Bolivia
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"Unity is strength!"

Geography

Bolivia is located in Central South America, with Brazil located to the north and east, Argentina and Paraguay to the south,
and Peru and Chile to the west. Bolivia has an area of approximately 1.1 million sq. km. (425,000 sq. mi.); about the size of Texas and California combined. La Paz is the highest of the world’s capital cities--3,600 meters (11,800 ft.) above sea level.Terrain: High plateau (altiplano), temperate and semi-tropical valleys, and tropical lowlands. Climate: Varies with altitude--from humid and tropical to semi-arid and cold.

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Demographic
In July 2009 the population was estimated to be 9,775,246 with an annual population growth rate of 1.77%. Multiple ethnic groups are represented in Bolivia; Mestizo, a mix of white and Amerindians, makes up 30% of the population, Quechua making up another 30%, the Aymara represent 25% and the remaining 15% is made up by whites.
The official language is Spanish, although Quechua, Aymara and Guarni are also common. The Roman Catholic church has the greatest presence in Bolivia, although the Protestant population is growing.

Politics
Head of State and Government: President Juan Evo Morales (since 22 January 2006)


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Political Parties of Bolivia
National Revolutionary Movement (MNR), Right of Centre
Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR), Left of Centre
Nationalist Democratic Action Party (ADN), Right wing
Solidarity and Civic Union (UCS), Populist, Free market;
Patriotic Conscience Party, Populist


Issues in Politics:
Since 1982 Bolivia has been governed by democratically elected governments. The country had a total of 193 changes in government leaders either illegally or by force until 1981. In early 2009 Bolivian voters passed a new constitution that increases the power of the country's native majority. Allowing Bolivia to become more independent. While those that were from indigenous areas celebrated for the constitution many from conservative groups did not. The government is struggling to implement some of the reforms following the constitution passage. President Morales is a socialist and has dealt with many violent demonstrations while in power.

Urban Sector

Manufacturing has accounted for approximately 18 percent of Bolivia’s gross domestic product since 1995. Most industry is small-scale, aimed at regional markets rather than national operations. Inadequate credit options and competition from the black market have kept Bolivia’s manufacturing sector from developing fully. Leading manufactured goods in Bolivia include textiles, clothing, non-durable consumer goods, processed soya, refined metals, and refined petroleum. The services industry remains undeveloped. Bolivia has weak purchasing power due to being one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Between competition with a large black market and a weak demand, the retail sectors suffer.
Despite the natural attractions, Bolivia has not become a major tourist destination due to political instability and lack of first class accommodations. Tourism has increased over the years, though it had declined after September 11, 2001.

Rural Sector
Crops: Potatoes, sugar, corn, and coca.
Livestock: Cattle, sheep, and pigs.

Bolivia's most profitable product is Coca. Bolivia is the world’s third largest cultivator of Coca. Bolivia is the third largest producer of Cocaine. The government has worked on restricting the producing of Cocaine. Agriculture and Forestry account for 14% of Bolivia’s Gross Domestic Product. The agriculture sector is an occupation for 40% of the Bolivian population. The economy of Bolivia has only had moments where economic diversification has been on a high. With the political instability it is very hard for the agricultural sector to be modernized. Industries are unable to flourish due to the fact that Bolivia has a low population growth, low life expectancy and high incidence of disease. Inflation and corruption have also put a stop on development.


Culture
**http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFz__zKQ32E** Artists
Emma Rosario Imana de Murguia: Bolivian painter
Jorge Crespo Berdecio: Metal work, xilography and lithography

Poets
Yolanda Bedregal: Bolivian poet. Wrote 'Elegia Humilde'|
Hector Borda Leano: Bolivian poet. Wrote 'Mineros Uno'

Writers
Arturo von Vacano: Bolivian writer and photojournalist
Juan Wallparrimachi: Bolivian Writer

Musicians
Ernesto Cavour: Famous charango player
KalaMarka: Bolivian folk music group


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The Carnaval de Oruro is the biggest annual cultural event in Bolivia.

The carnival goes for three days and three nights and starts forty days before Easter. It starts of with a parade that includes fifty dancing groups that travel a route that is four kilometres long. The groups represent different indigenous dance forms and are accompanied by an assortment of bands. The carnival ends with two plays.
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Fifty dancing groups parade through a route that
Musical Instruments Include:
  • Siku
  • Quena
  • Tarka
  • Pinkillo
  • Skin Drums
  • Bronze Gongs
  • Copper Bells This is a Siku, a traditional Andean Panpipe.

The national sport is soccer so many people play it for entertainment.
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Bolivia Soccer Team

Economy
The Bolivian economy is one of the least developed and poorest out of all Latin America. The 1980's economic crisis in Bolivia led to a great collapse and rebuilding within the nation, which created to reform of foreign investment policy. After this, in the 1990's, poverty rates within the country were greatly reduced and quality of life was improving. In 2003, Bolivian problems began to resurface, as a result of poor politics, racism, and the local protest of exportation and the depletion of natural resources (primarily natural gas reserves being exported to areas of the Northern Hemisphere). The 2005 Bolivian governent imposed Hydrocarbon and Mining tax to foreign firms, which helped bring in more money and surplus to the nation. This surplus continued to grow untill the 2009 global recession, when the growth rate of the entire nation slowed from 6.1% down to 2.8%. Experts have projected an even lower rate of growth for 2010, as the world wide recession will still be prominent, and will greatly impact imports and exports for the nation.

