The Full Wiki

More info on Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada

Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada Sánchez Bustamante (born July 1, 1930, La Pazmarker), familiarly known as "Goni", is a Bolivianmarker politician, businessman, and former President of Bolivia. A life-long member of the Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario (MNR), he is credited for using "shock therapy", the economic theory championed by Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs. This measure was used by Bolivia in 1985 (when Sánchez de Lozada was Minister of Planning in the government of President Víctor Paz Estenssoro) to cut hyperinflation from an estimated 25,000% to a single digit within a period of 6 weeks. More broadly, he is credited with having engineered the restructuring of the Bolivian state and the dismantling the state-capitalist model that had prevailed in the country since the 1952 Revolution.

Sánchez de Lozada was twice elected President of Bolivia, both times on the MNR ticket. During his first term (1993-1997), he initiated a series of landmark social, economic and constitutional reforms. Elected to a second term in 2002, he resigned in October 2003 in protest after violent protests related to the Bolivian gas conflict in which some 60 protesters were killed. In March 2006, he resigned the leadership of the MNR and fled to Miami, Florida.

Political life

The son of a political exile, Sánchez de Lozada spent his early years in the United Statesmarker, where he attended boarding school at Scattergood Friends Schoolmarker and studied literature and philosophy at the University of Chicagomarker. He returned to Boliviamarker in 1951, on the eve of the 1952 revolution led by the MNR political party, which transformed Bolivia from a semi-feudal oligarchy to a multiparty democracy by introducing universal suffrage, nationalizing the mines of the three Tin Barons, and carrying out a sweeping agrarian reform. Sánchez de Lozada pursued film-making and participated in several cinematic projects in the 1950s, including the production of early footage of Bolivia's 1952 Revolution. In 1954 he founded TELECINE. His film Voces de la Tierra (Voices from the Earth) won First Prize for documentaries at the 1957 Edinburgh film festival. In 1957, he founded Andean Geoservices. In 1966, he founded the mining company COMSUR, later becoming one of the most successful mining entrepreneurs in the country.

In 1985, on the return to democracy after 18 years of military dictatorships, Sánchez de Lozada was elected senator from Cochabambamarker and became President of the Senate. Soon after, President Víctor Paz Estenssoro named him Planning Minister. As Planning Minister, Sánchez de Lozada oversaw a series of economic structural reforms that steered the country away from state capitalism, towards a mixed economy. He describes himself as a fiscal conservative and social progressive.

Sánchez de Lozada ran for president in 1989 as the MNR candidate. While he won the plurality with 25.6% of the popular vote, in the congressional runoff between the top three candidates, the third-place winner, Jaime Paz Zamora of the MIR, who had polled 21.8% of the popular vote, won the presidency. Paz Zamora was backed in the runoff by the second-placed, former military dictator Hugo Banzer of the ADN, who had won 25.2% of the popular vote.

The first presidency: 1993-1997

In 1993, Sánchez de Lozada again ran for president, this time in alliance with the MBL, a leftist party, and the Tupac Katari Revolutionary Liberation Movement (Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Katari de Liberación, MRTKL), an indigenous party formed in 1985 whose leader Víctor Hugo Cárdenas was the candidate for vice-president. The MNR-MRTKL ticket won the first plurality, this time with 36.5% of the popular vote, and Sánchez de Lozada was confirmed as president by Congress. A coalition government that included the center left Free Bolivia Movement (MBL) and populist Civic Solidarity Union (UCS) was formed. The 1993 electoral victory also made Cárdenas the first elected indigenous vice president in South America.

The 1993-1997 MNR-led government initiated a series of Constitutional, social, economic and political reforms. Most noteworthy was the redefinition of Bolivia in the Constitution as multethnic and multicultural and the first articles in Bolivia's Constitutional history enshrining indigenous rights. Other vanguard legislation included the pro-poor Popular Participation Act, which decentralized the country by creating 311 (since expanded to 321) municipal governments and empowered them for local governance. The law introduced direct, municipal elections for the indigenous population, and included direct decision making on municipal spending for which 20 percent of federal spending was guaranteed to the municipalities on a per capita basis. Other reforms included the Educational Reform that introduced classroom teaching in the local indigenous language, Universal Maternity Coverage and milk and medical coverage for children up to the age of five years, a Universal Old-age Annual Benefit, opening elections to independent candidates for congressional seats, Capitalization, a reform which enabled the formation of joint ventures by private capital and the Bolivian people (not the Bolivian state) and requiring the private capital be invested directly in the new company.

