Military Review

Bolivian Armed Forces. How a country protects itself in the Andes

In recent years, Bolivia has become one of Russia's main partners and allies in Latin America. This happened after Juan Evo Morales came to power in the country - a well-known left-wing politician who became the first Indian as head of state (despite the fact that the Indians constitute the majority of the population). One of the main areas of cooperation is military. Bolivia buys Russian weapons and intends in the future to use the services of Russian military specialists in the training of personnel of the Bolivian armed forces.

History the Bolivian army, as well as the armed forces of other Latin American countries, is rooted in the era of the struggle for independence. As you know, back in 1532-1538. the territory of modern Bolivia was conquered by the Spanish conquistadors, after which it was incorporated into the viceroyalty of Peru, then the viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata. Up until independence was proclaimed in 1825, the lands of modern Bolivia were called Upper Peru. The success of the anti-colonial struggle led to the change of the name of the new independent country - it was named in honor of Simon Bolivar, one of the most important commanders of the war of independence. In 1836-1839 Bolivia and Peru formed a single state - the Confederation of Peru and Bolivia. Throughout its history, Bolivia has known a lot of wars and many times more military coups. As in most other countries in Latin America, the army has always played a decisive role here. Its creator is officially considered Marshal Antonio José Francisco de Sucre and Alcala (1795-1830) - one of the closest associates of Simon Bolivar, who led the liberation from the Spanish domination of the territories of modern Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. 19 June 1826 Sucre (pictured) became president of Bolivia and held this post until 1828, when he was forced to return to Ecuador as a result of domestic political struggle. As a military man, Sucre paid much attention to the creation of an army and police in sovereign Bolivia.

Currently, the Armed Forces of Bolivia (Fuerzas Armadas de Bolivia) consist of ground forces - the Bolivian Army (Ejercito Boliviano), the Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Boliviana) and the Naval fleet (Armada Boliviana). Although officially the country's armed forces are staffed on a contract basis, when it is not possible to recruit the proper number of contract soldiers, a call is made for 12 months of male citizens of the country who have reached 18 years of age. Much attention is paid to the initial military training of high school students and working young men aged 14-17 years.

The ground forces of modern Bolivia number about 55,5 thousand soldiers and officers and include combined arms, engineering, auxiliary and aviation units. The general command of the army is subordinate to: 1st Colorado’s Presidential Guard Infantry Regiment (consisting of 2 infantry battalions), Kalama 1st Armored Cavalry Regiment, 236th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 221st Tarapako Reconnaissance Mechanized Regiment ", The 224th armored cavalry regiment, as well as special forces as part of the 12th Rangers of the Manchego Rangers, the 16th Special Infantry Regiment of the Jordan, the 18th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the Victoria Special Forces, the 24th Mountain Rangers' regiment, and army aviation, which includes the 291st and 292nd army aviation companies.

6 army divisions are deployed in the territory of the 10 military districts of the country: 8 cavalry regiments, 23 infantry regiments, including 2 airborne and 2 mountain, 6 artillery regiments, 3 military battalion, and I’m employed by the military, I’m employed by the military, 6 mountain, 3, XNUMX artillery, XNUMX battalion, XNUMX mountain armies In addition, the army includes military schools, including: the National Military Academy of the Army, the School of Military Intelligence, the Military Engineering School, the School of Military Communications, the School of Military Police, the Cavalry School, the Artillery School, the Command and Staff School, the Sergeant Military School, Special Forces Training Center, Jungle Action Training Center. The Bolivian school of commando "Condor" is famous all over the world.

The air force of Bolivia has never been very powerful. Their weapons and organizational structure were determined by the combat missions assigned to the country's air force. First of all, they include the fight against drug trafficking and opposition to rebel groups operating in the Bolivian jungle. Therefore, the Bolivian Air Force fleet includes airplanes and helicopters used for aerial surveillance, transporting troops and attacking rebel groups.

Bolivian Armed Forces. How a country protects itself in the Andes

The formation of the Bolivian air force began in the first half of the twentieth century. In 1938, the Bolivian air force numbered about 60 aircraft, including fighters, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft. The number of personnel reached 300 people, pilots and engineers were trained in Italy. At present, the Bolivian Air Force is organized into air brigades, each of which includes up to three aviation groups. In addition, the Air Force includes the Main Command Control Systems in La Paz. In addition to aviation flight groups, the air brigades also include air defense, engineering and radio engineering support groups.