The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for Bolivia continues to grow every year. The CIA World Factbook lists the 2007, 2008, 2009 GDP values as $41.37 billion, $43.9 billion, and $45.13 billion respectively. Out of the total GDP produced yearly, the Factbook also lists 11.3% as agricultural production, 36.9% as industry, and 51.8% as service industry GDP. The labour force for 2009 (4.536 million people) had 40% of people working in agriculture, 17% in industry, and 43% in the service industry. The only notable differences in the figures are the high percentages of people working in agriculture versus the relatively low Gross Domestic Product rate for that sector. Wealth in Bolivia is mostly concentrated in large urban centres, which have an unemployment of only 8.5%, while those numbers are much higher in rural Bolivia.

Enviromental Issues

The biggest issues surrounding the Bolivian environment have to do with pollution and the destruction of natural resources. Pollution coming from major production facilities and industry have been greatly contributing to the pollution of land, air , and water, and resulting loss of biodiversity. In addition to this, the poor cultivation of the soil does not allow many crops to be grown successively for extended periods of time. A strategy which has been developed for local agricultural use is known as 'slash and burn' agriculture (or Swidden). This method creates a fertile growing environment for crops to be grown, but is also heavily destructive of the surrounding areas that can not be easily regrown.
Although the destructive methods of Swidden agriculture are playing a large role in the destruction of natural areas and habitat, there is no viable alternative for many Bolivians. Low crop yeilds highly impact the health and wellness of farmers and their families.

Health care, Development, and Critical Issues

As a result of the past and present economic struggle within Bolivia, is it not suprising that the country desperately needs more stability and development. Three important areas which experts have been focusing development efforts on are medical systems, education, and hydrocarbons (important socially as well as economically).

1. Medical systems (health care services)
Bolivian health care is one of the most important social programs which must be improved in order to improve the standard of living for the nation. In 1994, it was estimated by the WHO (World Health Organization) that infant mortalityeffected 75 out of every 1000 births. Almost 30% of toddlers under 3 years old in Boliva were suffering from malnutrition, which would greatly impact proper growth and health later in life. As of recently, fertility rates have been declining also, likely a result of poor health. As a result of most Bolivian employment being related to agriculture or physical labour, occupational hazards and related injuries and also commonplace. 1998 changes to the Bolivian health care system helped create a nationally funded system which is more readily available to the public. In many places, the federal government has partnered with local municipalities in an attempt of improvement. Bolivia has also recieved alot of interest from NGO's (Non Government Organizations) and foreign funding from other parts of the world.

2. Education and literacy (Education available to all Bolivians)
Bolivian education in the 1800's and 1900's was essentially non-existent. All neccessary and culturally relevant education occured in informal settings and was usually passed through generations of families. When Bolivia became colonized, small amounts of formal education began to occur through the clergy, and was very uncommon. By the year 1900, several schools had been built, but existed only for the elite and the high class citizens. It wasn't untill much later that public school was available for the masses in the 1950-60's. Education improved even further in the 1980's when the Bolivian government introduced literacy programs, more schools, and other related programs.
Although there was considerable funding going towards education in Bolivia, it was also one of the first things to be neglected when the economic recession occured in the 1980's, and at other crucial times. Drop-out rates remain high, all through the country, and school is only taught in Spanish, which creates many problems with native populations who only use other widespread languages.

Unique Features

Bolivia is divided into nine departments. The departments include Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz, and Tarija. The departments are divided into 100 provinces. The provinces are divided into municipalities and cantons, which handle local affairs. It is bordered by Brazil to the North and to the East Paraguay, to the West, Chilie and Peru and finally to the South Argentina. Bolivia's capital is La Paz.

Click here to read a Border Issue between Bolivia Chile and Peru.----> http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6032VL20100104

The United States is Bolivia's largest trading partner. Bolivia's major exports to the United States are tin, gold, jewelery and wood products. It's major imports are computers, vehicles, wheat, and machinery.






References

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35751.htm

http://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bl.html (Economy)
http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/bolivia/cardenas.htm (Politics)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/country_profiles/1210487.stm (Politics)
http://www.protocol.gov.bc.ca/protocol/prgs/consular/country/bl-info.htm (Politics)
http://www.internationaleducationmedia.com/images/bolivia_flag.jpg (Flag)
http://www.indexmundi.com/bolivia/environment_current_issues.html (Environmental Issues)
http://www.fsdinternational.org/ntlopps/country/bolivia/environment.com (Environmental Issues)
http://www.fao.org/ag/AGAinfo/programmes/en/pplpi/docarc/wp15.pdf (Rural Sector)
http://www.boliviacontact.com/en/sugerencia/carnaval/carnaval.php (Culture)
http://www.mercadolibre.com.ar/jm/img?s=MLA&f=54133390_3986.jpg&v=E (Culture)
http://www.realestateinbolivia.com/bolivian-culture.html (Culture)
http://www.viajejet.com/wp-content/viajes/Carnaval-de-oruro-bolivia.JPG (
Culture)
http://www.boliviadevelopment.com (health care, development)
http://www.paho.org/English/SHA/prflBOL.htm (health care, development)
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/Bolivia.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bl.html (Unique Features)