Bolivia Government and Politics

Government and administrative divisions. – Bolivia is a unitary republic, whose president is elected for 4 years by direct popular suffrage. The Congreso Nacional is made up of the Senate (2 members per department, elected for 6 years and renewable for a third every 2 years) and the Chamber of Deputies (70 members, elected by direct male suffrage for 4 years, half renewable every 2 years).

Administratively, Bolivia is divided into 8 departments and two territories, divided in turn into 72 provinces and 681 cantons. For Bolivia political system, please check

It should be noted that most of the Chaco Boreal is included in the territory of the Chaco, in dispute with Paraguay.

Or ecclesiastical organization. – The unity of government, which governed and influenced the colonial development of Latin America and in particular of South America, explains how the religious history of Bolivia is intimately connected with that of the surrounding districts, particularly with that of Argentina, of the Peru and Paraguay. Even in Bolivia, or upper Peru, as that country was usually called until the beginning of the century. XIX, evangelization proceeded hand in hand with the occupation by religious belonging to the order of preachers, friars minor and mercedarî, to which the Jesuit fathers were added shortly after, all of whom lavished treasures of zeal and energy to reduce the primitive residents, the Quechúa and the Aymarȧ, to abandon their cruel and barbaric rites and to embrace Christianity. The Catholic hierarchy began there in 1552 with the foundation of the bishopric of Chuquisaca also called Ciudad de la Plata from the great abundance of silver found in that region. At first La Plata was made a suffragan see of Lima in Peru, but, following the creation of the two new dioceses of La Paz and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, La Plata was made a metropolis (1609).

To these three dioceses a fourth was added in 1847, that of Cochabamba, while in 1924, the other three of Oruro, Potosí and Tarija were built.

The small number of these ecclesiastical institutions, rather than with the vastness of the territory, must be related to the population which, even according to the most recent calculations, only reaches 3.5 million. Especially in the vast regions of the east, crossed by powerful streams, few tribes of Indians are scattered, still in a state of semi-barbarians. Above all, the two apostolic vicariates of El Beni and del Chaco, administered by the friars minor, and the apostolic prefecture of Pilcomayo, entrusted to the oblates of Mary Immaculate, were established for these.

Army. – Bolivia, an eminently alpine country, has a small army, but organized especially for mountain warfare. And in fact there is no greater unit than the mixed brigade, slender and light, particularly suitable, given its constitution, to move and fight in mountainous regions.

The supreme head of the army is the president of the republic. The territory of Bolivia is divided into three zones and two military commands: 1. northern area, including the department of La Paz; 2. downtown area, which includes the departments of Oruro and Cochabamba; 3. southern area, which includes those of Potosí and Chuquisaca. Each zone is commanded by a major general. The two military commands are made up of the departments of Tarija, S. Cruz and Beni.

The Bolivian army is organized on 3 mixed brigades assigned at the rate of one per military zone: each mixed brigade is made up of: 2 infantry regiments; 1 of cavalry; 2 batteries (mountain or countryside); rates of genius; services. Overall, the Bolivian army includes about 8000 men divided between the following units: 6 infantry regiments (each on 2 battalions of 3 rifle companies and 1 machine gun); 3 cavalry regiments on 4 squadrons, 1 field artillery regiment on 2 batteries; 1 mountain artillery regiment on 4 batteries; 2 engineering battalions (including 1 diggers); 1 aviation squadron on 12 aircraft.

In each capital of the department there are also small infantry units, “columnas” made up of 100 or 200 men, and which can be brought to the strength of battalions.

The obligation of military service is general and personal and lasts 30 years, divided as follows: 6 (from the 19th to the 24th year of age) to the active army; 7 (from 25 to 32 years of age) to the ordinary reserve; 8 (from 33 to 40 years of age) to the extraordinary reserve; 9 (from 41 to 49 years of age) to the territorial guard. When the revenue from the annual quota exceeds the need, it is divided, by drawing lots, into two categories; the 1st is incorporated for a duration of 2 years, the 2nd for a maximum period of 3 months. Those enrolled in the 2nd category are called up every year for a period of education lasting 30 days.

Men belonging to the two reserves (ordinary and extraordinary) also complete 12 to 20 days of education annually; they form special units which are incorporated into the active army.

The territorial guard, on the other hand, is only called in the event of war and for reasons of public order in the place of respective residence.

The budget of the war is around 8 and a half million Bolivian pesos, equal to about 64 million Italian lire (a Bolivian pesos is worth about 7.50 lire). It absorbs almost 20% of the entire budget amounting to 44 million and a half pesos.

Bolivia, due to its geographical position, has neither a military nor a merchant navy.

Aeronautics. – Bolivia is poor in the aviation industry. The material is supplied to her for the military side by France, for the civilian side by Germany.

The military aviation was established in 1924 on the occasion of the Bolivian centenary. The aviators corps depend on the Ministry of War. Civil aviation, on the other hand, depends on the Ministry of Transport and Communications, air traffic is entrusted to a single company with German aircraft and personnel, Aero Lloyd Boliviano; currently 5 airlines operate with more or less regular service and three more are planned.

It has seven civilian airports, a military airport, and a few makeshift camps.

Finance. – The main sources of income for Bolivia’s budget are duties, stamp duties and taxes on spirits, rubber and various minerals; the main branches of expenditure are public debt, armaments and education. The budget forecasts of ordinary income and expenses in the years 1925, 1926, 1927 and 1928, in thousands of Bolivianos, were as follows:

In 1928, on the proposal of the Kemmerer financial mission, Congress passed various laws on the legal stabilization of the currency, the reorganization of the National Bank, on the type of a central bank, the reform of the budget system, the collection of revenues and the disbursement of expenses, and the reorganization of the main taxes. The public debt of Bolivia as of June 30, 1928 amounted to 168 million Bolivianos, of which 128.4 of external debt, 23.2 of internal debt and 16.4 of floating debt.

Education. – Primary education is given by the municipalities and the state. In 1926 there were 1598 elementary schools with 2765 teachers and 79973 pupils. Secondary education provided 27 colleges (17 national), 5 religious institutes and 5 private high schools, with a total of 403 teachers and 4213 pupils. There were also 22 other special institutes with 177 professors and 1,913 students. There are two Bolivian universities, one of which in Sucre and the other in La Paz. Special training institutes are reserved for elementary teachers.

Bolivia Government