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Bolivia
Facts
Area: 1.1 million sq km
Population: 9.9 million
Languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara, Guarani
Religions: Christian
GNI per capita: US$1,460
Currency: 1 Boliviano = 100 centavos
 
 Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; much of its subsequent history has consisted of a series of nearly 200 coups and countercoups. Democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production.
 
The weather in Bolivia varies with altitude, humid and tropical to cold and semiarid. The summer months in Bolivia are November through March. The weather is typically warmer and wetter during these months. April through October, the winter months, are typically colder and drier. 
 
The country has the second-largest reserves of natural gas in South America, but there have been long-running tensions over the exploitation and export of the resource. 
 
Though rich in mineral and energy resources, Bolivia is one of South America's poorest countries. Wealthy urban elites, who are mostly of Spanish ancestry, have traditionally dominated political and economic life, whereas most Bolivians are low-income subsistence farmers, miners, small traders or artisans. 
 
Bolivia is one of the world's largest producers of coca, the raw material for cocaine. A crop-eradication programme, though easing the flow of conditional US aid, has incensed many of Bolivia's poorest farmers for whom coca is often the only source of income.
 
Less than half of Bolivia’s families have adequate sanitation. Diseases such as dysentery, malaria, and tuberculosis are common, and the country now has one of the highest infant mortality rates in South America. During the winter, children are prone to severe respiratory infections, and many families have no money for medical treatment.
 
As inhabitants of one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America, 64 percent of Bolivia’s people live in poverty. Chronic malnutrition and anemia still persist in children under three years of age.

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