The history of the Bolivian Navy is very interesting. As is known, Bolivia is one of the two (second - Paraguay) landlocked South American countries. The country lost the sea coast as a result of defeat in the Second Pacific War with Chile in 1879-1883. Loss of access to the sea was one of the reasons for the economic backwardness of Bolivia. However, having lost access to the sea, Bolivia, however, in 1963 created the Military River and Lake Force, which in January 1966 was renamed the Bolivian Navy. The fleet operates on Lake Titicaca and the major rivers that are tributaries of the Amazon. The main objectives of the Bolivian fleet are to guard the border with Peru, passing, including, and on Lake Titicaca, patrolling rivers to combat smuggling and drug trafficking. In addition, important propaganda functions are assigned to the fleet - as long as the fleet exists, in Bolivia, as its leaders believe, the naval consciousness and hope of gaining access to the sea in the future is cultivated. Navy units take part in national military parades and other ceremonies.

The Navy of Bolivia is armed with several dozen boats used for river patrols. The officer corps is educated at the Bolivian Naval Academy. Advisory support to the Bolivian naval forces is provided by Argentine naval specialists working in the country. On the ships of the Navy of Argentina, young Bolivian naval officers practice.

In addition to the patrol boats, the Bolivian Navy includes the Naval Intelligence Service, the Immediate Response Team, the Diving Training Center, the Command Training Amphibious Center. A special place is occupied by the Marine Corps of Bolivia. It was formed after the creation of the Almiranti-Gru Marine Corps at the beginning of the 1980s. it numbered over 600 soldiers and officers and was located at a base on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Currently, the Bolivian Marine Corps includes seven battalions of marines. Finally, the National Maritime Security Corps, which is a naval police force, is part of the Bolivian Navy. In fact, it duplicates the functions of the military police, carrying out a number of important tasks in the field of ensuring national security and the security of military service. These include: 1) ensuring the physical protection of high-ranking officials, 2) combating crime, smuggling and drug trafficking, 3) ensuring the security of fuel infrastructure facilities. The National Marine Corps includes the 1 th military naval battalion of the military police, the 2 th naval battalion of the military police Quiver, the 3 th military naval battalion of the military police, the 4 th military naval battalion Titicaca.

The most elite regiment of the Bolivian army, of course, is the 1 th Infantry Regiment "Colorados", which serves as the presidential guard and located in the capital, La Paz. The immediate task of the regiment is to ensure the physical security of the President of Bolivia and the protection of the Government Palace. The Colorados Regiment consists of two infantry battalions - 201 and 202, stationed in the capital. The history of the Colorados regiment dates back to the struggle for independence, but the first mention of it as an army unit dates back to the 1857 year, when a battalion called the Colorados appeared in the Bolivian army. The most severe discipline was introduced in the battalion, soldiers were barred from layoffs and exhausted by constant training and exercises.

Under the conditions of constant military coups, the elite part quickly turned into a kind of “Praetorian Guard” of Bolivia and regularly participated in insurrections and putsches. The presidents and the military junta, in turn, did not forget about the financing of the unit, because they hoped to get the support of its soldiers and officers in exchange for their generosity. At the same time, the Colorados battalion (and then the regiment) was not only a purely palace formation. He participated in all the wars that Bolivia went through for almost two centuries of its history as an independent state - in the wars with Chile, with Brazil, with Paraguay.

In the armed forces of Bolivia, the following hierarchy of military ranks is established (in brackets - Navy titles): 1) private (sailor), 2) dragoon, 3) corporal, 4) sergeant graduate student, 5) sergeant, 6) sergeant 2 class, 7) sergeant 1, 8) sergeant, 9) sergeant 2 class, 10) sergeant 1, 11) sergeant, 12) sergeant 13, 14, 15) sergeant 16, 17) sergeant 18, 19) sergeant, 20) sergeant, 21) sergeant 22, XNUMX) sergeant XNUMX class, XNUMX) sub-officer, XNUMX) sub-officer XNUMX c a, hNHX) sub-officer XNUMX class, XNUMX) senior sub-officer, XNUMX) master sub-officer XNUMX) postgraduate officer-officer, XNUMX) junior lieutenant a, ale a, ale, a, a, a, a, a, a, a, aN. ), XNUMX) captain (ship's lieutenant), XNUMX) major (corvette captain), XNUMX) lieutenant colonel (frigate captain), XNUMX) colonel (captain bark blya), XNUMX) brigadier general (rear admiral), XNUMX) divisional general (vice admiral), XNUMX) army general (admiral).

Finally, besides the armed forces proper, paramilitary units are also part of the Bolivian National Police. The history of the Bolivian police began with a decree by President Antonio José de Sucre, signed in 1826 year. In accordance with this decree, it was prescribed in each department to introduce the post of police chief and to transfer to his command a company of soldiers headed by an officer. In 1832, the Bolivian law enforcement agencies were reorganized, according to which the gendarmerie of the country was administratively assigned to the Ministry of the Interior, but still under the command of army officers.

