Bolivia Table of Contents
Bolivia had a small navy, which in 1989 had approximately 3,800 personnel, including 2,000 naval infantry personnel and marines, as well as about 1,800 conscripts. The navy's small motor launches operated mainly on Lake Titicaca and the numerous navigable rivers of the sparsely populated northeastern portion of the country. The navy's riverine patrol duties included dislodging Brazilian and other foreign gold miners and interdicting smugglers of narcotics and contraband. Its areas of operation were divided into five (or possibly six) naval districts--Lake Titicaca, Río Beni, Río Madre de Dios, Río Mamoré, and Río Paraguay--each with one flotilla. The five naval headquarters were located in Guaqui (on Lake Titicaca's southern shore), Puerto Guayaramerín (on Río Mamoré), Puerto Suárez, Riberalta, and San Pedro de Tiquina (on Lake Titicaca's eastern shore). Other bases were in Puerto Busch, Puerto Horquilla, Puerto Villarroel (on Río Ichilo), Trinidad, and Rurrenabaque. The "Admiral Grau" Marine Infantry Battalion (Batallón de Infantería de Marina "Almirante Grau") was based at the Fourth Naval District, Titicaca, in Tiquina.
In the late 1980s, the navy had several dozen boats in service, including about ten river patrol craft. It received its first United States-built, river-patrol launch, the twenty-meter Santa Cruz de la Sierra, in 1985. In 1986 the navy acquired nineteen outboard motors for its five- and six-meter patrol boats, effectively doubling its reconnaissance capability. Bolivia's only seagoing vessel, the Libertador Bolívar, was normally docked at Rosario on the Río de la Plata (Plate River) in Argentina and was used to and from Bolivian free zones in Argentina and Uruguay. The navy also had two Cessna aircraft (; table 18, Appendix).
Data as of December 1989