Republic of Bolivia
Area: 1.1 million sq. km. (425,000 sq. mi.); about the size of Texas and California combined.
Cities: Capital--La Paz (administrative--pop. 793,290); Sucre (constitutional--215,770). Other major cities--Santa Cruz (1,135,530), Cochabamba (517,020), El Alto (649,960).
Terrain: High plateau (altiplano), temperate and semitropical valleys, and the tropical lowlands.
Climate: Varies with altitude--from humid and tropical to semiarid and cold.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Bolivian(s).
Population (1999 est.): 8.27 million.
Annual population growth rate: 2.74%.
Ethnic groups: 62% indigenous (primarily Aymara, Quechua, Guarani), 38% European and mixed.
Religions: Predominantly Roman Catholic; minority Protestant.
Languages: Spanish (official); Quechua, Aymara, Guarani.
Education: Years compulsory--ages 7-14. Literacy--85.5%. Health (2000): Infant mortality rate--62/1,000.
Work force (2.9 million): Nonagricultural employment--1.26 million; services, including government--70%; industry and commerce--30%.
Independence: August 6, 1825.
Constitution: 1967; revised 1994.
Branches: Executive--president and cabinet.
Legislative--bicameral Congress. Judicial--five levels of jurisdiction, headed by Supreme Court.
Subdivisions: Nine departments.
political parties: Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (MNR), Movement
of the Revolutionary Left (MIR), Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), New
Republican Force (NFR).
Suffrage: Universal adult, obligatory.
GDP: $8.4 billion.
Annual growth rate: 1.2%.
Per capita income: $1,012.
Natural resources: Hydrocarbons (natural gas, petroleum); mining (zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, lead, gold, and iron).
Agriculture (15% of GDP): Major products--Soybeans, cotton, potatoes, corn, sugarcane, rice, wheat, coffee, beef, barley, and quinine. Arable land--27%.
and hydrocarbon extraction, manufacturing, commerce, textiles, food
processing, chemicals, plastics, mineral smelting, and petroleum
Trade: Exports--$1.35 billion. Major export products--natural
gas, tin, zinc, coffee, silver, tungsten, wood, gold, jewelry,
soybeans, and byproducts. Major export markets--U.S. (13%), Brazil
(22%), Colombia (18%), U.K. (16%), Argentina (5%), Peru (5%). Imports--$1.7 billion. Major products--machinery and transportation equipment, consumer products, construction and mining equipment. Major suppliers--U.S. (16%), Argentina (17%), Brazil (16%), Chile (8%), Peru (6%).
ethnic distribution is estimated to be 56%-70% indigenous people, and
30%-42% European and mixed. The largest of the approximately
three-dozen indigenous groups are the Quechua (2.5 million), Aymara (2
million), Chiquitano (180,000), and Guarani (125,000). There are small
German, former Yugoslav, Asian, Middle Eastern, and other minorities,
many of whose members descend from families that have lived in Bolivia
for several generations.
Bolivia is one of the
least-developed countries in South America. Almost two-thirds of its
people, many of whom are subsistence farmers, live in poverty.
Population density ranges from less than one person per square
kilometer in the southeastern plains to about 10 per square kilometer.
(25 per sq. mi.) in the central highlands. The annual population growth
rate is about 2.74% (2002).
La Paz is at the highest elevation of
the world's capital cities--3,600 meters (11,800 ft.) above sea level.
The adjacent city of El Alto, at 4,200 meters above sea level, is one
of the fastest-growing in the hemisphere. Santa Cruz, the commercial
and industrial hub of the eastern lowlands, also is experiencing rapid
population and economic growth.
The great majority of
Bolivians are Roman Catholic (the official religion), although
Protestant denominations are expanding strongly. Many indigenous
communities interweave pre-Columbian and Christian symbols in their
religious practices. About half of the people speak Spanish as their
first language. Approximately 90% of the children attend primary school
but often for a year or less. The literacy rate is low in many rural
The cultural development of
what is present-day Bolivia is divided into three distinct periods:
pre-Columbian, colonial, and republican. Important archaeological
ruins, gold and silver ornaments, stone monuments, ceramics, and
weavings remain from several important pre-Columbian cultures. Major
ruins include Tiwanaku, Samaipata, Incallajta, and Iskanwaya. The
country abounds in other sites that are difficult to reach and have
seen little archaeological exploration.
