The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Bolivia

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This page contains a list of the greatest Bolivian Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,710 Politicians, 34 of which were born in Bolivia. This makes Bolivia the birth place of the 71st most number of Politicians behind Philippines and Albania.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Bolivian Politicians of all time. This list of famous Bolivian Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Bolivian Politicians.

Photo of Evo Morales

1. Evo Morales (1959 - )

With an HPI of 72.78, Evo Morales is the most famous Bolivian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 94 different languages on wikipedia.

Juan Evo Morales Ayma (Spanish pronunciation: [xwɑːn ˈeβo moˈɾales ˈaʝ.ma]; born 26 October 1959) is a Bolivian politician, trade union organizer, and former cocalero activist who served as the 65th President of Bolivia from 2006 to 2019. Widely regarded as the country's first president to come from its indigenous population, his administration focused on the implementation of leftist policies and combating the influence of the United States and multinational corporations. Ideologically a socialist, he has led the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party since 1998. Born to an Aymara family of subsistence farmers in Isallawi, Orinoca Canton, Morales undertook a basic education and mandatory military service before moving to the Chapare Province in 1978. Growing coca and becoming a trade unionist, he rose to prominence in the campesino ("rural laborers") union. In that capacity, he campaigned against United States and Bolivian attempts to eradicate coca as part of the War on Drugs, denouncing these as an imperialist violation of indigenous Andean culture. His involvement in anti-government direct action protests resulted in multiple arrests. Morales entered electoral politics in 1995, became the leader of the MAS, and was elected to Congress in 1997. Coupled with populist rhetoric, his campaign focused on issues affecting indigenous and poor communities, advocating land reform and more equal redistribution of gas wealth. He gained increased visibility through the Cochabamba Water War and gas conflict. In 2002, he was expelled from Congress for encouraging anti-government protesters, although he came second in that year's presidential election. Once elected in 2005, Morales increased taxation on the hydrocarbon industry to bolster social spending and emphasized projects to combat illiteracy, poverty, racism, and sexism. Vocally criticizing neoliberalism, Morales' government moved Bolivia towards a mixed economy, reduced its dependence on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), and oversaw strong economic growth. Scaling back United States influence in the country, he built relationships with leftist governments in the Latin American pink tide, especially Hugo Chávez's Venezuela and Fidel Castro's Cuba, and signed Bolivia into the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas. His administration opposed the autonomist demands of Bolivia's eastern provinces, won a 2008 recall referendum, and instituted a new constitution that established Bolivia as a plurinational state. Re-elected in 2009 and 2014, he oversaw Bolivia's admission to the Bank of the South and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, although his popularity was dented by attempts to abolish presidential term limits. Following the disputed 2019 general election and the ensuing unrest, Morales agreed to calls for his resignation. After a temporary exile, he returned following the election of President Luis Arce. Morales' supporters lauded him as a champion of indigenous rights, anti-imperialism, and environmentalism, and he was credited with overseeing significant economic growth and poverty reduction as well as increased investment in schools, hospitals, and infrastructure. Critics point to democratic backsliding during his tenure, argue that his policies sometimes failed to reflect his environmentalist and indigenous rights rhetoric, and claim that his defence of coca contributed to illegal cocaine production.

Photo of Hugo Banzer

2. Hugo Banzer (1926 - 2002)

With an HPI of 67.31, Hugo Banzer is the 2nd most famous Bolivian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Hugo Banzer Suárez (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈuɣo banˈseɾ ˈswaɾes]; May 10, 1926 – May 5, 2002) was a Bolivian politician and military officer who served as the 51st President of Bolivia. He held the Bolivian presidency twice: from 1971 to 1978 in a military dictatorship; and then again from 1997 to 2001, as constitutional president.

Photo of René Barrientos

3. René Barrientos (1919 - 1969)

With an HPI of 66.98, René Barrientos is the 3rd most famous Bolivian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

René Barrientos Ortuño (30 May 1919 – 27 April 1969) was a Bolivian military officer and politician who served as the 47th President of Bolivia twice nonconsecutively from 1964 to 1966 and from 1966 to 1969. During much of his first term, he shared power as co-president with Alfredo Ovando from 1965 to 1966 and prior to that served as the 30th Vice President of Bolivia in 1964.General Barrientos came to power after the 1964 Bolivian coup d'état which overthrew the government of Paz Estenssoro. During his three-year rule, Barrientos and the army suppressed leftist opposition to his regime, including a guerrilla group led by Che Guevara in 1967.

