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.
With an HPI of 63.99, Evo Morales is the most famous Bolivian Politician. His biography has been translated into 97 different languages on wikipedia.
Juan Evo Morales Ayma (Spanish pronunciation: [xwan ˈeβo moˈɾales ˈajma]; 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, improving the legal rights and socioeconomic conditions of Bolivia's previously-marginalized indigenous population and combating the political influence of the United States and resource-extracting 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 joint U.S.–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, was elected to Congress in 1997, and became leader of MAS in 1998. Coupled with populist rhetoric, he campaigned on issues affecting indigenous and poor communities, advocating land reform and more equal redistribution of money from Bolivian gas extraction. 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 president in 2005, Morales increased taxation on the hydrocarbon industry to bolster social spending and emphasized projects to combat illiteracy, poverty, and racial and gender discrimination. 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 election and the ensuing unrest, Morales agreed to calls for his resignation. After this temporary exile, he returned following the election of President Luis Arce. Morales' supporters laud 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 that his defense of coca contributed to illegal cocaine production.
With an HPI of 58.35, René Barrientos is the 2nd most famous Bolivian Politician. His biography has been translated into 30 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 President Victor 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.
With an HPI of 57.46, Hugo Banzer is the 3rd most famous Bolivian Politician. His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.
Hugo Banzer Suárez (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈuɣo banˈseɾ ˈswaɾes]; 10 May 1926 – 5 May 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 a democratically elected president. Banzer, rose to power via a coup d'état against socialist president Juan José Torres and repressed labor leaders, clergymen, indigenous people, and students during his 1971–1978 dictatorship. Several thousand Bolivians were either forced to seek asylum in foreign countries, arrested, tortured, or killed during this period, known as the Banzerato. After Banzer's removal via a coup led by Juan Pereda, he remained an influential figure in Bolivian politics and would run for election to the presidency via the ballot box on several occasions, eventually succeeding in 1997 via a narrow plurality of 22.26% of the popular vote. During Banzer's constitutional term, he extended presidential term limits from four years to five and presided over the Cochabamba Water War, declaring a state of siege in 2000 that suspended several civil liberties and lead to violent clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement. After being diagnosed with lung cancer, Banzer resigned in 2001 and was succeeded by Vice President Jorge Quiroga.
With an HPI of 55.77, Luis Arce is the 4th most famous Bolivian Politician. His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.
Luis Alberto Arce Catacora (Spanish: [ˈlwis alˈβɛɾto ˈaɾse kataˈkoɾa]; born 28 September 1963), often referred to as Lucho, is a Bolivian banker, economist, and politician serving as the 67th president of Bolivia since 2020. A member of the Movement for Socialism, he previously served as minister of finance—later minister of economy and public finance—from 2006 to 2017, and in 2019. Born in La Paz, Arce graduated as an economist at the University of Warwick. His lifelong career in banking and accounting at the Central Bank of Bolivia prompted President Evo Morales to appoint him as minister of finance in 2006. For over ten years as Morales' longest-serving minister, Arce was hailed as the architect behind Bolivia's economic transformation, overseeing the nationalization of the country's hydrocarbons industry, the rapid expansion of GDP, and the reduction of poverty. His tenure was only brought to an end by a diagnosis of kidney cancer, which forced him to leave office to seek extended treatment abroad. Upon his recovery, Arce was reappointed to his position in January 2019 but resigned from office within the year amid the social unrest the country faced in October and November, culminating in Morales' removal as president soon thereafter amid allegations of electoral fraud. During the interim government of Jeanine Áñez, Arce sought asylum in Mexico and Argentina, where Morales—barred from running again—nominated him as the Movement for Socialism's presidential candidate in the snap elections scheduled for 2020. Throughout the campaign, Arce characterized himself as a moderating force, a proponent of his party's socialist ideals but not subservient to its leader, Morales. These factors ultimately resulted in a substantial victory at the polls, with Arce winning fifty-five percent of the popular vote. Inaugurated on 8 November 2020, Arce's presidency brought Bolivia back in line domestically and internationally with its traditional position under Morales and away from the rightward shift the Áñez government had taken. Domestically, Arce's first year in office saw its greatest successes in combating the COVID-19 pandemic through the procurement of vaccines from Russian and Chinese sources. His government spearheaded an international call for the pharmaceutical industry to waive its patents on vaccines and medications in order to provide greater access to them by low-income countries. Though he succeeded in stabilizing the economy in the face of the health crisis, Arce's ability to conduct its growth was hampered by a vaccine hesitant population, which prolonged the pandemic's economic ramifications. Among the biggest challenges of the Arce administration was the urgent need for judicial reform in the country, which he pledged to address but was forced to delay on multiple occasions.
With an HPI of 54.61, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada is the 5th most famous Bolivian Politician. His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada Sánchez Bustamante (born 1 July 1930), often referred to as Goni, is a Bolivian businessman and politician who served as the 61st president of Bolivia from 1993 to 1997 and from 2002 to 2003. A member of the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (MNR), he previously served as minister of planning and coordination under Víctor Paz Estenssoro and succeeded him as the MNR's national chief in 1990. As minister of planning, Sánchez de Lozada employed "shock therapy" in 1985 to cut hyperinflation from an estimated 25,000% to a single digit within a period of less than six 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, ten soldiers and sixteen 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 governments of Evo Morales and Luis Arce have unsuccessfully sought his extradition from the U.S. to stand 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. In 2014, the U.S. District Court in Florida ruled the case could proceed under the Torture Victim Protection Act. 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". Nevertheless, on 3 August 2020, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated this ruling. On 5 April 2021, a separate U.S. District Court ruling reaffirmed a 2018 jury verdict which found both Sánchez de Lozada and Carlos Sanchez Berzaín liable and required them to pay $10 million.
