Bolivia: Political and Economic Developments and Relations with the United States [January 30, 2009] [open pdf - 363KB]
"Bolivia has experienced a period of political volatility, with the country having had six presidents since 2001. Evo Morales, an indigenous leader and head of Bolivia's coca growers' union, and his party, the leftist Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), won a convincing victory in the December 18, 2005, presidential election with 54% of the votes. Early in his term, President Morales moved to decriminalize coca cultivation and nationalized the country's natural gas industry. His efforts to reform the Bolivian constitution have, until recently, been stymied by a strong opposition movement led by the leaders (prefects) of Bolivia's wealthy eastern provinces who are seeking greater regional autonomy. [...] Concerns regarding Bolivia in the 110th Congress focused largely on counternarcotics and trade issues. Bolivia received an estimated $99.5 million in U.S. foreign aid in FY2008, including roughly $47 million in counternarcotics assistance, significantly lower than in previous years. An enacted continuing resolution H.R. 2638/P.L. [Public Law] 110-329 will provide funding for U.S. programs in Bolivia at FY2008 levels through March 6, 2009. In October 2008, Congress enacted legislation to extend ATPA [Andean Trade Preferences Act] trade preferences for Bolivia until June 30, 2009 (P.L. 110-436). However, on November 25, 2008, President Bush announced his decision to suspend Bolivia's ATPA trade preferences effective December 15, citing Bolivia's failure to cooperate with the United States on counternarcotics efforts. The 111th Congress is likely to continue to focus on trade and drug issues as these concerns remain central to U.S. relations with Bolivia."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32580