In 1937, in Bolivia, at that time closely cooperating with Mussolini's Italy, another police reform was carried out. As a result of measures to increase the effectiveness of law enforcement, the paramilitary security police were merged with the Bolivian gendarmerie, the military police and the army carabinieri regiment. This is how the Bolivian carabinierus corps, named after the Italian model, appeared. The military discipline was introduced into the carabinieri corps, and it turned into a unique military organization, which is part of the law enforcement agencies and the country's armed forces. The number of this militarized structure is over 5000 officers, sergeants and carabineers. Bolivian carabineers are assigned military ranks: 1) police agent, 2) corporal, 3) second sergeant, 4) first sergeant, 5) second suboflight, 6) first subofficer, 7) senior subofficer, 8) super-subfarm officer, supernational officer, 9) senior suboffer, 10) senior suboffer, 11) , 12) lieutenant, 13) captain, 14) major, 15) lieutenant colonel, 16) colonel, 17) general director, XNUMX) superior general, XNUMX) general manager.

For a long time, the most important military partners of Bolivia were the United States and Argentina. However, after the coming to power of President Evo Morales, speaking from the left and anti-imperialist positions and exposing US policy in Latin America and in the world as a whole, American-Bolivian relations have seriously deteriorated. Naturally, this affected the cooperation of the two countries in the military sphere. In November, the Deputy Minister of National Defense of Bolivia, Luis Aramayo, opening the meeting of the Bolivian-Russian intergovernmental commission in La Paz, stressed that Bolivia expects to strengthen the potential of its armed forces, using the help of the Russian Federation. We are talking about the procurement in the Russian Federation of modern high-speed boats for the needs of the country's naval forces, helicopters and aircraft for the Bolivian air force. In addition, it is assumed that Russian military experts will take part in improving the training of officers of the Bolivian army. In April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, also announced existing plans for the development and strengthening of military-technical cooperation between Russia and Bolivia in April 2015. Naturally, this cooperation is beneficial for Russia, both from a financial point of view and for reasons of expanding the political, economic and military presence in Latin America.
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  1. corporal
    corporal 8 June 2016 06: 12
    Well, they have nothing in the army-22 level ranks. Even we loved ones have overtaken. fellow (20 with the marshal)
    1. inkass_98
      inkass_98 8 June 2016 07: 08
      The system of ranks is closer to the German one (especially the naval ranks are visible), like Chile, in fact, where the Germans actually created an army.
  2. Reptiloid
    Reptiloid 8 June 2016 07: 41
    Hello, Ilya! Thanks so much for the article! I am very glad to hear from Latin America! I am glad that Russia is expanding its influence!
    Judging by the article --- the army is correct. But in Bolivia there were> 200 military coups --- the "champion" in Latin America! Therefore Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America! It is difficult to develop a country where coups d'etat are so frequent.
    I always sympathize with Bolivia. Due to the war with Chile (completed in 1884), the country lost access to the sea and a deposit of nitrate, which has since been called Chilean. Because of the war with Brazil (end in 1903) --- the rubber-bearing region. Because of the war with Paraguay (end in 1935) --- an oil field. Thus, the country lost 2/3 of its territory. that Evo Morales has been President since 2005. And that he is bigger than all presidents! When even earlier they showed the meeting of Morales and Medvedev on TV, it was clear that Medvedev is lower than Morales’s shoulder !!! Judging by the photo in the article, military officials --high-growth Indians to match Morales! The army of giants.
    1. Black Colonel
      Black Colonel 10 June 2016 13: 23
      "Because of the war with Paraguay (ended in 1935) --- an oil field."
      Oil was not there, but helped defeat the army of Paraguay, which was commanded by German officers, our emigrant officers. Pretty interesting stuff here:
  3. ICT
    ICT 8 June 2016 08: 03
    small sketches

  4. parusnik
    parusnik 8 June 2016 08: 41
    Thank you, Ilya .. a very informative article .. I would like that in Bolivia, her army would no longer be engaged in military coups ... If my memory serves me right .. Bolivia is the first by number in Latin America ..
  5. Grigorievich
    Grigorievich 8 June 2016 17: 21
    Quote: Reptiloid
    ! Judging by the photo in the article, military ranks --- tall Indians to match Morales! The army of giants.

    Well you, my friend, have grabbed the army of giants smile .All Indians are stunted, you can judge by the rest of the photo.
    On the splash screen commandos with our RPGs and Kalashnikov light machine guns?
  6. Monarchist
    Monarchist 9 June 2016 09: 33
    I read the article with interest, but there are small roughnesses: the author did not mention how the ground forces are armed, with whom and with what success the armed forces resist. According to my data, the Bolivian Air Force needs urgent modernization.