Bolivia

Speeches Shim

2020

WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN BOLIVIA

Amid accusations of electoral fraud in the October 2019 presidential election that triggered sustained protests across the country, former President Evo Morales of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party announced his resignation in a televised address. In November 2019, he left the country for Mexico, then Argentina, where he resides today.

Opposition legislator Jeanine Añez became next in line for presidential succession after the resignations of four higher-ranking MAS officials, and her transitional government prioritized holding free and fair elections in the timetable agreed upon by the MAS-controlled Congress. The transitional government initially scheduled the first round of voting for May 3, 2020, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In late March, a few days after the transitional government decreed a national quarantine for COVID-19, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced the need to
postpone the elections until they could be held safely. The first round of voting took place on October 18, 2020, and resulted in a resounding victory for MAS presidential candidate Luis Arce. USAID/OTI provided assistance to support a democratic, inclusive, and peaceful electoral process in Bolivia.

USAID/OTI'S ROLE IN BOLIVIA

USAID/OTI’s Bolivia program supported an informed, transparent, and inclusive electoral process through:

  • Strengthening the capacity of key stakeholders to articulate positions on important election issues, and to connect with their constituencies; and
  • Increasing the ability of local organizations to articulate a response to the crises ensuing from the COVID-19 pandemic.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

After meeting with potential partners in four target cities (El Alto, La Paz, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz), the program identified the following inter-related problem sets:

  • Strong regional, socioeconomic, and racial divides between the central and suburban areas;
  • Co-opted and fragmented social organizations, with parallel leaderships largely divorced from their grassroots constituencies;
  • A structural crisis in the political representation system, with large portions of the electorate perceiving that political parties and social organizations do not represent them;

2004 - 2007

WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN BOLIVIA

In March 2004, USAID/OTI launched its Bolivia program to help reduce tensions in areas prone to social conflict and to assist the country in preparing for key electoral events. At the time, Bolivia was experiencing heightened political unrest following the resignation of President Gonzales Sánchez de Lozada, in addition to increasing demands for regional autonomy from several departments (i.e., administrative divisions).

USAID/OTI'S ROLE IN BOLIVIA

USAID/OTI’s Bolivia program sought to:

  • Improve access to balanced information on issues of national importance;
  • Promote peaceful participation and economic opportunity in marginalized areas; and
  • Conduct civic education and leadership training in support of Bolivia’s emerging indigenous leadership.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Supporting the decentralization process through strengthened departmental governments: USAID/OTI provided technical support to Bolivia’s nine prefectures to train departmental government staff in planning, budgeting and project management and improve institutional capacity related to financial and administrative systems, transparency mechanisms, communications, outreach and other key areas.
  • Promoting linkages between indigenous groups and democratic structures: USAID/OTI helped traditionally marginalized indigenous groups engage in the political process. Many of these projects were implemented in collaboration with prefectures, focusing on issues such as consensus building on local economic development priorities or decentralized service provision.
  • Fostering community participation in marginalized areas: USAID/OTI supported constructive engagement of youth and social organizations through income generation and school rehabilitation projects.
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Last updated: January 25, 2021

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