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Bolivia: Membership in International Organizations
Country Study > Chapter 4 > Government and Politics > Foreign Relations > Membership in International Organizations


Latin American integration was a major tenet of Bolivian foreign policy largely because Bolivia recognized its severe geographic limitations. As mentioned earlier, Bolivia participated actively in the Amazonian Pact, ANCOM, and the Río de Plata Basin commercial and development agreement in the late 1980s. In fact, Bolivia was the only country in Latin America that could boast membership in all three of these organizations. Bolivia was also a charter member of the OAS and, as noted previously, was active in SELA and ALADI.

Bolivia was a founding member of the UN. In the 1980s, the UN served as a forum for several of Bolivia's demands, including its claims against Chile for access to the Pacific Ocean. In the late 1980s, the UN also provided cooperation on debt-relief programs and advice on coca-eradication programs.

Like those of other nations in Latin America, Bolivia's economy was closely scrutinized by the IMF, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Although its credit rating had been adversely affected by nonpayment of loans to private banks since 1985, Bolivia managed to restore its credibility, and the IMF and other lending agencies reopened credit lines.

Until recently very little literature in English was available on contemporary Bolivian politics. For information on Bolivia's governmental system and politics, readers may consult the following publications of James M. Malloy and Eduardo A. Gamarra: Revolution and Reaction; "Bolivia 1985-1987" in Abraham Lowenthal's Latin America and Caribbean Contemporary Record; and "The Transition to Democracy in Bolivia" in Malloy and Mitchell A. Seligson's Authoritarians and Democrats. Other useful books include William H. Brill's Military Intervention in Bolivia; James Dunkerley's historical work, Rebellion in the Veins; Jonathan Kelley and Herbert S. Klein's Revolution and the Rebirth of Inequality; Klein's Bolivia: The Evolution of a Multi-Ethnic Society; Jerry R. Ladman's multidisciplinary study, Modern Day Bolivia; Malloy's Bolivia: The Uncompleted Revolution; Christopher Mitchell's excellent The Legacy of Populism in Bolivia; and Rodolfo Salinas Pérez's La reconquista de la democracia.

Bolivian foreign relations are discussed in Alberto Crespo Gutiérrez's "Prioridades de la política exterior Boliviana" and Jorge Escobari Cusicanqui's "Enunciados para una política internacional Boliviana," both in Relaciones Internacionales. Additional relevant materials include Gamarra's "Democratization and Foreign Policy" and "The United States, Democracy, and the War on Drugs in Bolivia." (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of December 1989

Last Updated: December 1989

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Bolivia was first published in 1989. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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