The Spanish brought their
own tradition of religious art which, in the hands of local indigenous
and mestizo builders and artisans, developed into a rich and
distinctive style of architecture, painting, and sculpture known as
"Mestizo Baroque." The colonial period produced not only the paintings
of Perez de Holguin, Flores, Bitti, and others but also the works of
skilled but unknown stonecutters, woodcarvers, goldsmiths, and
silversmiths. An important body of native baroque religious music of
the colonial period was recovered in recent years and has been
performed internationally to wide acclaim since 1994.
Bolivian artists of stature
in the 20th century include, among others, Guzman de Rojas, Arturo
Borda, Maria Luisa Pacheco, and Marina Nunez del Prado.
Bolivia has rich folklore.
Its regional folk music is distinctive and varied. The "devil dances"
at the annual carnival of Oruro are one of the great folkloric events
of South America, as is the lesser known carnival at Tarabuco.
Andean region probably has been inhabited for some 20,000 years.
Beginning about the 2d century B.C., the Tiwanakan culture developed at
the southern end of Lake Titicaca. This culture, centered around and
named for the great city of Tiwanaku, developed advanced architectural
and agricultural techniques before it disappeared around 1200 A.D.,
probably because of extended drought. Roughly contemporaneous with the
Tiwanakan culture, the Moxos in the eastern lowlands and the Mollos
north of present-day La Paz also developed advanced agricultural
societies that had dissipated by the 13th century of our era. In about
1450, the Quechua-speaking Incas entered the area of modern highland
Bolivia and added it to their empire. They controlled the area until
the Spanish conquest in 1525.
During most of the Spanish
colonial period, this territory was called "Upper Peru" or "Charcas"
and was under the authority of the Viceroy of Lima. Local government
came from the Audiencia de Charcas located in Chuquisaca (La
Plata--modern Sucre). Bolivian silver mines produced much of the
Spanish empire's wealth, and Potosi, site of the famed Cerro
Rico--"Rich Mountain"--was, for many years, the largest city in the
Western Hemisphere. As Spanish royal authority weakened during the
Napoleonic wars, sentiment against colonial rule grew. Independence was
proclaimed in 1809, but 16 years of struggle followed before the
establishment of the republic, named for Simon Bolivar, on August 6,
Independence did not bring
stability. For nearly 60 years, coups and short-lived constitutions
dominated Bolivian politics. Bolivia's weakness was demonstrated during
the War of the Pacific (1879-83), when it lost its seacoast and the
adjoining rich nitrate fields to Chile.
An increase in the world
price of silver brought Bolivia a measure of relative prosperity and
political stability in the late 1800s. During the early part of the
20th century, tin replaced silver as the country's most important
source of wealth. A succession of governments controlled by the
economic and social elites followed laissez-faire capitalist policies
through the first third of the century.
Living conditions of the
indigenous peoples, who constituted most of the population, remained
deplorable. Forced to work under primitive conditions in the mines and
in nearly feudal status on large estates, they were denied access to
education, economic opportunity, or political participation.
Bolivia's defeat by
Paraguay in the Chaco War (1932-35) marked a turning point. Great loss
of life and territory discredited the traditional ruling classes, while
service in the army produced stirrings of political awareness among the
indigenous people. From the end of the Chaco War until the 1952
revolution, the emergence of contending ideologies and the demands of
new groups convulsed Bolivian politics.
Revolutionary Movement (MNR) emerged as a broadly based party. Denied
its victory in the 1951 presidential elections, the MNR led the
successful 1952 revolution. Under President Victor Paz Estenssoro, the
MNR introduced universal adult suffrage, carried out a sweeping land
reform, promoted rural education, and nationalized the country's
largest tin mines.
Twelve years of tumultuous
rule left the MNR divided. In 1964, a military junta overthrew
President Paz Estenssoro at the outset of his third term. The 1969
death of President Rene Barrientos, a former member of the junta
elected President in 1966, led to a succession of weak governments.
