The Republic of Bolivia: Background information when reading Turing's Delirium

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Turing's Delirium

by Edmundo Paz Soldan

Turing's Delirium by Edmundo Paz Soldan X
Turing's Delirium by Edmundo Paz Soldan
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2006, 288 pages
    Jun 2007, 304 pages


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The Republic of Bolivia

This article relates to Turing's Delirium

Print Review

The Republic of Bolivia is a mountainous landlocked country that boasts the highest capital city in the world at 4km above sea level.  It is bordered by Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Paraguay.  It's population of about 9 million people enjoy three official languages - Spanish, Quechua and Aymara.  It's per capita GDP is less than $3,000 per year (versus $42,000 for the USA) with almost two-thirds of the population living below the poverty line. In 2005 there were about 16,000 internet hosts in the country and 350,000 users. 

Named after independence fighter Simon Bolivar, Bolivia broke away from about 300 years of Spanish rule in 1825 (having been under Inca rule for at least 100 years before that); and since then has endured an estimated 200 coups and countercoups.

According to theCIA Factbook, "comparatively democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production."   In December 2005, Bolivians elected Evo Morales president by the widest margin of any leader since civilian rule was restored in 1982.  Since taking power he has increased the minimum wage by 50% (however an estimated 6 out of 10 Bolivians are part of the "informal economy" so such legally mandated changes have a relatively limited effect).  He has also started the process of nationalizing most of Bolivia's natural gas fields - in May this year, troops were sent to occupy the fields, taking back control from foreign companies (mainly Brazilian), which has led to an obvious strain in relations between the two countries.

Filed under Places, Cultures & Identities

This "beyond the book article" relates to Turing's Delirium. It originally ran in September 2006 and has been updated for the June 2007 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

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