Santa Cruz Department (Bolivia)

- 17.333333333333 - 61.5Koordinaten: 17 ° S, 62 ° W

The department of Santa Cruz is located in eastern Bolivia. It has an area of ​​370,621 km ², and ( according to the census 2012) 2655084 inhabitants. Its capital is Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

  • 6.1 Agriculture
  • 6.2 energy
  • 6.3 Tourism


The department of Santa Cruz extends from the Cordillera Oriental on the eastern edge of the Andes to the flat lowlands of the Amazon basin and the Gran Chaco. Santa Cruz is bordered on the east by Brazil and to the southeast by Paraguay. Within Bolivia's Santa Cruz borders the departments of Beni (North), Cochabamba ( west) and Chuquisaca (southwest).

The climate is tropical with a rainy season in summer. Due to cold southerly winds with polar origin ( Surazos ) may occur in particular in winter to short-term cold spells. The vegetation in the lowlands ranges from rain forest in the humid north of the department up to savanna in the dry Gran Chaco.


The population of the department of Santa Cruz has risen over the past sixty years to more than ten times:

At the 2001 census described themselves in the department of Santa Cruz of the more than 15 -year 16.95 % of the population as Quechua, another 20.49 % from other indigenous ethnic group ( including Aymara, Guaraní, Chiquitano and Mojeño ). 62.56 % considered themselves at no indigenous ethnicity.

A major cause of the rapid population increase since the middle of last century, the partially state-sponsored resettlement of people from the arid highlands of the Altiplano in the west to the fertile lowlands. Following the agrarian reform of 1953 originated in Departamento de Santa Cruz so-called agricultural colonization areas where immigrants plan villages, mostly consisting of 40 families per village, settled. The resettlement programs came in the 1960s because of the high costs they caused, their limited success ( project goals: replace imports of agricultural goods in the lowlands, strengthening national unity, demographic relief of the highlands, etc.) and the controversial work of colonization authorities (INC / INRA ) in the allocation of land and land titles in the criticism. Contrast, are positive signs of an intercultural coexistence of high and lowland populations ( eg San Julián, see Bibliography).

As in the colonization areas (San Julián, Yapacaní etc.) as has also in the capital, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the population due to the high level of immigration, a high ethnic diversity. In addition to settlement areas of lowland residents or immigrants from the highlands in the department of Santa Cruz, there are also colonies of Mennonites who have settled here since the 30s of the 20th century. South of the capital is inhabited by prisoners awaiting trial prisoners settlement Palmasola, in it because of the inhumane living conditions led to riots in 2001.


Santa Cruz is divided into 15 provinces:

  • Germán Busch Province - 33,006 inhabitants ( 2001 census )
  • Manuel María Caballero Province - 20,010 inhabitants
  • Province Ñuflo de Chávez - 93 997 inhabitants
  • Province of Chiquitos - 59.754 inhabitants
  • Province Cordillera - 101,733 inhabitants
  • Province Florida - 27 447 inhabitants
  • Province Guarayos - 31 577 inhabitants
  • Andrés Ibáñez Province - 1,260,549 inhabitants (among others includes the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra )
  • Province Ichilo - 70 444 inhabitants
  • Province José Miguel de Velasco - 56 702 inhabitants
  • Ángel Sandoval Province - 13,073 inhabitants
  • Province Obispo Santistevan - 142,786 inhabitants
  • Sara Province - 37 733 inhabitants
  • Province of Valle Grande - 27,429 inhabitants
  • Ignacio Warnes Province - 53 231 inhabitants

Largest cities

The largest and most important city of the department is the capital Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

Known as a tourist destination is also the site of Samaipata.


Autonomy referendum

See also Bolivia / Domestic political tensions

On 4 May 2008, a referendum on a large degree of autonomy on the Spanish model took place. A ruling by the National Electoral Court, which forbade the referendum because of lack of legal requirements, it was designated by the President of Bolivia Evo Morales as unconstitutional. Proponents of the referendum referred to this but with the currently valid Constitution of Bolivia in line. The Bolivian army warned of a threat to the territorial integrity of the country. According to the departmental government of Santa Cruz answered 350,000 people " with peaceful demonstrations on the threats of the [ central ] government against democracy. "

Background for the referendum taking place in other departments referendums in June 2008, the internal contradictions in Bolivia. The eastern departments are resource-rich lowland and wealthier than the western department of the interior. In addition, the conservative political forces for autonomy and the left-wing political forces for the status quo. The autonomy proponents of the eastern departments criticize the government 's plan to spend a larger share of revenue from the east in the poorer west. The socialist president based his power on the indigenous populations, while the Spanish -born population more likely to support the conservative forces. The autonomy advocates are for a free market economy, socialist autonomy opponent for an economy with substantial government participation.

The turnout was about 61%. First results showed that more than 80 % of eligible participants were in favor of autonomy Bolivian sources speak of 84%. 11.5% voted " no" and 1.3% placed a blank.

Rubén Costas, prefect of the department of Santa Cruz, welcomed the outcome as a victory. He announced " Bolivia to the most decentralized country in Latin America " to make. President Morales, however, described the referendum because of the low compared to previous elections, voter turnout as a failure for the autonomy, but said he was aware of the fact that at least a broad segment of the population put demands for autonomy.

2010 regional elections

Comprehensive income in the regional elections of April 4, 2010 at Department of Santa Cruz:



The region around Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the capital is used for intensive agriculture, in the wooded north has forestry ago. Agriculture, forestry and the processing of agricultural and forestry products are economic focus of the department of Santa Cruz.


The region also has the second largest natural gas reserves in South America. In the 1990s, these were privatized. Demands for redemption of privatization led to the overthrow of Bolivia's President de Lozada. 2005 President Mesa attempted upper class and business organizations to forestall these efforts with a demand for autonomy for the region.


In Santa Cruz are protected as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos and the Fortress of Samaipata and protected as World Heritage Noel Kempff Mercado National Park. Another attractions is the Amboró National Park. In the village of La Higuera on the western edge of the department in 1967 Che Guevara was captured and killed in the year.


  • John Winter ( 2006): Bolivia - Poverty welded together. Approaches to intercultural coexistence beyond fragmentation. In: One - Development Policy Information North-South, H. 11-12 (June ), pp. 42-45, 2006.
  • John Winter ( 2005): Integration processes in rural Bolivia. Examples from the Departamento de Santa Cruz. In: Arbeitshefte of the Latin American Centre. / Cela, No. 91 Munster. Download: ( PDF, 1.7 MB)
  • Sevilla, Rafael and Benavides, Ariel (2001): Bolivia - The unrecognized country? Horlemann, Bad Honnef.