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Nov. 22, 2023

Bolivia’s Descent into Deep Chaos and the Implications for the Region

By R. Evan Ellis

R. Evan Ellis | 

The resource rich, land-locked South American nation of Bolivia has traditionally received limited attention from Washington. The country, historically mired in poverty, corruption, and cycles of political conflict is one of the hemisphere’s major sources for coca and illegally mined gold, as well as a transit country for both. Bolivia’s leftist populist Movement for Socialism (MAS) governments of Evo Morales and Luis Arce have made the country an important point of entry into the hemisphere for extra-hemispheric U.S. rivals including the People’s Republic of China, Russia, and Iran. 

In recent weeks, a power struggle has emerged for control of the MAS between current President Luis Arce and former President Evo Morales. This has implications for the stability of the country as it plays out in the context of crosscutting political rivalries, economic difficulties, and a significant criminal economy with competing interests. This work examines the deteriorating situation in Bolivia and the potential implications for the region. 


Background image adapted from https://latinoamerica21.com/en/evo-arce-and-the-cost-of-renewal/