Customs and traditions
The family is the center of social life and
framework in Bolivia. Families have strong networks and
in rural areas, several generations often live in the
same household. Gender roles are traditional and society
There is a class society with certain ethnic
characteristics, but the social differences do not
depend as much on skin color as on economic factors. For
historical reasons, the white minority is at the top of
the social ladder.
Overview of the capital city of Bolivia, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Personal relationships are important
Personal relationships are the key to being able to
progress in society. This has a back side in the form of
widespread nepotism and corruption. It is often decisive
who knows who. For example, a friend can arrange a
meeting with someone whose calendar is really full, a
well-known policeman can avoid punishment and so on.
Cultivating their contacts is therefore important. In
business, the first meetings are usually used to get to
know each other and create trust. It is wise to wait for
signs that the other party is ready to start talking
business. The meeting culture is often relaxed, but
there is also a requirement for a certain formality.
Titles are important and should be used. People who do
not have titles are addressed with señor or
señora and the surname.
Know and label
The most common way of health is with a handshake and
direct eye contact. The greeting phrases follow the
clock: buenos slide (good morning), buenas
tardes (good day) and buenas noches (good
evening). People who are close to each other can greet
with a hug or a pat on the shoulder. Women usually kiss
on the cheek.
Times and schedules are flexible. Business meetings
often start some half hour after the appointed time and
you can get a rebate at the last minute. Discussions are
ongoing until they are considered closed. It's not about
being jaded or showing impatience. It is rare to make
decisions at meetings, they are mainly for discussion
and exchange of ideas.
Parties and dance are common occurrences and it is
important to take part in such events in order to
develop relationships. For invitations, you are often a
little late. When you meet, it is important to get to
know each other and you should preferably not discuss
business at social gatherings.
The host usually says " buen provecho ",
about a tasty meal, when it's time to take care of the
food. It is considered polite to first refuse and allow
the host to threaten for a while before accepting. When
the meal is over you do not give up immediately but stop
In the chilly climate of the highlands the food is
usually hot spiced (picante), but you can ask
to have it cooked mid picante or poco
picante (medium or less hot). Potatoes and meat are
the most common main raw materials, but fish are also
eaten, mainly trout from Lake Titicaca.
In the lowlands, freshwater fish, vegetables and
fruits are popular foods. In the restaurants, meat and
eggs are often served from endangered species.
In addition to regular tea and coffee, a lot of tea
is consumed on coca leaves (mate de coca)
and a sweet breakfast tea (api), made on corn,
lemon, cloves and cinnamon. There are local wines. A
popular drink consists of a by-product of the wine (singani),
flavored with lemon. The most popular local beverage, at
least in Cochabamba, is chicha cochabamba, an
alcoholic beverage fermented on corn.
Holidays and Holidays
New Year, Easter and Christmas are important
holidays. Bolivia's National Day is celebrated on August
6. January 24 is a celebration of Ekeko's honor
in La Paz and the mountain areas in the west. Ekeko is,
according to folk tales, the god of prosperity and
prosperity, usually depicted as a cheerful little man
with a cap, and he can fulfill material desires. The day
of prosperity and prosperity is a festival celebrated
with markets and trade fairs in the Catholic churches.
Bolivia and Paraguay resume relations
Bolivia and Paraguay formally re-establish their
bilateral relations (see June 2012).
COB supports MAS
COB states its support for President Morales and his
party MAS ahead of the October 2014 elections. COB is
traditionally allied with MAS, but has been on a
collision course with the government several times in
recent times (see January 2011,
April 2011, January 2013 and
May 2013). However, two organizations
that gather indigenous people have distanced themselves
from MAS and said they will stand against the ruling
party in the election.
Extra annual bonus before the election
President Morales issues a decree that a second
annual bonus should be paid to employees, provided GDP
growth is at least 4.5 percent on an annual basis. As
before, everyone gets an extra salary at Christmas.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
growth is projected to be around 6.7 percent in 2013.
