support came from Bolivia's indigenous majority.

A few months later, in June 2006, he claimed victory in elections for a new assembly which was given the task of rewriting the constitution.

The resulting draft constitution accorded more rights to Bolivia's indigenous majority, and more autonomy to the states.  The New Political Constitution of the State was enacted by Congress in early 2009.

Evo Morales was first elected President of Bolivia on December 18, 2005, with 53.7% of the popular vote (approximately 45% of the electorate) in an election that saw the participation of 84.5% of the national electorate. Two and a half years later he substantially increased this majority; in a recall referendum on August 14, 2008, more than two thirds of voters (67.4%) voted to keep him in power (approximately 57% of the electorate). Morales won presidential elections again in December 2009 by 63% and continues in his second term of presidency.