Photo of Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada

4. Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (1930 - )

With an HPI of 65.79, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada is the 4th most famous Bolivian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada Sánchez Bustamante (born 1 July 1930), familiarly known as "Goni", is a Bolivian politician and businessman, who served as the 61st President of Bolivia for two nonconsecutive terms from 1993 to 1997 and from 2002 to 2003. He is a lifelong member of the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (Spanish: Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario, MNR). As Minister of Planning in the government of President Víctor Paz Estenssoro, Sánchez de Lozada used "shock therapy" in 1985 to cut hyperinflation from an estimated 25,000% to a single digit within a period of less than 6 weeks. 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 struggled with protests and events in October 2003 related to the Bolivian gas conflict. According to official reports, 59 protestors, 10 soldiers and 16 policemen died in confrontations. As a result of the violent clashes, Sánchez de Lozada resigned and went into exile in the United States. In March 2006, he resigned the leadership of the MNR.The former government of Evo Morales unsuccessfully sought his extradition from the US to stand a political trial for the events of 2003. Victims' representatives have pursued compensatory damages for extrajudicial killings in a suit against him in the United States under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). In 2014, the US District Court in Florida ruled the case could proceed under the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA). The trial, which began on 5 March 2018 and concluded on 30 May 2018, found Sánchez de Lozada and his former defense minister Carlos Sanchez Berzaín not liable for the civilian deaths after the judge declared that there was "insufficient evidence" to do so. Nevertheless, on 3 August 2020, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated this ruling.

Photo of Jeanine Áñez

5. Jeanine Áñez (1967 - )

With an HPI of 65.17, Jeanine Áñez is the 5th most famous Bolivian Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 45 different languages.

Jeanine Áñez Chávez (Spanish pronunciation: [ɟʝaˈnine ˈaɲes ˈt͡ʃaβes]; born 13 June 1967) is a Bolivian politician and lawyer who served as the 66th President of Bolivia from 2019 to 2020. Áñez was previously a senator from the northeastern department of Beni from 2010 to 2019. She was Bolivia's second female president after Lidia Gueiler Tejada. She is a member of Ahora! (Now), branch of the National Unity Front in Beni. Áñez was born to a lower middle-class mestiza family in San Joaquín, Beni. She studied at the Autonomous University of the Beni José Ballivián, obtaining a graduate degree in law and legal sciences. Establishing a career in media, she worked as a presenter and eventually became director of Totalvisión. Moving into politics, she joined the Democrat Social Movement and served as a member of the Constituent Assembly between 2006 and 2008. In 2010, she was elected to the Senate as part of the Plan Progress for Bolivia – National Convergence. As a Senator, much of her work focused on women's rights issues, especially tackling violence against women. Áñez was critical of President Evo Morales's Movement for Socialism (MAS–IPSP) government, for what she perceived as its lack of financial transparency and human rights violations in Bolivia. Following a failed attempt to become Governor of Beni in 2012, she was elected to the role of second vice president of the Senate in 2019. Following the 2019 Bolivian general election and the ensuing unrest, Morales compelled by the military and police, resigned and went into exile. Áñez was installed as president by a session of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly, the legitimacy of which was opposed by MAS due to its lack of quorum. The Plurinational Constitutional Court ruled that Áñez's appointment was constitutional. Responding to domestic unrest, Áñez issued a decree removing criminal liability for police and military in dealing with protesters; 36 pro-Morales protesters were subsequently killed by security forces. After widespread criticism, Áñez repealed the decree. Áñez's government launched investigations into alleged corruption and misdemeanors by MAS politicians, terminated Bolivia's close links with the socialist governments of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, and introduced measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. She contested the 2020 Bolivian general election for JUNTOS (Together), a large right-wing political alliance, but resigned her candidacy one month before the election. MAS candidate Luis Arce won the election and succeeded Áñez as president. In 2021, Áñez was arrested and charged with criminal offences related to the Senkata and Sacaba massacres, two massacres that took place during the first days of her presidency, a move which several international organisations labelled political persecution.

Photo of Lidia Gueiler Tejada

6. Lidia Gueiler Tejada (1921 - 2011)

With an HPI of 64.33, Lidia Gueiler Tejada is the 6th most famous Bolivian Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Lidia Gueiler Tejada (28 August 1921 – 9 May 2011) was a Bolivian politician who served as the 56th President of Bolivia on an interim basis from 1979 to 1980. She was Bolivia's first female Head of State, and the second in the history of the Americas (the first was Isabel Perón in Argentina between 1974 and 1976). She was the cousin of American actress Raquel Welch.