The Capitalization reform was controversial because it was perceived as a privatization of five major state-owned companies. The law was controversial because it ceded management of these industries to foreign interests. Supporters of the law, however, believed that the requirement that the private capital be directly invested in the new joint ventures significantly reduced the room for corruption and would bring about the development of these "strategic" resources in the absence of any possibility of Bolivia alone funding their development, that the fiscal obligations of the new companies would greatly increase the funds available for human and social, as well as infrastructure development, and that the dividend payouts for the Bolivian people went to create a universal, annual old-age benefit, the BONOSOL, which though small would have an immense impact on the rural elderly, the most marginalized sector of Bolivia's indigenous population

Finally, the reforms also included changes to the country's electoral laws. A new electoral system was introduced. The change opened elections to independent candidates who were elected by plurality to fill 70 congressional seats, and the remaining 60 seats were filled proportionally by the votes cast for the presidential tickets. Also, the president would no longer be elected from among the top three contenders (if no candidate won an absolute majority), but from among the top two, and his term of office would be five years.

The second presidency: 2002-2003

In 2002, Sánchez de Lozada again ran for president. As his running mate, Sánchez de Lozada chose Carlos Mesa, an independent historian and journalist who had MNR sympathies. Sánchez de Lozada hired U.S. political consultants James Carville, Stan Greenberg and Bob Shrum to advise his campaign.

After running a sophisticated campaign based on public relations strategies formed by the US political consulting firm, Greenberg Carville Shrum, de Lozada seemed well on his way to winning a strong enough plurality to form a strong government. However, three days before the elections the US ambassador publicly warned the Bolivian people against electing "those who want Bolivia to again be an exporter of cocaine" as it would put in jeopardy US aid to Bolivia. The population's subsequent reaction to this statement swelled the anti-US vote of Evo Morales in the last three days of the campaign by 9 percent putting him on the heels of Sanchez de Lozada's vote. Evo Morales of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) received 20.94% of the popular vote. The center-right neopopulist candidate, Manfred Reyes of NFR placed a close third with 20.91% of the popular vote. After a difficult coalition-building process, Sánchez de Lozada was elected in a coalition formed by the MNR-MBL, MIR and UCS, the last two former members of the preceding coalition headed by the rightist, former dictator General Hugo Banzer.

When Sanchez de Lozada took office, he was faced with an economic and social crisis inherited from the preceding administration. Under the preceding administration, economic growth had plunged from the 4.8% at the end of Sanchez de Lozada's first presidency to 0.6% in 1999 and had recovered to only 2% for 2002. The fiscal deficit was running at 8%.

Gas War and resignation

From his inauguration in August 2002 until the end of the year, there were fewer public tensions. In January 2003 and under the leadership of Evo Morales, a group of union leaders (Evo Morales for the “cocaleros” - coca growers, Jaime Solares and Roberto de la Cruz for urban workers and miners, Felipe Quispe for the indigenous farmers in the Aymara region surrounding La Pazmarker) joined together to found the "People's High Command" (Estado Mayor del pueblo). A new wave of heightened protests began; main roads were blocked and towns and cities were brought to a standstill. Some aired long-standing grievances against the government, others were targeted entirely locally, against decisions of the now self-governing municipalities. In February, a standoff between police demanding higher pay and army units called to protect the presidential palace suddenly ended in violence and deaths in the streets of La Paz without articulated demands.