Business and the Catholic Church accuse Morales of
election fraud and fear inflation will be tightened.
Deadly violence in coca cultivation
Four members of an intervention force are killed in
connection with the destruction of coca crops in the
department of La Paz in the northwest. This is the first
time something similar has happened under Morale's rule
and he blames the drug smugglers from Peru.
The head of government is arrested for selling coca
The head of the authority that oversees boil
cultivation in the country is arrested, suspected of
having sold boil to narcotic drugs. Luis Cutipa is also
accused of forging documents to get his job done.
Protestants protest against registration coercion
Protestants hold large demonstrations in five cities
in protest of a new law requiring registration of
religious communities with the authorities (see
March 2013 and Religion).
Protest against American surveillance
President Morales announces that he has stopped using
email. He accuses intelligence services in the United
States of having hacked into his and other leading
Bolivian email accounts. Morales and a number of other
Latin American leaders have protested against US-wide
surveillance, revealed by spy-accused IT expert Edward
Snowden. Bolivia is one of the countries that have
offered Snowden political asylum.
Diplomatic conflict after forced landing
A diplomatic conflict arises when President Evo
Morale's plan on his way home from Moscow is forced down
in Austria and held for half a day. The reason is that
France, Italy, Portugal and Spain closed their airspace
on suspicion that US spy accused Edward Snowden would be
on board the plane. Bolivia calls it "kidnapping",
threatens to close the US embassy and reports the four
European countries to the UN Human Rights Commissioner.
After a short time, Morales says he accepts apologies
made from the four countries and returns the ambassadors
he called home.
Miners' union on strike
The government has again landed on collision course
with former allies. The influential miners' union
requires raising pensions to 100 percent of the final
salary instead of 70 percent. A strike is carried out
and a bridge is blown up. Several people were injured in
the explosion and hundreds of people were arrested.
New law allows for a third term of office
A law is passed that allows Morales to stand in the
next election, in accordance with the April court
decision. Opposition politicians condemn the law as
Usaid not welcome in Bolivia
In a May 1 speech, Morales announced that the US aid
agency Usaid is no longer welcome in Bolivia. He accuses
Usaid of trying to undermine his left government and
conspire against the country.
Morales is allowed to run for a third time
The Constitutional Court decides that President Evo
Morales may stand for election in 2014, even though the
Constitution allows only two consecutive terms.
According to the court, the restriction does not include
Morales since he has only been elected once since the
rule was introduced in 2009.
Chile sues at the ICJ
Bolivia sues Chile before the International Court of
Justice (ICJ) in The Hague to gain access to the coast.
Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca says that Bolivia
has not been heard for its request by Chile to grant the
neighboring country "sovereign access" to the Pacific
(see Foreign Policy and Defense).
Enforcement of registration for churches and
A new law is enacted which makes it mandatory for all
churches and nonprofits to re-register with the
authorities. They must submit detailed information on
membership, finances and the organization's management.
COB forms the workers' party
COB forms a new party, the Labor Party (PT). The COB
has been close to Morale's party MAS but has been in
conflict with the government on several issues.
MAS loses governor elections
The ruling party MAS suffers an election defeat when
the party's candidate loses the governor's election in
Bolivia gets exceptions in UN convention
In a victory for the government, Bolivia rejoins the
United Nations Convention on Drugs, with a special
exception that recognizes the legitimacy of chewing
cabbage leaves in the country. In 2012, Bolivia passed
the convention in protest against the fact that the cook
was considered illegal.
The US is accused of destabilization
The government says it has unequivocal evidence that
the US embassy in the country has tried to destabilize
Morale's government. The evidence is to be handed over
to US President Barack Obama, it says. Although the two
countries agreed in 2011 to reestablish diplomatic
relations, no ambassadors have been appointed yet (see
further Foreign Policy and Defense). The US embassy in
La Paz is led by a chargé d'affaires.