With an HPI of 53.92, Luis García Meza is the 6th most famous Bolivian Politician. His biography has been translated into 23 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).
With an HPI of 53.91, Lidia Gueiler Tejada is the 7th most famous Bolivian Politician. Her biography has been translated into 32 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 female republican Head of State 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.
With an HPI of 53.87, Jeanine Áñez is the 8th most famous Bolivian Politician. Her biography has been translated into 50 different languages.
Jeanine Áñez Chávez (Spanish pronunciation: [ɟʝaˈnine ˈaɲes ˈt͡ʃaβes] (listen); born 13 June 1967) is a Bolivian lawyer, politician, and television presenter who served as the 66th president of Bolivia from 2019 to 2020. A former member of the Social Democratic Movement, she previously served two terms as senator for Beni from 2015 to 2019 on behalf of the Democratic Unity coalition and from 2010 to 2014 on behalf of the National Convergence alliance. During this time, she served as second vice president of the Senate from 2015 to 2016 and in 2019 and, briefly, was president of the Senate, also in 2019. Before that, she served as a uninominal member of the Constituent Assembly from Beni, representing circumscription 61 from 2006 to 2007 on behalf of the Social Democratic Power alliance. Born in San Joaquín, Beni, Áñez graduated as a lawyer from the José Ballivián Autonomous University, then worked in television journalism. An early advocate of departmental autonomy, in 2006, she was invited by the Social Democratic Power alliance to represent Beni in the 2006–2007 Constituent Assembly, charged with drafting a new constitution for Bolivia. Following the completion of that historic process, Áñez ran for senator for Beni with the National Convergence alliance, becoming one of the few former constituents to maintain a political career at the national level. Once in the Senate, the National Convergence caucus quickly fragmented, leading Áñez to abandon it in favor of the emergent Social Democratic Movement, an autonomist political party based in the eastern departments. Together with the Democrats, as a component of the Democratic Unity coalition, she was reelected senator in 2014. During her second term, Áñez served twice as second vice president of the Senate, making her the highest-ranking opposition legislator in that chamber during the social unrest the country faced in late 2019. During this political crisis, and after the resignation of President Evo Morales and other officials in the line of succession, Áñez declared herself next in line to assume the presidency. On 12 November 2019, she installed an extraordinary session of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly that lacked quorum due to the absence of members of Morales' party, the Movement for Socialism (MAS-IPSP), who demanded security guarantees before attending. In a short session, Áñez declared herself president of the Senate, then used that position as a basis to assume constitutional succession to the presidency of the country. Responding to domestic unrest, Áñez issued a decree removing criminal liability for military and police in dealing with protesters, which was repealed amid widespread condemnation following the Senkata and Sacaba massacres. Her government launched numerous criminal investigations into former MAS officials, for which she was accused of political persecution and retributive justice, terminated Bolivia's close links with the governments of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, and warmed relations with the United States. After delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing protests, new elections were held in October 2020. Despite initially pledging not to, Áñez launched her own presidential campaign, contributing to criticism that she was not a neutral actor in the transition. She withdrew her candidacy a month before the election amid low poll numbers and fear of splitting the opposition vote against MAS candidate Luis Arce, who won the election. Following the end of her mandate in November 2020, Áñez briefly retired to her residence in Trinidad, only to launch her Beni gubernatorial candidacy a month later. Despite being initially competitive, mounting judicial processes surrounding her time as president hampered her campaign, ultimately resulting in a third-place finish at the polls. Eight days after the election, Áñez was apprehended and charged with crimes related to her role in the alleged coup d'état of 2019; a move decried as political persecution by members of the political opposition. Áñez's nearly fifteen month pre-trial detention caused a marked decline in her physical and mental health, and was denounced as abusive by her family. On 10 June 2022, after a three month trial, the First Sentencing Court of La Paz found Áñez guilty of breach of duties and resolutions contrary to the Constitution, sentencing her to ten years in prison. Following the verdict, her defense conveyed its intent to appeal, as did government prosecutors, seeking a harsher sentence.
With an HPI of 53.54, Víctor Paz Estenssoro is the 9th most famous Bolivian Politician. His biography has been translated into 32 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.
With an HPI of 53.27, Andrés de Santa Cruz is the 10th most famous Bolivian Politician. His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.
Andrés de Santa Cruz y Calahumana (Spanish pronunciation: [anˈdɾes ðe ˈsanta kɾuθ] (listen); 30 November 1792 – 25 September 1865) was a Bolivian general and politician who served as interim president of Peru in 1827, the interim president of Peru from 1836 to 1838 and the sixth 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.
Pantheon has 40 people classified as politicians born between 1759 and 1967. Of these 40, 9 (22.50%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Evo Morales, Luis Arce, and Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada. The most famous deceased politicians include René Barrientos, Hugo Banzer, and Luis García Meza. As of April 2022, 6 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Luis Arce, Germán Busch, and Cornelio Saavedra.
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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.