Bolivia Recent Politics


In 1866 and 1874 two treaties were signed to resolve the dispute with Chile over the Atacama desert, rich in deposits of sodium and copper nitrates. In them, the 24th parallel of south latitude was adopted as the boundary line between Chile and Bolivia. Chile was granted various tariff rights and mining concessions to Chilean entrepreneurs in the Bolivian Atacama. In 1879 Chile occupied the Bolivian port of Antofagasta, initiating the so-called War of the Pacific in which Bolivia and its ally Peru were defeated by Chile. By being stripped of its only coastal possession, Bolivia ceased to have access to the sea.

In the Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Commerce between Bolivia and Chile, known as the Treaty of 1904, the current territorial delimitation was defined, according to which Chilean sovereignty extends to the border with Peru and that of Bolivia does not reach the sea. The current Bolivian government of President Evo Morales affirms that the 1904 Treaty is “ignominious, deeply unjust, deeply unsupportive, of a country that has defeated another” and that Bolivia will never renounce its access to the Pacific Ocean.

As a country located in South America according to TOPB2BWEBSITES.COM, Bolivia opens its borders, and since 1877 torrents of garimpeiros and Brazilian rubber tappers have immigrated to its Acre region that end up exceeding the autochthonous population. In 1899 the Bolivians tried to control their own territory, the immigrants revolted and, supported by the rubber companies and the governor of Amazonia, seized an “Independent State of Acre” that they annexed to Brazil. The Brazilian army defeats that of Bolivia and it loses 191,000 km² in the Treaty of Petrópolis of 1904.

In 1897, Bolivia resolved differences with Argentina through diplomatic channels, yielding 170,758 km², and in 1909 it handed over 250,000 km² to Peru to delimit the border and settle the dispute over the Copacabana peninsula.

In 1927 the Standard Oil discovers oil in the Bolivian Chaco Occidental and assumes that the deposits remain under Paraguayan territory, where did the Dutch Royal Dutch Shell exploration rights. In 1932, both companies promoted a war in which 35,000 Paraguayans and 50,000 Bolivians lost their lives, until the signing of a treaty that awarded Paraguay three-quarters of the territory of the Chaco: about 234,000. km²

Military Governments and Revolutionary Movements

Starting in 1920, the country experienced periods of strong internal political tensions that ended with the hegemony of the liberal and conservative parties.

Between 1935 and 1946, Bolivia is ruled by nationalist soldiers who had been protagonists of the Chaco War. Ideas for change are being developed to include the indigenous sector, promote the integration of the eastern part of the country, and reverse the profits from mining and hydrocarbons in favor of the State. Unions of miners and workers emerge that unite around the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB).

In the 1951 presidential elections, the exiled leader of the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (MNR), Víctor Paz Estenssoro, achieved almost half of the votes cast. However, the political-mining elite tries to prevent the election of Paz Estenssoro and President Mamerto Urriolagoitia hands over the government to a military junta headed by General Hugo Ballivián.

In April 1952, multiple popular uprisings took place that gave rise to the National Revolution, a process of transformations in citizen participation, the distribution of land, the control of the State over natural resources and the Bolivian economy. In 1952, Victor Paz Estenssoro, exiled in Buenos Aires, came to the government.

In 1952 the government nationalized the Catavi, Siglo XX and Cerro de Potosi mines, owned by the Aramayo, Patiño and Hochschild families, respectively, which produced 74% of Bolivia’s tin, their main economic base at that time. A social revolution was started in parallel, which established universal suffrage and agrarian reform, later consigned in the Constitution of 1961. In 1955 the government issued the Education Code, which expanded the school system.

In 1956, the candidate of the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (MNR), Hernán Siles Zuazo, won the presidential elections. In that same year a revolutionary movement broke out that intended to overthrow the government.

The economic stabilization plan, implemented in late 1956, triggered protest strikes and the Bolivian Socialist Falange made another attempt to overthrow the government. Shortly after, Santa Cruz rebels, unsuccessfully.

Paz Estenssoro, was elected again in 1960. In his second term, he requests the drafting of a new Constitution to increase the economic authority of the government and allow his re-election. In 1964 he was reelected, appointing as vice president the chief of the Air Force, René Barrientos Ortuño. This fact ends up disintegrating the MNR. Paz Estenssoro is overthrown a month after his re-election as a result of an uprising involving miners and students. A military junta headed by its vice president, General René Barrientos, took over power.

The military government of René Barrientos carries out policies of economic development that allow the return of foreign investment to the tin mining industry. In 1966, Barrientos is put to the vote as a civil person, obtaining his election as president. During his administration, he maintains an alliance with the military and peasants, but confronts the miners and workers.

In 1966, Ernesto Guevara entered Bolivia to dedicate himself to the cause of the liberation of Latin America and commanded the Army of National Liberation, waging numerous combats during the eleven months in which the war extended, against an army trained and armed by North American advisers. The 8 of October of 1967 he was wounded in combat, arrested in the Quebrada de Yuro on and killed the next day in La Higuera, on orders from the CIA and the High Command of the Bolivian Army.

After the death of Barrientos by helicopter accident in 1969, a series of short-lived governments followed, most of them military, until in 1971, Colonel Hugo Banzer Suárez took power after overthrowing General Juan José Torres.

The Banzer regime aligns itself with the anti-leftist current of the military governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay and expels 119 Soviet diplomats within a week. The labor movement is suppressed and the civil rights of the population are suspended.

After several governments in which raw repression of workers and trade unionists, the 17 of July of 1980, General Luis Garcia Meza gives a coup supported by paramilitaries recruited by the Nazi criminal Klaus Barbie and the Italian terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie, overthrowing the interim constitutional President Lidia Gueiler Tejada, and thus preventing the winner of the elections Hernán Siles Zuazo from assuming the Presidency.

The García Meza government is characterized by the brutal repression of its opponents, with arrests, murders and forced disappearances led by the Ministry of the Interior at the head of Luis Arce Gómez. Low support from the population and the international community, as well as evidence of links to drug trafficking led the de facto government to its end in 1981.

In 1982, the last military junta left power.

Bolivia Recent Politics