USAID/Bolivia provides about $85 million annually in development assistance through bilateral agreements with the Bolivian Government and unilateral agreements with other organizations. USAID programs are implemented by non-governmental organizations , the private sector, and the Bolivian Government. USAID’s programs support Bolivia’s National Development Plan and are designed to address key issues, such as poverty and the social exclusion of historically disadvantaged populations, focusing efforts on Bolivia’s peri-urban and rural populations. The United States established diplomatic relations with Bolivia in 1849 following its independence from Spain. Beginning in 2008, the prior Bolivian government’s decisions to expel the U.S. ambassador, U.S. law enforcement, and development cooperation agencies has strained the bilateral relationship between the United States and Bolivia. Despite these challenges, the United States maintains a strong and respectful relationship with the Bolivian people, with whom we work to advance human rights, entrepreneurship, and cultural and educational initiatives.

Chile and Bolivia broke diplomatic relations in 1978 following the failure of territorial negotiations regarding the exit to the sea of the plurinational state. Limited gas reserves, high fuel subsidies, an increasingly challenging regional market, and global efforts to decarbonize the energy sector make it necessary to seek alternatives to gas exports.

Of course, the two governments’ interests and agendas will not always coincide, real differences will persist and new disputes will arise; but the perpetuation of suspicions and antagonism that led to a breakdown in bilateral relations during the Bush administration is neither desirable nor inevitable. It would make little sense to prolong or let fester inherited problems that can be resolved for the better. Indeed, the new Obama administration and Congress could help repair some of the damage done to the U.S. reputation in Latin America in recent years by taking a flexible, respectful approach toward Bolivia, in cooperation with Bolivia’s neighbor democracies and the international community. The State Department claimed that there was a 14 percent increase in the area of coca under cultivation, and an increase in potential cocaine production from 115 to 120 metric tons, figures that the USTR echoed in its decision by alluding to a vague, “marked” increase in cocaine production. The cited 14 percent increase is nearly triple the 5 percent increase reported by UNODC for 2007.

Bolivia and the United States

In a decree issued by Bolivia’s supreme court in October 2007, one article states that Bolivia will not accept money with political or ideological strings attached. After the general election of October 2020 and the victory of socialist candidate Luis Arce, relations worsened despite an attempt by Arce to improve ties with the United States. When Jeanine Áñez and several of her cabinet ministers were arrested in March 2021 and charged with criminal offences related to massacres that took place during the first days of her presidency, relations hit a new low, after remarks by U.S. In response, the Arce administration stated the United States was interfering in Bolivia’s internal affairs. BrazilBrazil and Bolivia have been working on expanding and diversifying trade between the two countries in the last quarter of 2008. The 6th Meeting of the Commission for Monitoring Brazil-Bolivia trade was used to this end.

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These conclusions show that the state of diplomatic relations are not necessarily indicative of the intensity of trade between countries. Additionally, some 1,270 rural producer organizations will form productive alliances to facilitate their participation in value chains with commercial partners and access to technical assistance providers to achieve improved, more equitable access to markets, technologies, and organizational skills.

Bolivia: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

The additional financing , approved in 2017, focuses on a more resilient agriculture and aims to reach producers nationwide, promoting productivity improvements, mainly by means of investments in automated irrigation, thus contributing to food security and to the production of food for the domestic market. In 2021, the economy staged a significant recovery owing to improvements in the international environment and the relaxation of lockdown measures.

Readers may still remain curious about why the US took such a low-key approach to what Secretary of State John Foster Dulles initially viewed as a Communist threat in Bolivia. Lehman reviews accepted versions of why the Americans reacted so mildly –physical distance, strong American tin stockpiles, and the relatively junior status of State Department officials who directed Washington’s Bolivia policies. Lehman notes that “it certainly helped that there was no United Fruit Company in Bolivia to plaster news of radical MNR reforms across the pages of U.S. newspapers” (p.107). He also stresses the lack of a reasonable alternative to the MNR once the military was broken and traditional political parties marginalized. Lehman presents some interesting documentation to support this line of thinking in the State Department but, in the end, does not explain how such calm prevailed in Washington at a tense moment in Cold War conflict. Boric ratified that Chile did not negotiate its sovereignty and remarked the need to gradually let the diplomatic relationship between both nations be restablished gradually.

Bolivia is trying to cushion the effects generated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the fall in oil price. The recovery will require actions to secure stability, promote the private sector, and protect the most vulnerable. Riven by ideological divisions and facing a lack of adequate regional mechanisms, neighboring countries cannot even agree on whether Evo Morales’s ouster constitutes a coup. Supporters of China’s Muslim Uighur minority and Turkish nationalists wave the flag of East Turkestan during an anti-China protest. Demonstrators hold flags with the face of former president Evo Morales during a Movement for Socialism closing rally ahead of presidential elections in El Alto, Bolivia, on Oct. 14.

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Diplomatic missions

Political and economic officers deal directly with the Bolivian Government in advancing U.S. interests, but are also available to provide information to American citizens on local economic and political conditions in the country. Commercial officers work closely with numerous U.S. companies that operate direct subsidiaries or have investments in Bolivia, providing information on Bolivian trade and industry regulations and administering several programs intended to aid U.S. companies starting or maintaining businesses in Bolivia.

It is estimated to experience the third largest loss of all Latin American countries . The United States is one of Bolivia’s top trade partners, with $1.05 billion in bilateral goods trade in 2021. Bolivia and the United States continue working to mutually recognize Bolivia’s national spirit, singani, and Tennessee whiskey and Kentucky bourbon as distinctive products, increasing their commercial viability in both countries. U.S. exports to Bolivia include machinery, aircraft, vehicles, and optical and medical instruments. U.S. imports from Bolivia include tin, precious stones, mineral ores, cereals, fruits and nuts. Drawing in part on his work on the Bolivian Revolution and U.S. relations with revolutionary governments after 1953, Lehman applies a dependency theory methodology to the current study.

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