Bolivian president Evo Morales celebrated the country’s 193 independence anniversary by presenting his economic report to the Bolivian National Assembly in the city of Potosi.
The head of state highlighted the economic growth of the country thanks to the nationalization of the country’s natural resources, particularly its hydrocarbon and natural gas reserves. Bolivia currently produces approximately 59 million cubic meters of gas per day with reserves of up to 11 trillion cubic feet, according to its Ministry of Hydrocarbons, making it one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world.
Morales commented at the anniversary ceremony that Bolivia's gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to reach more than US$50 billion by 2025.
He also noted that the country’s sustained growth of nearly 5 percent in recent years is due to its policy of redistributing wealth in favor of the poorest.
Morales shared that the government invested some US$1.9 billion dollars in public projects so far this year and will up that some to US$7.5 billion in 2019.
The president noted that unemployment also shrank from 8.1 percent in 2005 just prior to his taking office to 4.41 percent in 2017.
Referring to Bolivia’s 2013 request to the International Court of Justice (CIJ) that the entity encourage Chile to allow Bolivia a sovereign exit to the sea, the president said,
"We are going to continue defending Bolivia, I am almost certain sisters and brothers that with this demand we are very close to the Pacific Ocean." The international court is set to make a decision later this year.
The Bolivian president faced criticism from protesters at the Tuesday celebration who don’t want him to run for a fourth reelection in 2019. The president responded, “Those who riot are just showing their anti-patriotic character.”
On November 28, 2017, Bolivia’s highest court ruled to end term limits for all elected officials at all levels of government. The ruling goes against a 2016 public referendum in favor of a two-time term limit.