Alarmed by public disorder, the military, the MNR, and others installed
Col. (later General) Hugo Banzer Suarez as President in 1971. Banzer
ruled with MNR support from 1971 to 1974. Then, impatient with schisms
in the coalition, he replaced civilians with members of the armed
forces and suspended political activities. The economy grew
impressively during most of Banzer's presidency, but human rights
violations and eventual fiscal crises undercut his support. He was
forced to call elections in 1978, and Bolivia again entered a period of
Elections in 1978, 1979,
and 1980 were inconclusive and marked by fraud. There were coups,
counter-coups, and caretaker governments. In 1980, Gen. Luis Garcia
Meza carried out a ruthless and violent coup. His government was
notorious for human rights abuses, narcotics trafficking, and economic
mismanagement. Later convicted in absentia for crimes, including
murder, Garcia Meza was extradited from Brazil and began serving a
30-year sentence in 1995.
After a military rebellion
forced out Garcia Meza in 1981, three other military governments in 14
months struggled with Bolivia's growing problems. Unrest forced the
military to convoke the Congress elected in 1980 and allow it to choose
a new chief executive. In October 1982--22 years after the end of his
first term of office (1956-60)--Hernan Siles Zuazo again became
President. Severe social tension, exacerbated by economic mismanagement
and weak leadership, forced him to call early elections and relinquish
power a year before the end of his constitutional term.
In the 1985 elections, the
Nationalist Democratic Action Party (ADN) of Gen. Banzer won a
plurality of the popular vote (33%), followed by former President Paz
Estenssoro's MNR (30%) and former Vice President Jaime Paz Zamora's
Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR, at 10%). But in the
congressional run-off, the MIR sided with MNR, and Paz Estenssoro was
chosen for the fourth time as president. When he took office in 1985,
he faced a staggering economic crisis. Economic output and exports had
been declining for several years. Hyperinflation had reached an annual
rate of 24,000%. Social unrest, chronic strikes, and unchecked drug
trafficking were widespread.
In 4 years, Paz
Estenssoro's administration achieved economic and social stability. The
military stayed out of politics, and all major political parties
publicly and institutionally committed themselves to democracy. Human
rights violations, which badly tainted some governments earlier in the
decade, were not a problem. However, Paz Estenssoro's remarkable
accomplishments were not won without sacrifice. The collapse of tin
prices in October 1985, coming just as the government was moving to
reassert its control of the mismanaged state mining enterprise, forced
the government to lay off over 20,000 miners. The highly successful
shock treatment that restored Bolivia's financial system also led to
some unrest and temporary social dislocation.
Although the MNR list
headed by Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada finished first in the 1989
elections (23%), no candidate received a majority of popular votes and
so in accordance with the constitution, a congressional vote determined
who would be president. The Patriotic Accord (AP) coalition between
Gen. Banzer's ADN and Jaime Paz Zamora's MIR, the second- and
third-place finishers (at 22.7% and 19.6%, respectively), won out. Paz
Zamora assumed the presidency and the MIR took half the ministries.
Banzer's center-right ADN took control of the National Political
Council (CONAP) and the other ministries.
Paz Zamora was a moderate,
center-left president whose political pragmatism in office outweighed
his Marxist origins. Having seen the destructive hyperinflation of the
Siles Zuazo Administration, he continued the neoliberal economic
reforms begun by Paz Estenssoro. Paz Zamora took a fairly hard line
against domestic terrorism, personally ordering the December 1990
attack on terrorists of the Nestor Paz Zamora Committee (CNPZ--named
after his brother who died in the 1970 Teoponte insurgency) and
authorizing the early 1992 crackdown against the Tupac Katari Guerrilla
Paz Zamora's government was
less decisive against narcotics trafficking. It had a mixed record in
confronting narco-traffickers and made little progress in confronting
illegal coca cultivation. In the mid-1990s, Paz Zamora and his
government were investigated by the Bolivian Congress for ties to
narco-traffickers. The 1993 elections continued the tradition of open,
honest elections and peaceful democratic transitions of power. The MNR
defeated the ADN/MIR coalition by a 33% to 20% margin, and the MNR's
Gonzalo "Goni" Sanchez de Lozada was selected as president by an
MNR/MBL/UCS coalition in the Congress.
