Bolivia Culture

Bolivia Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Bolivia

According to EHEALTHFACTS.ORG, Bolivia is a country located in South America. Bolivia is a country located in North America. The distribution of newspapers in Bolivia is limited (55 newspaper excl. Per 1,000 inv., 2000). About fifteen newspapers are published. The largest are conservative El Diario (edition: about 55,000 copies), La Razón (about 27,000 copies) and Catholic Presencia (about 20,000 copies), published in La Paz, and independent El Deber (about 35,000 copies)..) in Santa Cruz.

According to EZINERELIGION.COM, in Bolivia there are about 300 private radio stations, most with very local broadcasting. The television broadcasts were controlled until the mid-1990s by the state-owned company Empresa Nacional de Televisión Boliviana (founded in 1969), but since then several private broadcasters and local TV stations have been established. There are 676 radio and 119 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to CALCULATORINC, Bolivian society attaches great importance to cultural traditions, folk songs and folk tales. While Bolivia is multicultural with cosmopolitan cities, the contrasts between the Hispanic elite and the majority of indigenous people in cultural life are reflected.

During the 20th century, Bolivian literature dealt with the deep class contradictions, the 1952 revolution and the military dictatorships (see Older history). The poet Hector Borda (1927–) debuted in 1965 with the poetry collection El sapo y la serpiente (The toad and the snake). He was one of the founders of the Communist Party forced to flee the military regime, and in 1977 he came to Sweden as a political refugee.

The internationally best-known author is Augusto Céspedes (1904–1997), who was mainly active as a politician. He portrayed the consequences of colonialism and, among other things, wrote a short story about the war against Paraguay in the 1930s, in which he himself participated. In Metal del diablo (The Devil’s Metal) of 1947, Céspedes depicts the inhuman consequences of tin breaking in Bolivia.

Among the later generations of writers is Adolfo Cárdenas Franco (1951–), who works in La Paz and writes about society’s most marginalized groups.

Eusebio Topooco (1945–), who is aymara, came to Sweden via Spain in 1970 and has worked here as an artist and children’s book author.

According to PHILOSOPHYNEARBY.COM, the strong social and political commitment that has existed in the literature has also characterized many of the Bolivian feature films and documentaries.

Indigenous culture has a strong position, and folk music has also influenced Bolivian art music. Wind instruments such as zampoña and quena, the mandolin- like charangon and a variety of indigenous rhythm instruments give Bolivian music its features.

Among popular folk dances is mainly Huayño, a two-stroke dance with roots in pre-Columbian culture.



Diplomats are expelled

December 30

The government announces the expulsion of Mexico’s ambassador and two Spanish diplomats. According to THESCIENCETUTOR.ORG, the message comes after several days of protests outside the Mexican embassy in La Paz, where opponents of the old government demand the release of now-terrorist former Interior Minister Juan Ramón Quintana. Mexico has complained that the embassy is in practice besieged and that its diplomats are being harassed by Bolivian authorities, and has requested the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to mediate the conflict. The Mexican ambassador should already have been called home, for security reasons. The two Spanish diplomats, including the country’s chargé d’affaires, are accused by the transitional government of visiting Mexico’s embassy with “hostile intentions”.

New judges in the voting tribunal are appointed

December 19

Parliament approves six new judges in the Supreme Court of Justice (TSE). The former judges have all been arrested after the end of October elections. The first task of the new tribunal will be to set the dates for a new election.

Arrest warrant for Morales

December 18

An arrest warrant is issued for deposed President Evo Morales, which the government is accusing of insurgency and terrorism. Morales tweets that the allegations are “illegal, unfair and constitutional”. He himself has said that he does not stand as a candidate in the next election but believes that he should not be suspended from taking part in politics.

Morales is granted asylum in Argentina

December 12

Deputy President Evo Morales moves from Mexico to Argentina, where the newly-elected left government has granted him asylum. With him from Mexico, former Vice President Álvaro García, Foreign Minister Diego Pary, Health Minister Gabriela Montano and OAS Ambassador José Alberto Gonzáles will travel. The new Foreign Minister in La Paz, Karen Longaric, says that Argentina should follow the “principles and rules” and not allow Morales to speak politically, as he did in Mexico. Bolivia’s interim president Jeanin Añez was not invited when Argentina’s new president Alberto Fernández a few days earlier.

Additional ministers are granted asylum in Mexico

December 6

Former Minister of Economy Luis Arce states that he has been granted asylum in Mexico, just as the deposed President Evo Morales. Arce was Minister of Finance from 2006 to 2017, when he resigned for health reasons, during a period of high economic growth. Former Vice President Álvaro Garia and former Minister of Health Gabriela Montano have also been granted asylum in Mexico.

“Stunning evidence of cheating”

December 4th

In its final evaluation of the October election, the OAS states that there is overwhelming evidence that “malicious manipulation” affected the outcome. According to OAS, it is obvious that attempts were made to change the voting result. Among other things, hidden servers and counterfeit signatures must have been used.


