Biography of Hugo Bánzer Suárez (1926-2002)

Military and Bolivian politician, born in Santa Cruz on May 10, 1926, in a middle-class family of German origin, died in his hometown on May 5, 2002. It was the first military dictator of the continent that after leaving the power regained the Presidency of the country, two decades later, by democratic means.

He studied at all the colleges of the army and conducted a course in the school of the Americas, in the Panama canal zone. Later, it extended its military training in Argentina and United States. Military of the Embassy of Bolivia in Washington and Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the nation was added and during the Government of general Barrientos took his first political responsibility as head of the Ministry of education and culture, from 1964 to 1966.

The President Ovando appointed him director of the Military Academy of the Army Colonel Gualberto Villarroel, charge that would be ousted by general González Torres in January 1971, accused of plotting against the regime, once raided on January 11, at the forefront of its cadets, staff. After a brief exile in Argentina, he/she returned to Bolivia to organize a coup d'etat backed by the nationalist revolutionary movement (MNR), led by Víctor Paz Estenssoro, and the socialist revolutionary Falange (FSB) of Mario Gutiérrez.

On August 24, 1971, after the overthrow of the populist Government of González Torres, became President of the Republic. The then Colonel Hugo Bánzer took power at the head of a military triumvirate consisting of eleven members. On June 5, 1974 contained a rebellion in the army against his regime, and on November 8 of that year faced a seditious movement in the city of Santa Cruz. After six years in the Palacio Quemado, in 1977 he/she called elections for the following year, in which their candidate, Juan Pereda, was defeated by democratic unity and Popular (UDP), and which were finally cancelled before the evidence of electoral fraud.

On July 21, 1978, Hugo Bánzer submitted his resignation after the triumph of the initiative coup orchestrated by his man of trust, Juan Pereda, who in turn was overthrown, four months later, by general David Padilla Arancibia.

Banzer founded the Party national democratic action (ADN) and on July 1, 1979 first participated in the presidential elections, which won third place and after which was provisional President choose Guevara Arze. Shortly after he/she was prosecuted for having violated the essential rules of the Constitution and basic precepts of human rights and freedoms; Although he/she achieved absolution in 1980. In the presidential elections of that year, Banzer won 16.8% of the vote and withdrew from the electoral scrutiny to be victim of a fraud.

In October 1982 the President Luis García Meza convened the Congress elected in 1980 and handed power to Siles Zuazo. A growing inflationary trend and the increase in social tensions led to a unconstitutional mandate of democratic unit reduction to three years and is called elections to June 1985. In this election, Banzer won the first plurality, but Congress chose to give the Government to Víctor Paz Estenssoro, when his party, the MNR, coaligara with the movement of the revolutionary left (MIR).

In general elections held in 1989 no party won an absolute majority and was Congress again commissioned to appoint President. Thanks to an unprecedented coalition in the Bolivian politiva between the MIR and the DNA, known as patriotic agreement, Banzer resigned his candidacy, in favour of the leader of the MIR, Paz Zamora, that new President was appointed by 97 votes on 156.

After it the patriotic agreement was the most voted formation in the country in the 1991 municipal elections, the ruling coalition decided to propose to Banzer as candidate for the presidential elections of 1993. Faced with this election, the AP was reinforced with the integration of the revolutionary left front (FRI). It could only be second in these elections and 9 June sent a letter to the Chamber in which withdrew his candidacy in favor of Gonzalo Sánchez, leader of the nationalist revolutionary movement (MNR) and most voted candidate.

Banzer tried to again achieve the Presidency as the candidate of nationalist democratic action (ADN) in the elections of 1997, where finally managed to win with 22.3% of the vote, ahead of the candidate of the (MNR), Juan Carlos Durán, with a 17.7%.

In the first days of the month of July 2001 he/she entered the Hospital Walter Reed in Washington, with a diagnosis of cancer in the left lung and liver metastases. Returned a few days to Bolivia to submit his voluntary resignation on August 6 to the Presidency of the country and hand over the command of the Executive Vice President Jorge Quiroga. Abandoned by doctors before the unstoppable advance of his illness, he/she died nine months later at his residence in Santa Cruz.