Bolivia is one of the most multi-ethnic and multicultural countries in South America as it has inherited the traditions of many different civilizations. In its territories ancient civilizations once existed, such as the Tiahuanaco who left important constructions like the Kalasasaya temple and the Akapana Pyramid. This civilization was conquered, first by the Inca Empire and afterwards by the Spanish who reigned from the 16th century until 1825, when Bolivia gained independence thanks to the exploits of Simon de Bolívar, who baptized the country with a derivation of his name. UNESCO declared some of the inherited cultural traditions of Bolivia as part of an ‘intangible cultural heritage’, such as the Andean Cosmovision of the Kallawaya culture, which consists of a coherent body of myths, rituals, values and artistic expression.
During the 20th century, Bolivia went through a period of dictatorship, which is well portrayed in Paolo Agazzi’s film The Cartagena Brothers, based on Gaby Vallejo’s novel Son of the Murdered Maid. Many people fought against this situation, for example, in the period of the René Barrientos dictatorship, Che Guevara commanded a guerrilla army against the government when he was captured and executed in Bolivia in 1967. The country is now ruled by Evo Morales, famed for his leftist indigenous politics, the nationalization of the telecommunications and hydrocarbon companies and his close relation with Venezuela’s President, Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s President, Fidel Castro, who are united against the US government.
Considered ‘the prince of Bolivian writers' and featured on the nation’s one hundred Bolivianos bill, Gabriel Rene Moreno had an important role in Bolivian literature. Worthy of attention would be his piece Nicomedes Antelo,which explores the social ills of the country and offers a philosophical solution for future generations. The Bolivian writer Juan de Recacoechea is internationally known for his novel American Visa which is considered one of the greatest Bolivian detective stories, for which he won the Guttentag Award, likewise his novel Altiplano Express was also highly successful.