Violent when fuel block is broken

November 19

Eight people are killed and about 30 injured when security forces shoot sharply to break a block at the Senkata fuel plant in El Alto. The army accuses “agitators and vandals” of having destroyed parts of the facility that have been besieged by Morales supporters for several days. According to eyewitnesses, at least a couple of the victims were passersby who did not participate in the blockade. The event triggers new unrest in El Alto, which is a stronghold for Morale’s party MAS.

Supplies are flown to La Paz

November 17

Authorities are starting to fly in supplies to La Paz due to lack of food and fuel in the capital. The shortcomings have arisen because of roadblocks erected by supporters of former President Evo Morales. The unrest continues and UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet has warned that the security forces’ overwhelm can lead to a serious escalation of the conflict.

Violent clash in Cochabamba

November 15

Nine farmers are shot to death in connection with cochlear farmers in Cochabamba clash with police and military. A total of 23 people have been killed and many more injured since the unrest following the October 20 elections. The IACHR Regional Human Rights Commission is strongly critical of Interim President Áñez’s decree guaranteeing impunity for the security forces.

Evo Morales banned from choice

November 14

Interim President Jeanine Áñez ruled out that former President Evo Morales would be allowed to stand in the election she promised to be held shortly. The transitional government states that talks have been initiated with the socialist party MAS in an attempt to put a stop to the unrest in deeply polarized Bolivia, but it is unclear what that means. Morale supporters continue to gather in La Paz, in protest of Áñez and clashes with police. The new government has given security forces clear signs of using force to restore order.

Senator exclaims president

November 12

Senator Jeanine Áñez from Beni proclaims interim president. Añez is a member of the Social Democratic Movement (MDS) and says that she, as Deputy Speaker of the Senate, was in turn taking over as Head of State and Government when the President, Vice President and Speaker of both chambers have left office. The Constitutional Court approves Áñez who proclaims himself as president during a session boycotted by MAS, the ousted president Evo Morale’s party. MAS has a majority in the Legislative Assembly with the MAS members saying they fear for their lives. At the same time, Evo Morales has landed in Mexico, following an airplane during which several countries have refused to allow the Mexican government plane to stop for refueling due to Morales being aboard.

Morales is granted asylum in Mexico

November 11

Evo Morales states that he accepted an offer of political asylum in Mexico, the day after he resigned as president. Mexico confirms Morales is being flown out of Bolivia on a Mexican government plane. Morales urges his followers to resist the “dark forces” that have forced him away. Continued clashes are reported between Morale’s supporters and opponents.

President Morales resigns

November 10

President Evo Morales resigns, three weeks after the disputed election. This occurs after a dramatic development in several stages. First, the OAS investigation, which Morales approved, states that election fraud occurred in the October 20 election. Then Morales says the election should be redone. Nevertheless, the military is urging him to retire. Then Morales does, citing that he wants to avoid bloodshed. But Morales says he has been subjected to a coup d’etat and says he is leaving his post to protect party mates and supporters who have been attacked and assaulted. Also Vice President Álvaro García Linera resigns, as do the Speaker of both Legislative Assembly chambers. The country thus stands without the head of state and government.


The election results are reviewed by OAS

October 30th

The government says it has agreed to allow the regional organization OAS to conduct a “binding review” of the disputed results from the first round of the presidential election. But opposition leader Carlos Mesa dismisses the decision on an investigation and calls for further strikes. An OAS group of 30 people is reported to be on their way to Bolivia to deal with the investigation immediately. At least two people have been killed in clashes between President Morale’s supporters and his opponents following the disputed election, the Department of Defense reports. These are two men who were both shot to death.

Morales warns of dome plans

October 27th

President Evo Morales claims that his political rivals are preparing for a power takeover in the coming week. This is the second time in five days that Morales warns of a coup. The criticism continues against the sudden shift during the vote, in Morale’s favor, with continued strikes and protests. Opposition leader Carlos Mesa has dismissed the election results as cheating. The EU, the US, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia have all called for a second round of elections, to restore confidence in the electoral process.

Morales is declared victorious in the presidential election

October 25th

President Evo Morales is formally announced as the winner in the presidential election when the final result is announced: Morales gets 47.08 percent of the vote and thus more than 10 percentage points more votes than the second, Carlos Mesa, who gets 36.5 percent. The protests are expected to continue despite the message from the electoral authority, but Mesa has called on its supporters for peaceful demonstrations.

General strike in protest against the election

October 23

The opposition announces a strike in protest of the disputed election results following Sunday’s presidential election. Opposition leader Carlos Mesa, who came second in the first round of the election, calls for continued protests against what he calls President Evo Morale’s attempt to cheat himself for victory. Unrest continues in the country, including clashes between political camps in Santa Cruz, which is a strong opposition base. Morales calls the protests a “right-wing” and says he is convinced to have won already in the first round. The President also talks about measures to “defend democracy”. Election observers from the regional organization OASconsiders that the large shift in earnings in the voting bill is difficult to explain and that a second round of elections should be held. The results reported so far give Morales 46.03 percent against 37.35 for Mesa, with 97 percent of the votes counted.

