Bolivia lost 240,000 hectares of its Amazonian forest in 2020, its highest historical level ever

Bolivia recorded a loss of 240,000 hectares of its Amazon primary forest, according to data from the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP). This is the highest historical level of forest loss in the country, which ranked second behind Brazil among the countries with the greatest loss of its Amazon forest. Regionally, the countries with the greatest loss of Amazon primary forest are Brazil (65%), Bolivia (10%), Peru (8%) and Colombia (6%). The most intense hotspots in the Bolivian Amazon occurred in southeastern Bolivia, where fires ravaged dry forests (known as the Chiquitano and Chaco ecosystems), according to MAAP.

Population census postponed until 2024, sparking protests in Bolivia’s regions

The National Institute of Statistics (INE) announced that the population and housing census will be carried out in 2024, as its technical and logistical preparation requires at least three and a half years. This postponement generated a wave of rejection at the national level from opposition and pro-government legislators, to the extent that elected authorities in Santa Cruz declared an emergency, and some analysts and politicians said that the postponement is intended to avoid the debate on the fiscal pact or redistribution of economic resources.

Bolivian minister ‘took bag stuffed with $20,000’

Police in Bolivia have arrested the minister for rural development and land, Edwin Characayo, for allegedly accepting a $20,000 bribe. Interior Minister Eduardo del Castillo said Mr Characayo had used his position to "benefit certain people in the acquisition and clearing of land". He alleged that Mr Characayo had promised to transfer ownership of a farm in the Santa Cruz region to a group of individuals in exchange for the money.

Heavy transport loses 28% due to blockades and border closures

Blockades, closed borders and demands for controls generate losses of more than 28% of the costs of heavy transport for the movement of goods, warned sector leaders. Every week there are between one and up to five blockades on different roads in the country. This results in delays which are then converted into fines. The vice-president of the Cochabamba Chamber of Transport, Luis Jiménez, indicated that another of the expenses when there are roadblocks is in accommodation for rest and food. In total, more than 28% is lost and the price charged to importers and exporters has not gone up, he said.