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Total Population: 8,989,046 (July 2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: 65.84 years (2006 est.)
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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. 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 Movement Toward Socialism leader Evo Morales president - by the widest margin of any leader since the restoration of civilian rule in 1982 - after he ran on a promise to change the country's traditional political class and empower the nation's poor majority.
The situation in Bolivia synthesizes the reality of hunger in the world. There would be enough food in the country to feed the entire population, but inequality makes many of them suffer from hunger: these are mostly the poor, indigenous peoples who live in rural areas, have low educational levels, and lack access to basic health and sanitation services.
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