Sanchez de Lozada pursued
an aggressive economic and social reform agenda. He relied heavily on
successful entrepreneurs-turned-politicians like himself and on fellow
veterans of the Paz Estenssoro administration (during which Sanchez de
Lozada was Minister for Planning). The most dramatic change undertaken
by the Sanchez de Lozada government was the "capitalization" program,
under which investors, typically foreign, acquired 50% ownership and
management control of public enterprises, such as the state oil
corporation, telecommunications system, airlines, railroads, and
electric utilities in return for agreed upon capital investments. The
reforms and economic restructuring were strongly opposed by certain
segments of society, which instigated frequent and sometimes violent
protests, particularly in La Paz and the Chapare coca-growing region,
from 1994 through 1996. The Sanchez de Lozada government pursued a
policy of offering monetary compensation for voluntary eradication of
illegal coca by its growers in the Chapare region. The policy produced
little net reduction in coca, and in the mid-1990s Bolivia accounted
for about one-third of the world's coca going into cocaine.
In the 1997 elections, Gen.
Hugo Banzer, leader of the ADN, won 22% of the vote, while the MNR
candidate won 18%. Gen. Banzer formed a coalition of the ADN, MIR, UCS,
and CONDEPA parties which held a majority of seats in the Bolivian
Congress. The Congress elected him as president and he was inaugurated
on August 6, 1997.
The Banzer government
basically continued the free market and privatization policies of its
predecessor, and the relatively robust economic growth of the mid-1990s
continued until about the third year of its term in office. After that,
regional, global and domestic factors contributed to a decline in
economic growth. Job creation remained limited throughout this period
and the public perceived a significant amount of public sector
corruption. Both factors contributed to increasing social protests
during the second half of Banzer's term.
At the outset of his
government, President Banzer launched a policy of using special police
units to physically eradicate the illegal coca of the Chapare region.
The policy produced a sudden and dramatic 4-year decline in Bolivia's
illegal coca crop, to the point that Bolivia became a relatively small
supplier of coca for cocaine. The MIR of Jaime Paz Zamora remained a
coalition partner throughout the Banzer government, supporting this
policy (called the Dignity Plan).
On August 6, 2001, Banzer
resigned from office after being diagnosed with cancer. He died less
than a year later. Banzer's U.S.-educated Vice President, Jorge
Quiroga, completed the final year of the term. Quiroga was
constitutionally prohibited from running for national office in 2002
but could do so in 2007.
In the June 2002 national
elections, former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (MNR) placed
first with 22.5% of the vote, followed by illegal-coca agitator Evo
Morales (Movement Toward Socialism, MAS) with 20.9%. Morales edged out
populist candidate Manfred Reyes Villa of the New Republican Force
(NFR) by just 700 votes nationwide, earning a spot in the congressional
run-off against Sanchez de Lozada on August 4, 2002.
A July agreement between
the MNR and the fourth-place MIR, which had again been led in the
election by former president Paz Zamora, virtually ensured the election
of Sanchez de Lozada in the congressional run-off, and on August 6 he
was sworn in for the second time. The MNR platform featured three
overarching objectives: economic reactivation (and job creation),
anti-corruption, and social inclusion.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
1967 constitution, revised in 1994, provides for balanced executive,
legislative, and judicial powers. The traditionally strong executive,
however, tends to overshadow the Congress, whose role is generally
limited to debating and approving legislation initiated by the
executive. The judiciary, consisting of the Supreme Court and
departmental and lower courts, has long been riddled with corruption
and inefficiency. Through revisions to the constitution in 1994, and
subsequent laws, the government has initiated potentially far-reaching
reforms in the judicial system and processes.
Bolivia's nine departments
received greater autonomy under the Administrative Decentralization law
of 1995, although principal departmental officials are still appointed
by the central government. Bolivian cities and towns are governed by
directly elected mayors and councils. The most recent municipal
elections took place in December 2000, with councils elected to 5-year
terms. The Popular Participation Law of April 1994, which distributes a
significant portion of national revenues to municipalities for
discretionary use, has enabled previously neglected communities to make
striking improvements in their facilities and services.
Principal Government Officials
President--Gonzalo SANCHEZ DE LOZADA
Vice President--Carlos MESA Gisbert
Minister of Foreign Affairs-- Carlos SAAVEDRA Bruno
Ambassador to the U.S.--vacant
Ambassador to the UN--vacant
Ambassador to the OAS--vacant
Bolivia maintains an embassy
in the U.S. at 3014 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel.
