Enrique Penaranda del Castillo was a Bolivian general who served as commander of his country's forces during the second half of the Chaco War (1932-1935). He was later elected President of Bolivia in 1940, serving in that capacity until being overthrown in 1943.
Penaranda was born into a politically influential family–to a family of Aymara heritage–to an Indian father and a Mestizo mother. Penaranda's cousin, Nestor Penaranda, was a well-known Methodist Evangalical missionary who worked among the Indians of La Paz.
Penaranda's performance in the Chaco War is debatable and controversial. Hailed as a hero for breaking the deadly Paraguayan siege in the Battle of Campo Via (a claim probably exaggerated by the government of Daniel Salamanca to distract attention from the devastating Bolivian loss in that battle), he took over as Bolivia's top general upon the December, 1933 demotion of the German General Hans Kundt. As Commander of the Army, Penaranda continuously clashed with the elderly and demanding Constitutional President Daniel Salamanca (1931-34), who understandably was not very happy with the military's performance in the war. Further disagreements ensued over the issue of appointments and promotions, Penaranda believing that this was a purely internal military matter and the President insisting that it was part of his mandate as Commander in Chief. In November 1934, Salamanca decided to replace Penaranda with a new military commander, sparking a coup d'etat led by General Penaranda, Colonel David Toro, and Major German Busch, all future presidents of Bolivia. Because the country was still at war, the military agreed to acquiesce to the swearing-in of Vice-President Jose Luis Tejada.
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