Thursday, August 2, 2012

Where is Bolivia?

First, the article t hat inspired my question.
From RT:  End of capitalism': Bolivia to expel Coca-Cola in wake of 2012 Mayan 'apocalypse'

n a symbolic rejection of US capitalism, Bolivia announced it will expel the Coca-Cola Company from the country at the end of the Mayan calendar. This will mark the end of capitalism and usher in a new era of equality, the Bolivian govt says.
“December 21 of 2012 will be the end of egoism and division. December 21 should be the end of Coca-Cola,” Bolivian foreign minister David Choquehuanca decreed, with bombast worthy of a viral marketing campaign.
The coming ‘end’ of the Mayan lunar calendar on December 21 of this year has sparked widespread doomsaying of an impending apocalypse. But Choquehuanca argued differently, claiming it will be the end of days for capitalism, not the planet.

“The planets will align for the first time in 26,000 years and this is the end of capitalism and the beginning of communitarianism,”
said Choquehuanca as quoted by Venezuelan newspaper El Periodiquito.
The minister encouraged the people of Bolivia to drink Mocochinche, a peach-flavored soft drink, as an alternative to Coca-Cola. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez followed suit, encouraging his country to ditch the American beverage for fruit juice produced in Venezuela.


Last year, Bolivia became the second Latin American country not to have a single McDonald’s. The fast food giant finally gave up on Bolivia after being unable to turn a profit in the country for over a decade.
Following this failure, the monolithic multinational released a documentary titled ‘Why McDonald’s failed in Bolivia.’ Referencing surveys, sociologists, nutritionists and historians, the company came to the conclusion it was not their food that was the issue, but a culturally driven boycott.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has a reputation for controversial policies similar to the Coca-Cola ban. Morales pledged last month to legalize the consumption of coca leaves, one of the main ingredients of cocaine.

“Neither the US nor capitalist countries have a good reason to maintain the ban on coca leaf consumption,”
said Morales.
The coca leaf was declared an illegal narcotic by the UN in 1961, along with cocaine, opium and morphine. The consumption of coca leaves is a centuries-old tradition in Bolivia, strongly rooted in the beliefs of various indigenous groups.
 From Wikipedia:
Bolivia is a landlocked country in central South America. It is bordered by Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina to the south, Chile to the southwest, and Peru to the west.

Prior to European colonization, the Andean region of Bolivia was a part of the Inca Empire – the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century. During most of the Spanish colonial period, this territory was called Upper Peru and was under the administration of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which included most of Spain's South American colonies. After declaring independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Republic, named for Simón Bolívar, on 6 August 1825. Bolivia has struggled through periods of political instability, dictatorships and economic woes.
Bolivia is a democratic republic that is divided into nine departments. Its geography is varied from the peaks of the Andes in the West, to the Eastern Lowlands, situated within the Amazon Basin. It is a developing country, with a Medium Human Development Index score, and a poverty level of 53%.

Its main economic activities include agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, and manufacturing goods such as textiles, clothing, refined metals, and refined petroleum. Bolivia is very wealthy in minerals, especially tin. Bolivia has gained global attention for its 'Law of the Rights of Mother Earth', one of the unique laws in the world that accord nature, the same rights as humans.

The Bolivian population, estimated at 10 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, Asians and Africans. The main language spoken is Spanish, although the Guarani, Aymara and Quechua languages are also common and all three, as well as 34 other indigenous languages, are official. The large number of different cultures within Bolivia has contributed greatly to a wide diversity in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.


In 2006, life expectancy at birth was 64 for males and 67 for females.A study by UN Development Programme and UNICEF reported that over 230 babies in Bolivia died per day through lack of proper care.The majority of the population has no health insurance. A significant part of the population has no access to healthcare. Demographic and Health Surveys has completed five surveys in Bolivia since 1989 on a wide range of topics.

Just a bit of economics:
The United States remains Bolivia's largest trading partner (excepting natural resources, such as natural gas). In 2002, the United States exported $283 million of merchandise to Bolivia and imported $162 million.
Agriculture accounts for roughly 15% of Bolivia's GDP. Soybeans are the major cash crop, sold into the Andean Community market. Bolivian coca growing is both economically and political important.
Bolivia's government remains heavily dependent on foreign assistance to finance development projects. At the end of 2002, the government owed $4.5 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 record.
The rescheduling of agreements granted by the Paris Club has 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 loans.

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