The acute economic crisis affecting above all the urban workers and the farming/indigenous population fed widespread support for protests in general. Protests and demands became more focused: the cocaleros continued protesting against eradication of a milenary plant (coca) although Banzer’s "Coca 0" policy had been replaced by the earlier subsidized crop substitution policy for gradual coca reduction but not total eradication; the indigenous farmers of the La Paz Aymara region wanted a “re-founding” of Bolivia, with the recognition and inclusion of Bolivia's indigenous ethnic groups as legitimate political blocs, and a type of economic de-centralization based on said recognition of indigenous groups as legitimate political actors. Other demands included autonomy for their territories; urban workers, primarily in La Paz, and miners protested against the proceeds of increasing natural gas production going to foreigners.

Demands for a return to the corporatist state put in place by the 1952 revolution and the nationalization of Bolivia's hydrocarbon resources assumed primacy, and calls began to be heard for the resignation of Sanchez de Lozada. In late September, a convoy of buses and trucks under a police escort was bringing back to La Paz over 700 persons, including foreign tourists, freed after a 10-day blockade of a valley resort town, when the convoy was ambushed on the highlands (Altiplano). The attackers were well armed and gave every indication of being well organized. The armed confrontation left six dead, among them two soldiers and a child.

A few days later, in early October, it claimed that President Sanchez de Lozada had decided to export Bolivia's gas to Mexicomarker and the United Statesmarker through a Chileanmarker port notwithstanding strong public opposition. Rancor runs high against Chile since Bolivia lost its coastal territory to Chile in the late 19th century War of the Pacific. The main highway from the city of El Alto down to neighboring La Paz was blockaded and the local population called out to protest. A massive demonstration and virtual siege of La Paz ensued.

After three days, fuel and other essential supplies were dangerously low in La Paz. On the fourth day, President Sanchez de Lozada sent a security force to open the way for highly explosive diesel and gasoline cisterns through densely populated neighborhoods to pass safely down to La Paz. The convoys were attacked {} by rioters at several points along their route. Some of the protesters are said to have been armed with firearms or dynamite sticks. According to official figures,59 deaths resulted from this incident.

On 17 October, Evo Morales' supporters from Cochabamba tried to march into Santa Cruzmarker, the largest city of the eastern lowlands where support was strong for the president. They were turned back. Faced with the option of resigning or more bloodshed, Sanchez de Lozada offered his resignation in a letter to an emergency session of Congress. After his resignation was accepted and his vice president invested, he left on a commercially scheduled flight for the United States.

According to his attorney, Sanchez de Lozada is currently residing legally in the United States.

Attempts at extradition

On November 3, 2005, Mr. Sánchez de Lozada was speaking at the reception sponsored by a non-profit group associated with Princeton Universitymarker in downtown Princeton, New Jerseymarker. A group of activists from Food & Water Watchmarker, served summons for Mr. Sánchez de Lozada for the events of the October 2003 Gas War between presidential candidates. The event was seen as a political stunt as only US Marshals can serve in a case like this , since neither the documents nor the servers had any legal validity or jurisdictional authority. Nonetheless, the documents were transmitted to the U.S.marker State Departmentmarker on June 22, 2005.

On November 11, 2008, Bolivia formally served the US government with a request to extradite Sanchez de Lozada back to Bolivia.

On November 10, 2009 The U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida ruled that the claims for crimes against humanity and extrajudicial killings could move forward in two related U.S. cases against Gonzalo Daniel Sánchez de Lozada Sánchez Bustamante and former Bolivian Defense Minister Jose Carlos Sánchez Berzaín. The cases, Mamani, et al. v. Sánchez Berzaín, and Mamani, et al. v. Sánchez de Lozada, seek compensatory and punitive damages under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS).

See also


  1. Stan Greenberg, Dispatches from the War Room: In The Trenches With Five Extraordinary Leaders (2009) ISBN 0-312-35152-6
  3. Garcia Linera, "State Crisis and Popular Power", New Left Review, no.37, Jan/Feb 2006.
  4. Press coverage of the Events
  5. Press coverage

External links

  • Biography of Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada in the official website of the Presidency of the Republic of Bolivia[34362]
  • Social and Economis Reforms of Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada unofficial website of his Presidency of the Republic of Bolivia[34363]
  • Gallery of portraits and biographies of presidents of Bolivia [34364]
  • Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy [34365]
  • Interview from Commanding Heights, PBS documentary
  • October 2003: A complete analysis [34366]

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address