Bolivia History after the 1952 Revolution

Bolivia History after the 1952 Revolution

In the presidential elections of 7 May 1951, V. Paz Estenssoro, the candidate of the Social Revolutionary and pro-Indian Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario (MNR), the strongest party in Bolivia with broad supporters among the miners and the rural population, was victorious. Paz Estenssoro’s inauguration was prevented by a military coup. Thereupon the miners led by Juan Lechín Oquendo (* 1915, † 2001) organized an overthrow that was successful on April 9th, 1952 with the support of the paramilitary police. The government of Paz Estenssoro (1952–56) nationalized tin mining, replaced the army with workers’ militias, began a far-reaching land reform and gave civil rights (including active and passive voting rights) to the Indian population. The MNR and the new Central Obrera Boliviana (COB; German Bolivian Workers’ Center) led by Lechín Oquendo were supposed to secure government power. The social revolutionary measures broke with the traditional rule of the agricultural and mining oligarchy, but at the same time they caused high production declines in agriculture and mining. The result was economic recession and social tensions between the MNR and the COB during the presidency of Hernán Siles Zuazo (* 1914, † 1996; 1956–60).

In the second term of Paz Estenssoros (1960–64) radical left forces gained ground; In 1961, an uprising supported by the Cuban government was put down. Due to unresolved power conflicts with Paz Estenssoro and the MNR, Lechín Oquendo left the party with his supporters in 1964. New unrest shortly after the re-election of Paz Estenssoro provoked a military coup led by General René Barrientos Ortuño (* 1919, † 1969). As president (1964–69) he replaced the social revolutionary line of the MNR with moderate reforms and pushed back the power of the trade unions. In 1967 he crushed the guerrilla movement led by Che Guevara.

His successors in the presidency, General Alfredo Ovando Candia (* 1918, † 1982; 1969/70) and General Juan José Torres Gonzales (* 1921, † 1976; 1970/71), with the support of the trade unions, took a left-wing nationalist course. In August 1971, Colonel H. Banzer Suárez took over the power and was able to calm the domestic political situation. He relied on the MNR, but later governed more and more by dictatorial means. After his fall (1978), the attempt to regulate his successor through elections (1978, 1979 and 1980) triggered military coups supported by various alliances. Nine presidents in four and a half years, bloody repression, ongoing strikes and demonstrations were symptoms of the chaotic situation. Even President Siles Zuazo, elected in 1980, who was only able to take office in October 1982, failed to stabilize the country’s situation (including hyperinflation); his austerity measures failed, among other things. the militant resistance of the COB.

In January 2009, according to usaers, the majority of the population finally voted in a referendum for the newly drafted constitution. On the basis of this constitution, presidential and parliamentary elections were held in December 2009, which Morales and his party MAS won by a large margin. In 2012/13 the government continued the nationalization policy in the energy, telecommunications and infrastructure sectors. In May 2013 the unions called a general strike and demanded an increase in pensions. There were serious clashes and damage to property for over two weeks before an agreement was reached with the government. That same month, contrary to the wording of the 2009 Constitution, the Constitutional Court allowed Morales to run for a third time . for the 2014 presidential election. The judges ruled that Morales’ first term should not be taken into account as the current constitution was not yet in force. In the elections on October 12, 2014, the population confirmed Morales in office with 61% of the votes. In the parliamentary elections held at the same time, his party MAS achieved a two-thirds majority with 88 out of 130 seats. In one of Morales’ In the referendum initiated on February 21, 2016, a majority of around 51.3% of the voters opposed a constitutional amendment that would have enabled the president to run again for the highest office in 2019. However, the Constitutional Court granted him the right to apply for a further term in 2017. Morales won the presidential elections on October 19, 2019 in the first ballot with 47.1% of the vote. Second place went to the candidate of the conservative opposition, Carlos Mesa (* 1953 ), who had 36.5%. The electoral victory of the incumbent was controversial and led to clashes between supporters of the two candidates in La Paz. The opposition and international observers ( EU, USA, OAS ) accused the authorities of manipulating the election results and called for a runoff between Morales and Mesa. Due to ongoing street protests and pressure from the military and police, the president resigned from his post on November 10, 2019 and went into exile in Argentina. On November 12, 2019, the conservative Senator Jeanine Áñez (* 1967) declared herself interim president.

The presidential election on October 18, 2020 was won by the former finance and economy minister of the Morales government, Luis Arce (MAS), with 55.1% of the vote. It was followed by the liberal candidate Carlos Mesa with 28.8%.

World Heritage Sites in Bolivia

World Heritage Sites (K) and World Natural Heritage (N)

  • City and silver mines of Potosí (K; 1987)
  • Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos (K; 1990)
  • Old town of Sucre (K; 1991)
  • Ruins »El Fuerte de Samaipata « (K; 1998)
  • Noel Kempff Mercado National Park (N; 2000)
  • Pre-Hispanic ruins of Tiahuanaco (K; 2000)
  • Great Inca Road » Qhapaq Ñan « in the Andes (K; 2014)

Bolivia History after the 1952 Revolution