202-483-4410); consulates in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, New
Orleans, and New York; and honorary consulates in Atlanta, Chicago,
Cincinnati, Houston, Mobile, Seattle, St. Louis, and San Juan.
2001 gross domestic product (GDP) totaled $8.4 billion. Economic growth
is about 1% a year and inflation expected to be between 3% and 4 % in
2002 (it was under 1% in 2001).
Since 1985, the Government
of Bolivia has implemented a far-reaching program of macroeconomic
stabilization and structural reform aimed at maintaining price
stability, creating conditions for sustained growth, and alleviating
poverty. A major reform of the customs service in recent years has
significantly improved transparency in this area. The most important
structural changes in the Bolivian economy have involved the
capitalization of numerous public sector enterprises. (Capitalization
in the Bolivian context is a form of privatization where investors
acquire a 50% share and management control of public enterprises by
agreeing to invest directly into the enterprise over several years
rather than paying cash to the government).
reforms have locked into place market-oriented policies, especially in
the hydrocarbon and telecommunication sectors, that have encouraged
private investment. Foreign investors are accorded national treatment,
and foreign ownership of companies enjoys virtually no restrictions in
Bolivia. While the capitalization program was successful in vastly
boosting foreign direct investment (FDI) in Bolivia ($1.7 billion in
stock during 1996-2002), FDI flows have subsided in recent years as
investors complete their capitalization contract obligations.
In 1996, three units of the
Bolivian state oil corporation (YPFB) involved in hydrocarbon
exploration, production, and transportation were capitalized,
facilitating the construction of a gas pipeline to Brazil. The
government has a long-term sales agreement to sell natural gas to
Brazil through 2019. The Brazil pipeline carried about 12 million cubic
meters per day (cmd) in 2002. Bolivia has the second-largest natural
gas reserves in South America, and its current domestic use and exports
to Brazil account for just a small portion of its potential production.
The government is in discussions with a consortium of foreign investors
over plans to liquefy natural gas at a Pacific port (Chile or Peru) for
export to the North American market. This $5 billion project would
create significant royalties for Bolivia if implemented.
In April 2000, violent
protests over plans to privatize the water utility in the city of
Cochabamba led to nationwide disturbances. The government eventually
cancelled the contract without compensation to the investors, returning
the utility to public control. The foreign investors in this project
continue to pursue an investment dispute case against Bolivia for its
Bolivian exports were $1.36
billion in 2001, from a low of $652 million in 1991. Imports dropped
slightly in 2001 to $1.72 billion. Bolivian tariffs are a uniformly low
10%, with capital equipment charged only 5%. Bolivia's trade deficit
was $525 million in 2001.
Bolivia's trade with
neighboring countries is growing, in part because of several regional
preferential trade agreements it has negotiated. Bolivia is a member of
the Andean Community and enjoys nominally free trade with other member
countries (Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela). Bolivia began to
implement an association agreement with MERCOSUR (Southern Cone Common
Market) in March 1997. The agreement provides for the gradual creation
of a free trade area covering at least 80% of the trade between the
parties over a 10-year period, though economic crises in the region
have derailed progress at integration. The U.S. Andean Trade Preference
and Drug Enforcement Act (ATPDEA) allows numerous Bolivian products to
enter the United States free of duty on a unilateral basis, including
alpaca and llama products and, subject to a quota, cotton textiles.
The United States remains
Bolivia's largest trading partner. In 2001, the United States exported
$281 million of merchandise to Bolivia and imported $182 million.
Bolivia's major exports to the United States are tin, gold, jewelry,
and wood products. Its major imports from the United States are
computers, vehicles, wheat, and machinery. A Bilateral Investment
Treaty between the United States and Bolivia came into effect in 2001.
