Demography and economic geography
State of South America. Among the Latin American countries, Bolivia (10,389,913 residents at the 2012 census, 10,847,664 residents according to an estimate by UNDESA, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, of 2014) ranks at the bottom for health and development, considering the indicators of poverty, education, fertility, malnutrition, mortality and life expectancy. Some positive results have recently been achieved with regard to the mortality of children and pregnant women, but the costs of treatment, the scarcity of doctors and facilities, as well as the difficult morphology of the territory affect the access to health services by the population. rural. Public education is of modest quality and opportunities to access it are scarce, so often indigenous peoples and children (but especially girls) in rural areas are unable to complete even primary school. In the first decade of the 21st century. Bolivia has registered an intense phenomenon of urbanization,
Economic conditions. – Bolivia is experiencing a favorable economic situation (in the last decade the growth rate has remained around 4.8% per year), mainly linked to exports of mineral products. In particular, hydrocarbons represent half of the total value of exports and contribute to the formation of GDP for about 12%. Public debt, which reached 94% of GDP in 2003, has fallen to 40%. This positive trend has been used by the government for programs aimed at combating social inequalities (in 2002 poverty affected 63% of the population, while in 2011 it stood at 45%) and to reduce the weight of foreign companies, with the nationalization of telecommunications, hydrocarbon and electricity industries.
Starting from 2005 under the presidency of Evo Morales, an Amerindian of Aymara origin, the Bolivia went through a profound political and social transformation. Representative of coca farmers (cocaleros) and exponent of social movements for the control of resources, in previous years Morales had opposed both the neoliberal policies and the anti-drug trafficking agreements signed by Bolivia with the United States, which provided for the eradication of Bolivian coca plants, whose cultivation was part of the indigenous tradition. Morales was elected with 53.7% of the votes, won mainly among the indigenous and peasant popular classes.
In the economic field, Morales opposed neoliberal policies and limited the influence of foreign companies in the country by nationalizing, first, hydrocarbons (May 2006), the main resource of Bolivia, and, later, also telecommunications and electricity.. The profits thus obtained were invested in social programs aimed above all at the indigenous majority of the country and aimed at reducing poverty, discrimination and inequalities.
The drafting of a new constitution – for which a constituent assembly was elected in July 2006 – was accompanied by harsh protests from the opposition: representatives of the interests of the eastern regions of the country, rich in resources, they feared that the property was not protected enough. private and asked to be able to locally manage part of the profits deriving from nationalizations. Not seeing these requests accepted, four provinces declared autonomy. After the violent anti-government protests of September 2008, Morales expelled the US ambassador from Bolivia, accused of instigating them. The new Constitution, then approved with over 60% of the votes in a popular referendum (January 2009), declared the Bolivia a “pluri-national state”,
In the presidential elections of December 2009, Morales was re-elected with 64% of the vote: among the new ministers, he appointed ten women. In the following years, the president’s popularity was undermined by the increase in the prices of food and diesel and by the project, then shelved, to build a highway that would have divided an indigenous territory subject to cultural and environmental protection in two. However, in the elections of 12 October 2014, Morales – whose third candidacy was deemed unconstitutional by the opposition – was reconfirmed with 61% of the votes. For Bolivia 2003, please check computerannals.com.
On the international level, in April 2006 the Bolivia joined the ALBA (Alianza Bolivariana para las Américas), the economic and social cooperation program that already linked Venezuela and Cuba. Relations with the United States, on the other hand, deteriorated, especially for the issue of coca cultivation and for the offer of political asylum to the former CIA technician Edward Snowden, wanted by the USA for having published confidential data (July 2013).
At the beginning of the new millennium, Bolivian literature is constantly searching for new solutions, uncertain whether to take refuge in the rediscovery of pre-Columbian and even pre-Inca roots or whether to make the long-awaited leap towards an international dimension, necessarily also made up of contaminations.
The most famous Bolivian writer abroad is Edmundo Paz Soldán (b.1967), who resides in the United States and is characterized by his ability to investigate the psychology of characters, as is evident in Norte (2011) and Iris (2014). The four most significant authors in terms of style and linguistic innovation are Adolfo Cárdenas Franco (b.1950), Wilmer Urrelo Zárate (b.1975), Juan Pablo Piñeiro (b.1979) and William Camacho (b.1974). The first is responsible for the novel that most influenced young Bolivian literature, Periférica Boulevard (2004), a pastiche post pop that uses the structure of the detective story, dismantling it and reconstructing it in numerous variations, and a mixture of high language, full of puns and youthful jargon from the suburbs of La Paz, as confirmed by El case del Pérez de Holguín (2011). Urrelo Zárate, alternating humor and tragedy, interprets the existential anguish of the contemporary Bolivian, suspended between isolation and global interconnectedness, in novels such as Hablar con los perros (2012). Piñeiro elaborates in his postmodern epics, such as Illimani púrpura (2010), Quechua and Aymara myths of the plateau, transforming them into contemporary urban legends with a penetrating sense of the grotesque. Also linked to the emerging transformation of Bolivia into an urbanized society is Camacho, author, among other things, of the novel El misterio del estido (2008).
The fertile and award-winning Gonzalo Lema Vargas (b. 1959) investigates above all the feelings and human and loving relationships, between play and conflict: so in El mar, el sol y Marisol (2008). In the highly intellectual works of Eduardo Scott-Moreno (b.1955) the metaliterary aspects and references to classical culture are intertwined with a profound psychological introspection: He de morir de cosas así (2009) is a perfect example of this.
The torrential Manfredo Kempff Suárez (b. 1945), with complex and ingenious plots, is an exponent of the narrative of the Bolivian East, or rather of the Amazonian regions. In his novels there is a clearly tropical flavor, made up of sensuality, strong emotions and characters that are often exaggerated, but always alive and credible, as in Cuando fui Nerón (2008).
Among the writers of the latest generations, Véronica Ormachea Gutiérrez (b.1961), Giovanna Rivero (b.1972) and Liliana Colanzi (b.181) stand out, the latter of Abruzzo origin. Isabel Mesa Gisbert (b. 1960) is the most important author of children’s and children’s literature.
In the lively poetic environment, the most prominent figure is Benjamín Chávez (b. 1971). His is a not very lyrical poem, with narrative impulses and a mature existential analysis, evident in El libro entre los árboles (2013). More experimental and daring is Rodolfo Ortiz Oporto (b. 1969), former rock musician and tireless cultural promoter who dissects the verse and transforms it continuously, for example. in Cuadernos de la sequía (2006). Other poets include Jaime Taborga Velarde (b. 1952) and Cé Mendizábal (b. 1956).