It is argued that the first neoliberal experiment was practiced in Chile, after the coup led by Augusto Pinochet in 1973: after that, Latin America has been an open field for many neoliberal attempts in the '80 and in the 90's dictated by international institutions such as the IMF. This has been due mainly to public debt problems, given the dependency of these countries on foreign capital (FDIC, 1997).
In this work, we focus in particular on the Bolivian case. Neoliberal policies here have been applied under the Paz Estensorro and Sanchez de Lozada governments to tackle inflation and public debt problems (Morales and Sachs, 1989; Sachs, 1997 and 2005) and were vigorously opposed by many social movements as poverty and inequality were rising. This situation reached its climax in the first 2000s, with the disputes on natural resources such as water and gas (Webber, 2011) and encountered a turning point with the election, in 2005, of the first President with indigenous origins: the former coca grower and unionist Evo Morales.
Morales and his party, Movement Towards Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo, MAS), which he leads to this day, declared the end of the neoliberal era and started what some consider is a deep socioeconomic change in the country (Garcìa Linera, 2011; Fuentes, 2012), with strong repercussions in external relations (particularly with the USA), and others just a continuation of neoliberal policies with just some adjustments towards more sovereignty (Webber, 2016; Petras, 2013).
The question to which we will try to provide an answer is the following: is Bolivia exiting from neoliberalism?
After a presentation of what neoliberalism is and what has signified in Latin America, we will proceed with an historical account for Bolivia: its pre-neoliberal period, its neoliberal era and finally the Morales governments and its policies. After all this, we will assess whether Morales' Bolivia represents or not one example of post-neoliberalism, basing ourselves on the different views existing on this point.