Agriculture accounts for
roughly 15% of Bolivia's GDP. The amount of land cultivated by modern
farming techniques is increasing rapidly in the Santa Cruz area, where
weather allows for two crops a year. Soybeans are the major cash crop,
sold into the Andean Community market. The extraction of minerals and
hydrocarbons accounts for another 10% of GDP and manufacturing less
The Government of Bolivia
remains heavily dependent on foreign assistance to finance development
projects. At the end of 2001, the government owed $4.4 billion to its
foreign creditors, with $1.6 billion of this amount owed to other
governments and most of the balance owed to multilateral development
banks. Most payments to other governments have been rescheduled on
several occasions since 1987 through the Paris Club mechanism. External
creditors have been willing to do this because the Bolivian Government
has generally achieved the monetary and fiscal targets set by IMF
programs since 1987, though economic crises in recent years have
undercut Bolivia's normally good track record. Rescheduling agreements
granted by the Paris Club have allowed the individual creditor
countries to apply very soft terms to the rescheduled debt. As a
result, some countries have forgiven substantial amounts of Bolivia's
bilateral debt. The U.S. Government reached an agreement at the Paris
Club meeting in December 1995 that reduced by 67% Bolivia's existing
debt stock. The Bolivian Government continues to pay its debts to the
multilateral development banks on time Bolivia is a beneficiary of the
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and Enhanced HIPC debt relief
programs, which by agreement restricts Bolivia's access to new soft
traditionally has maintained normal diplomatic relations with all
hemispheric states except Chile. Relations with Chile, strained since
Bolivia's defeat in the War of the Pacific (1879-83) and its loss of
the coastal province of Atacama, were severed from 1962 to 1975 in a
dispute over the use of the waters of the Lauca River. Relations were
resumed in 1975 but broken again in 1978 over the inability of the two
countries to reach an agreement that might have granted Bolivia
sovereign access to the sea. They are maintained today at below the
ambassadorial level. In the 1960s, relations with Cuba were broken
following Castro's rise to power but resumed under the Paz Estenssoro
administration in 1985.
Bolivia pursues a foreign
policy with a heavy economic component. Bolivia has become more active
in the Organization of American States (OAS), the Rio Group, and in
MERCOSUR, with which it signed an association agreement in 1996.
Bolivia promotes its policies on sustainable development and the
empowerment of indigenous people.
Bolivia is a member of the
UN and some of its specialized agencies and related programs, OAS,
Andean Community, INTELSAT, Non-Aligned Movement, International
Parliamentary Union, Latin American Integration Association (ALADI),
World Trade Organization; Rio Treaty, Rio Group, Amazon Pact, and
MERCOSUR. As an outgrowth of the 1994 Summit of the Americas, Bolivia
hosted a hemispheric summit conference on sustainable development in
between the United States and Bolivia are cordial and cooperative.
Development assistance from the United States to Bolivia dates from the
1940s, and the U.S. remains a major partner for economic development ,
improved health, democracy, and the environment. In 1991, the U.S.
Government forgave all of the debt owed by Bolivia to the U.S. Agency
for International Development ($341 million) as well as 80% (or $31
million) of the amount owed to the Department of Agriculture for food
assistance. The United States also has been a strong supporter of
forgiveness of Bolivia's multilateral debt under the Heavily Indebted
Poor Countries (HIPC) initiatives.
The control of illegal
narcotics is a major issue in the bilateral relationship. For
centuries, Bolivian coca leaf has been chewed and used in traditional
rituals, but in the 1970s and 1980s the emergence of the drug trade led
to a rapid expansion of coca cultivation used to make cocaine,
particularly in the tropical Chapare region in the Department of
Cochabamba (not a traditional coca growing area). In 1988, a new law
explicitly recognized that coca grown in the Chapare was not required
to meet traditional demand for chewing or for tea, and the law called
for the eradication, over time, of all "excess" coca. To accomplish
that goal, successive Bolivian Governments instituted programs offering
cash compensation to coca farmers who eradicated voluntarily, and the
government began developing and promoting suitable alternative crops
for the peasants to grow. Beginning in 1997, the government launched a
more effective policy of physically uprooting the illegal coca plants,
and Bolivia's illegal coca production fell over the next 4 years by as
much as 90%. The "forced" eradication remains controversial, however,
with well organized coca growers unions blocking roads, harassing
police eradicators, and occasionally using lethal violence to protest
the policy. Government security forces have used lethal force on
several occasions in response to the protests, raising human rights
concerns. The United States also heavily supports parallel efforts to
interdict the smuggling of coca leaves, cocaine, and precursor
chemicals. The U.S. Government has, in large measure, financed the
alternative development program and the police effort.
