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Hugo Bánzer Suárez: 1926—: Politician

Resigned Due To Poor Health

In 2001 Bánzer read a statement before Congress that called for further constitutional amendments to change the country's electoral system, making it fully democratic. His 50-point plan was viewed, however, as a concession and stop-gap measure in the face of a growing movement for further reform. As a report in the Economist noted, the backdown of Bánzer's government the previous year in the Cochabamba Valley protests inspired "new political movements—formed to lobby for water rights, more power for indigenous Indians, or stronger measures against corruption" to challenge the government on other fronts. "Many people want a broad referendum on how the country should be governed," the Economist article continued, "and there are even demands for a constituent assembly."

Bánzer's days in office were limited, however: he had been diagnosed with lung and liver cancer. He went to the United States for treatment in July of 2001, and received chemotherapy at the esteemed Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He returned to La Paz and resigned his office on August 6, 2001. His vice president, Jorge Quiroga Ramírez, took over to complete the remainder of the term. Telegraph correspondent Jeremy McDermott quoted Bánzer as saying when he arrived back in the country, "I want Bolivians to remember me simply as the sower of realities, not illusions."



Current Leaders of Nations, Gale, 1998.


Dallas Morning News, August 2, 2001.

Economist, July 1, 1989; June 5, 1993; May 31, 1997; August 9, 1997; November 7, 1998; February 27, 1999; April 15, 2000; February 24, 2001.

Independent (London, England), July 22, 1998.

New York Times, March 14, 1999.

Oil Daily, July 10, 2001; July 30, 2001.

Telegraph (U.K.), August 7, 2001.

Washington Post, July 28, 2001.

World Press Review, June 2000.

—Carol Brennan

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Nate Smith Biography - Fought His Way into the Union to Theodosius II BiographyHugo Bánzer Suárez: 1926—: Politician Biography - Long Military Career, Ousted From Office, A New Era, Resigned Due To Poor Health