Photo of Víctor Paz Estenssoro

7. Víctor Paz Estenssoro (1907 - 2001)

With an HPI of 64.20, Víctor Paz Estenssoro is the 7th most famous Bolivian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Ángel Víctor Paz Estenssoro (2 October 1907 – 7 June 2001) was a Bolivian politician who served as the 45th President of Bolivia for three nonconsecutive and four total terms from 1952 to 1956, 1960 to 1964 and 1985 to 1989. He ran for president eight times (1947, 1951, 1960, 1964, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1985) and was victorious in 1951, 1960, 1964 and 1985. His 1951 victory was annulled by a military junta led by Hugo Ballivián, and his 1964 victory was interrupted by the 1964 Bolivian coup d'état.

Photo of Luis García Meza

8. Luis García Meza (1929 - 2018)

With an HPI of 64.08, Luis García Meza is the 8th most famous Bolivian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Luis García Meza Tejada (8 August 1929 – 29 April 2018) was a Bolivian general who served as the de facto 57th President of Bolivia from 1980 to 1981. He was a dictator convicted of human rights violations and leader of a violent coup. A native of La Paz, he was a career military officer who rose to the rank of general during the dictatorship of Hugo Banzer (1971–78).

Photo of Andrés de Santa Cruz

9. Andrés de Santa Cruz (1792 - 1865)

With an HPI of 63.86, Andrés de Santa Cruz is the 9th most famous Bolivian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Andrés de Santa Cruz y Calahumana (Spanish pronunciation: [anˈdɾes ðe ˈsanta kɾuθ] (listen); 5 December 1792 – 25 September 1865) was a general and politician who served as Interim President of Peru in 1827, the Interim President of Peru from 1836 to 1838 and the 6th President of Bolivia from 1829 to 1839. He also served as Supreme Protector of the short-lived Peru-Bolivian Confederation from 1836 to 1839, a political entity created mainly by his personal endeavors.

Photo of Carlos Mesa

10. Carlos Mesa (1953 - )

With an HPI of 62.14, Carlos Mesa is the 10th most famous Bolivian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.

Carlos Diego Mesa Gisbert (born 12 August 1953) is a Bolivian historian and politician who served as the 63rd President of Bolivia from 2003 to 2005. He was the 37th Vice President of Bolivia from 2002 to 2003. Mesa previously had been a television journalist. His widespread recognition prompted the MNR candidate Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada to pick him as running mate in the 2002 Bolivian presidential elections. The winning ticket of Sánchez-Mesa took office 6 August 2002. Soon after becoming vice president, a wave of protests and strikes shut down Bolivia in a bitter dispute known as the Bolivian Gas War. The government's repression of said demonstrations eventually lead Mesa to withdraw support for Sánchez de Lozada, whose resignation put Mesa forward as president. Mesa's presidency was marked by a continuation of the Bolivian gas crisis and the delicate sociopolitical status it created. Mesa resigned on 9 June 2005 amid heavy dissatisfaction with his government and pressure from labor unions, coca activists, members of the Santa Cruz autonomist movement, citizen protest, and the growing MAS-IPSP party, figure-headed by future president Evo Morales.After his presidency, Mesa was a spokesman for Bolivia in the Obligation to Negotiate Access to the Pacific Ocean case in the International Court of Justice, which was ultimately unsuccessful.Mesa has attempted to be elected president of the Plurinational State of Bolivia in his own right, running for the centre-left alliance Civic Community (CC), twice in 2019 and 2020. The controversial 2019 election, in which Mesa came second place to President Morales, was annulled after widespread accusations of fraud. In the 2020 election, Mesa lost to Luis Arce, to whom he conceded defeat, without challenging the results of the election and calling the CC coalition to lead the Bolivian opposition.Mesa is a member of the Inter-American Dialogue.

Pantheon has 34 people classified as politicians born between 1784 and 1967. Of these 34, 9 (26.47%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Evo Morales, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, and Jeanine Áñez. The most famous deceased politicians include Hugo Banzer, René Barrientos, and Lidia Gueiler Tejada. As of October 2020, 8 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Jeanine Áñez, Celso Torrelio, and José María Pérez de Urdininea.

Living Politicians

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Deceased Politicians

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Newly Added Politicians (2020)

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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.