In 1996, the United States
and Bolivia ratified a more effective extradition treaty that made it
easier for both nations to more effectively prosecute drug traffickers
and other criminals.
U.S. Embassy Functions
addition to working closely with Bolivian Government officials to
strengthen our bilateral relationship, the U.S. Embassy provides a wide
range of services to U.S. citizens and business. Political and economic
officers deal directly with the Bolivian Government in advancing U.S.
interests, but also are available to provide information to American
citizens on general conditions in the country. Commercial officers work
closely with dozens of U.S. companies that operate direct subsidiaries
in the country. These officers provide information on Bolivian trade
and industry regulations and administer several programs intended to
aid U.S. companies starting or maintaining business ventures in
The consular section of the
embassy provides vital services to the estimated 17,000-20,000 American
citizens resident in Bolivia. Among other services, the consular
section assists Americans who wish to participate in U.S. elections
while abroad and provides U.S. tax information. Some 40,000 U.S.
citizens visit annually. The consular section offers passport and
emergency services to these tourists as needed during their stay in
Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Charg d'Affaires--Daniel Santos, Jr.
Acting Deputy Chief of Mission--Herbert Brown
Political/Economic/Commercial Officer--David Wolfe
Director, Narcotics Affairs--Stanley Schrager
Public Affairs Officer--Raymond Tripp
Consular Chief--David Dreher
Defense Attach--Col. Edward Holland
Commander, U.S. Military Group--Col. Paul Kappelman
Director, USAID Mission--Liliana Ayalde
DEA Country Attach--Thomas Telles
Peace Corps Director--Howard Lyon
The U.S. Embassy
is located at Avenida Arce #2780, La Paz (tel.591-2-2430251). There are
consular agents in the cities of Santa Cruz (tel. 591-3 -3-330725) and
Cochabamba (tel. 591-4 4256714).
Other Contact Information
U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration
Trade Information Center
14th and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Home Page: http://www.ita.doc.gov
American Chamber of Commerce in Bolivia
Edificio Hilda, Oficina 3
Avenida 6 de Agosto
Apartado Postal 8268
La Paz, Bolivia
Tel: (591) 2-43-25-73
Fax: (591) 2-43-24-72
TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program provides
Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings, and Public Announcements. Consular Information Sheets
exist for all countries and include information on entry requirements,
currency regulations, health conditions, areas of instability, crime
and security, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S.
posts in the country. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel to a certain country. Public Announcements
are issued as a means to disseminate information quickly about terrorist
threats and other relatively short-term conditions overseas which pose
significant risks to the security of American travelers. Free copies of
this information are available by calling the Bureau of Consular
Affairs at 202-647-5225 or via the fax-on-demand system: 202-647-3000.
Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings also are available on
the Consular Affairs Internet home page: http://travel.state.gov.
Consular Affairs Tips for Travelers publication series, which contain
information on obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad are
on the internet and hard copies can be purchased from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
telephone: 202-512-1800; fax 202-512-2250.
information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained from
the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-5225. For
after-hours emergencies, Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-4000.
information can be obtained by calling the National Passport
Information Center's automated system ($.35 per minute) or live
operators 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday ($1.05 per minute). The
number is 1-900-225-5674 (TDD: 1-900-225-7778). Major credit card users
(for a flat rate of $4.95) may call 1-888-362-8668 (TDD:
1-888-498-3648). It also is available on the internet.
can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at
877-FYI-TRIP (877-394-8747) and a web site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm
give the most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or
requirements, and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions
and countries. A booklet entitled Health Information for International
Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280) is available from the U.S.
Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.
on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and customs
regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest to travelers
also may be obtained before your departure from a country's embassy
and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see "Principal
Government Officials" listing in this publication).
citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous areas are
encouraged to register at the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a country
(see "Principal U.S. Embassy Officials" listing in this publication).
This may help family members contact you in case of an emergency.
Further Electronic Information
Department of State Web Site. Available on the Internet at http://state.gov, the Department of State web site provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy information, including Background Notes; daily press briefings; Country Commercial Guides; directories of key officers of Foreign Service posts and more.
National Trade Data Bank (NTDB).
Operated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth
of trade-related information. It is available on the Internet (www.stat-usa.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-1986 for more information.