- Bolivia examining Spanish proposal for bioceanic rail line
- Bolivia | Latin America | Practical Action
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The invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in by Napoleon 's forces proved critical to the independence struggle in South America. The overthrow of the Bourbon Dynasty and the placement of Joseph Bonaparte on the Spanish throne tested the loyalty of the local elites in Upper Peru, who were suddenly confronted with several conflicting authorities. Most remained loyal to the Spanish Bourbons. Taking a wait-and-see attitude, they supported the Supreme Central Junta in Spain, a government which claimed to rule in the name of the abdicated Ferdinand VII. Some liberals eagerly welcomed the possible reforms to colonial rule promised by Joseph Bonaparte.
A few officials supported the claims to a type of regency of the Spanish realms by Ferdinand's sister, Carlota , who at the moment governed from Brazil with her husband, Prince Regent John of Portugal. This conflict of authority resulted in a local power struggle in Upper Peru between and , which constituted the first phase of the efforts to achieve independence. But the oidores of the Audiencia favored the Supreme Central Junta. During the following seven years, Upper Peru became the battleground for forces of the United Provinces of the River Plate and royalist troops from Peru.
Although the royalists repulsed three Argentine invasions, guerrillas controlled parts of the countryside, where they formed six major republiquetas , or zones of insurrection. In these zones, local patriotism would eventually develop into a full fight for independence.
By , Upper Peru was relatively quiet and under the control of the Viceroyalty of Peru. Santa Cruz got involved in internal Peruvian political problems and succeeded in unifying Peru and Bolivia into a confederation, the Peru—Bolivian Confederation. As Santa Cruz openly declared the Inca Empire as a predecessor of his state, this move was perceived as a threat to regional power balance and a menace to countries on former Inca territory. The War of the Confederation broke out and different wars against almost all its neighbors were fought during this period with sound of number one victory royales against its enemies.
Bolivia examining Spanish proposal for bioceanic rail line
Arguably, the turning point took place on the fields of Paucarpata, where the Confederacion Peru-Boliviana, led by Santa Cruz, forced the Chilean and Peruvian rebel armies to sign the peace treaty known as the Paucarpata Treaty, which included their unconditional surrender; later this treaty was discarded by the Chilean parliament. This was the turning point in Bolivian history; after this moment, coups and short-lived constitutions dominated Bolivian politics for nearly 40 years.
Going through a vicious economic and political crisis, Bolivia's military weakness was demonstrated during the War of the Pacific —83 , when it lost its Pacific seacoast and the adjoining nitrate rich fields to Chile. An increase in the world price of silver brought Bolivia a measure of relative prosperity and political stability in the late s. During the early part of the 20th century, about , tin replaced silver as the country's most important source of wealth. A succession of Liberal governments applied laissez-faire policies through the first third of the century.
Living conditions of the indigenous peoples, who constitute more than half of the population, remained deplorable. Forced to work under primitive conditions in the mines and in nearly feudal status on gigantic estates with vast land with many holdings, they were denied access to education, economic opportunity, or political participation.
Bolivia's defeat by Paraguay in the Chaco War — 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 revolution, the emergence of contending ideologies and the demands of new groups convulsed Bolivian politics. Standing alongside the Mexican Revolution , the Bolivian National Revolution is one of the most significant sociopolitical events to occur in Latin America during the 20th century.
The party initiated a brief but bloody civil war in October , but was defeated. The MNR emerged victorious in the elections, but the results were called fraudulent by the opposition, and its right to the presidency was denied. What is especially significant about the Revolution is that, for the first time in Republican history, the State attempted to incorporate into national life the Aymara and Quechua peasants that together constituted no less than 65 percent of the total population. Although the policies pursued by the MNR were largely corporatist and assimilationist, it marked a significant turning point in Bolivia's contested history of indigenous-state relations.
Bolivia | Latin America | Practical Action
Following the revolution, the Bolivian state sought to strengthen its role in rural areas, implementing an extensive public health campaign that specifically included indigenous Bolivians. Many scholars have looked to the CIA in explaining the November coup, but an increasing number of declassified U. Towards the end of Paz's second term, Barrientos — a popular, Quechua-speaking General — had succeeded in co-opting the peasant unions formed in the wake of the agrarian reform, establishing the Pacto Militar-Campesino PMC.
Throughout the s Barriento leveled the peasant unions against labor unrest in the mines. The death of Barrientos in a helicopter accident led to a succession of weak governments. His government was quickly subjected to external pressure. The World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank refuse to grant it the loans necessary to pursue industrial development work.
But its government is not stable, because it is supported only by a minority of the army and the country's middle class. The wealthy classes, part of the army, the right wing of the MNR and the Phalangist party plot against him. Despite massive resistance — both civilian and military — the conservative forces had learned the lessons of the failed October, uprising, and applied brutality without compunction.
Banzer ruled with MNR support from to 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 Banzer's presidency, but demands for greater political freedom undercut his support. His call for elections in plunged Bolivia into turmoil once again. In the basement of the Ministry of the Interior or "the horror chambers" around 2, political prisoners were held and tortured during the military rule.
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Elections in , , and were inconclusive and marked by fraud. There were coups, counter-coups, and caretaker governments. In , Gen. His government was notorious for human rights abuses, narcotics trafficking, and economic mismanagement. This led to a breakdown in relations with the U. Unrest forced the military to convoke the Congress elected in and allowed it to choose a new chief executive.
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Severe social tension, exacerbated by economic mismanagement, rampant poverty and weak leadership, forced him to call early elections and relinquish power a year before the end of his constitutional term. When he took office in , he faced a staggering economic crisis. Economic output and exports had been declining for several years. 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 no longer a problem.
However, his remarkable accomplishments were not won without sacrifice. The collapse of tin prices in October , 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, miners.
Paz Zamora assumed the presidency, and the MIR took half the 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, codifying some of them.
Paz Zamora's regime was less decisive against narcotics trafficking. The government broke up a number of trafficking networks but issued a surrender decree giving lenient sentences to the biggest narcotics kingpins. Also, his administration was extremely reluctant to pursue coca eradication. It did not agree to an updated extradition treaty with the US, although two traffickers have been extradited to the U.
Beginning in early , the Bolivian Congress investigated Paz Zamora's personal ties to accused major trafficker Isaac Chavarria , who subsequently died in prison while awaiting trial. MIR deputy chief Oscar Eid was jailed in connection with similar ties in ; he was found guilty and sentenced to 4 years in prison in November Technically still under investigation, Paz Zamora became an active presidential candidate in Have questions about this item, or would like to inquire about a custom or bulk order? If you have any questions about this product by Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, contact us by completing and submitting the form below.
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