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Hernan Siles Zuazo

Hernan Siles Zuazo was a politician from Bolivia. He served as his country's constitutionally elected president twice, from 1956 to 1960 and again from 1982 to 1985.

Born in a privileged family, Hernan Siles was the son of a former president of Bolivia, Hernando Siles. After attaining a law degree in the 1930s, he dedicated himself to politics. Gravitating toward the reformist side of the political spectrum (even though his father had been one of the pillars of the Old Regime he aimed at transforming), he founded in 1941, along with Victor Paz Estenssoro and others, the influential Revolutionary Nationalist Movement . The MNR participated in the 1943-46 progressive military administration of Gualberto Villarroel, but was forced from power due to U.S. pressure and also by Villarroel's overthrow in 1946. Paz Estenssoro ran in the 1951 elections with Siles as his vice-presidential running mate, and won the contest. However, the ultra-conservative government of Mamerto Urriolagoitia refused to recognize the results and instead turned over the presidency to the commander of the Bolivian army, general Hugo Ballivian. At that point the MNR party went underground and in April 1952 led the epoch-making National Revolution, aided by defections from the armed forces to the rebel cause (key among which was general Antonio Seleme). Siles played a major role in the bloody uprising, along with Juan Lechin, since the MNR chief Paz Estenssoro was at the time in exile in Argentina.

Related websites

Vicepresidency of Bolivia

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