Violent protests after the election

21 October

The day after the presidential election, violence erupted in at least nine cities around Bolivia, due to what is perceived as an attempt to cheat on the outcome. After lying down for a day, voting numbers have begun to be published again, and now a quick count of just over 95 percent of the vote shows that Morales is stumbling close to getting the 10 percentage point lead.

Second rounds likely

October 20

When 84 percent of the votes are counted and the result points to a second round of voting, the publication of the voting bill is abruptly stopped. The preliminary result is then 45 percent for incumbent President Evo Morales and 38 percent for former President Carlos Mesa, who is a candidate for the Alliance Citizens Community. Morales says in a comment that he is confident of victory in the first round when the votes from the rural areas are finalized. For victory in the first round, at least half of the votes are required, or 40 percent of the votes and at least 10 percentage points more than the second. In the contemporary parliamentary elections, Morale’s party backs the Movement for Socialism (MAS) substantially compared to the 2014 election, but still retains its own majority in both chambers, 67 in the Chamber of Deputies and 21 in the Senate. Citizens’ Community (CC) gets 50 and 14 seats respectively,

Rain extinguishes the fires

October 8

Several days of intense rain are finally found to have been overcome by the extensive fires that have been raging for weeks.

Mass protest against President Morales

October 4th

Hundreds of thousands of people attend a demonstration in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia’s largest city, in protest of the government’s handling of the extensive fires that have been raging for weeks. Voters are urged by protesters to “punish” in the October 20 presidential election – against President Evo Morales. The opposition calls for the government to announce national disaster permits and appeal for international aid to fight the fires.


Continued fires cause great havoc

September 25

Over 2.3 million wild animals have, according to environmental experts, died in the extensive fires that continue to rage in eastern Bolivia (see August 2019). Although 5,000 firefighters, police and soldiers fight the fires with the aid of aircraft and helicopters, they now cover over 4 million hectares (40,000 square kilometers) of land, a large proportion of which are nature conservation areas. Among animals that have been wiped out are cougars, jaguars, llamas, tapirs, lizards and rodents. The fires have hit the tropical savannah Chiqutanía (or Llanos de Chiquitos) in Santa Cruz. An emergency permit has been introduced in Santa Cruz as well as in Beni. Critics believe the government’s agricultural policy has contributed to the fires, while the government claims that drought and harsh winds are the cause, and that “saboteurs” also start new fires after extinguishing work.

Strengthened support for Morale’s main rival

September 23

Support grows for President Evo Morale’s main challenger in the October presidential election, ex-President Carlos Mesa (2003-2005). His chances increase when opposition leader Samuel Doria Medina formally announces his and her party’s UN support for Mesa, a candidate for the Alliance Citizens Community (CC). Cement magnate Doria Medina came in second place in the 2014 presidential election but does not stand this time and has long said that he intends to stand behind the candidate who has the greatest chance of defeating Morales. Opinion polls indicate that there may be a second round of elections, which in this case will be the first time for Morales who won the three previous elections in the first round.


Fires make Morales cancel campaign

August 26th

President Evo Morales is temporarily suspending his election campaign to devote himself to extensive fires that have been raging uncontrollably for a month in forests and bushlands. Like right-wing colleague Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Morales has received growing criticism from environmental groups because of the fires that are doing great damage to the rainforest. Nearly 10,000 square kilometers of land have been destroyed. Morales is accused by critics of supporting deforestation. Environmental groups are raging over a decree that was issued in July, which gives farmers the right to increase the area they can clear with the use of burning from 5 to 20 hectares, which they say has contributed to the increased number of fires. The country’s bishops call the decree “reckless” and say it should be withdrawn.


A new regional forum is formed

March 22

Bolivia participates in a meeting in Chile where eight other South American countries launch the new Regional Forum for South America’s Progress (Prosur) which is intended to replace Unasur. Prosecur will mainly support democracy and the market economy, it says. The initiative has been taken by the presidents of Chile and Colombia, and the other participating countries are Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay and Peru. In addition to Bolivia, representatives of the left governments in Suriname and Uruguay also participate, but none of the three countries does not join Prosur. Venezuela was not invited.


General health care is being squandered

February 18

The Senate approves a legislative amendment that introduces general health care. The law has already been passed in the Chamber of Deputies, so now only President Morale’s signature is missing. The introduction of general and free healthcare has been one of Morale’s main goals. It is intended to include primary care from the beginning and then be extended.


Contested primary election before the presidential election

January 27

Primary elections are being held for the first time in Bolivia, according to a law passed in September 2018. Opposition parties have objected to the law, which they believe only serves to legitimize President Morale’s disputed candidacy in the election (see December 2018). The five largest opposition parties urged their members to abstain from voting in the primary elections, as a protest against Morales running for office. As a result, 400,000 MAS members (44 percent) vote for the party’s only candidate, Morales, while only 30,000 vote for all other eight candidates in total. Regular elections, for both the presidential post and the parliament, are held in October.

Bolivia Culture

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