Landlocked Bolivia, which elects a new president on Sunday after a 2019 poll was annulled and follow-up elections postponed twice amid Covid-19, is home to one of the largest indigenous populations in Latin America.
Here are some key facts about the country of 11.3 million people:
- First indigenous president -
Evo Morales became the first indigenous president of Bolivia in 2006 after a landmark election victory broke decades of domination by an elite largely of European or mixed descent.
Morales, a member of the Aymara indigenous community, steered through a new constitution aiming to bolster the rights and living conditions of indigenous people, who make up 62 percent of the population.
Around 36 indigenous languages are officially recognized -- including Quechua, Aymara and Guarani -- along with an indigenous legal system different to state law.
The former socialist president, who resigned last year amid violent unrest, cannot stand again in Sunday's vote.
- Political instability -
Morales, who became the region's longest-serving leader with his three terms, was credited with bringing relative stability to a volatile country.
Although the country's constitution limits a president to two consecutive terms, the one-time coca farmer from the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party was granted by the loyalist Constitutional Court the right to stand for unlimited terms, even after the public rejected such a move in a referendum.
But his controversial re-election in October 2019 was disputed, leading to three weeks of protests in which 35 people were killed. An Organization of American States audit found clear evidence of electoral fraud after which Morales stepped down and went into exile, first in Mexico and then Argentina.
Bolivia has a history of political instability. Since independence in 1825, there have been about 200 coups or attempted coups.
- Nationalized economy -
Bolivia's economy contracted by 7.9 percent between January and July of this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the National Statistics Institute.
In June, the World Bank forecast a contraction of GDP of 5.9 percent in 2020.
Previously the country had enjoyed average annual growth of 4.9 percent between 2004 and 2014, thanks to Morales's nationalization in 2006 of the gas and oil sectors.
The state also controls telecommunications, pensions, hydroelectric power stations, airports and mining, using much of the money gained to fund social programmes and public infrastructure projects.
But the drop in gas prices and exports from 2014, along with heavy public spending, has led to heavy debt, the World Bank says.
- Mineral-rich but poor -
While it is still among the poorest countries in Latin America, Bolivia's poverty rate decreased from 45 percent of the population in 2010 to 35 percent in 2018, according to the World Bank.
It sits on the region's second-largest gas reserves -- after Venezuela -- and the world's largest reserves of lithium.
The country has courted foreign investment, particularly from China, to help exploit its resources, aiming to become the world's fourth-largest producer of lithium.
Bolivia is also the world's third-biggest producer of coca -- the raw material for making cocaine -- according to the UN, registering an increase of 10 percent in growing in 2019.
- Landlocked and forested -
Bolivia lost its prized route to the Pacific Ocean in a 19th-century war with Chile and now sits landlocked, bordered by Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru.
In 2018 the UN's International Court of Justice rejected its bid to regain access to the coast.
The Andes mountain range covers a third of Bolivian territory.
About half of the land area is forested, most of it Amazon equatorial rainforest. The country is currently beset with fires which have ravaged 2.3 million hectares (5.7 million acres) of forest and grassland amid a prolonged drought and high temperatures.