Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada y Sánchez de Bustamante (born July 1,
1930), familiarly known as "Goni", is a Bolivian politician and
businessman, who served as
President of Bolivia
President of Bolivia for two
non-consecutive terms. He is a lifelong member of the Movimiento
Nacionalista Revolucionario (MNR). As Minister of Planning in the
government of President Víctor Paz Estenssoro, Sánchez de Lozada
used "shock therapy" in 1985 to cut hyperinflation from an estimated
25,000% to a single digit within a period of less than 6 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. Official
reports said that 59 protesters, soldiers and policemen died; most
deaths were of protesters or bystanders. He resigned and went into
exile in the
United States in October 2003. In March 2006, he resigned
the leadership of the MNR.
The government of
Evo Morales has unsuccessfully been seeking his
extradition from the US to stand a political trial for the events of
2003. Victims' representatives have pursued compensatory damages
for extrajudicial killings in a suit against him in the United States
Alien Tort Statute (ATS). In 2014 the US District Court in
Florida ruled the case could proceed under the Torture Victim
Protection Act (TVPA). The trial began on March 5, 2018 and concluded
on April 3, 2018 when Sánchez de Lozada and his former defense
minister, Carlos Sánchez Berzain were found liable for the civilian
deaths by the jury.
1 Political life
2 First presidency: 1993–1997
3 Second presidency: 2002–2003
3.1 Gas War and resignation
4 Trial of responsibility
4.1 Attempts at extradition
5 Civil trial in the United States
6 See also
8 External links
The son of a political exile, Sánchez de Lozada spent his early years
in the United States, where he attended boarding school at Scattergood
Friends School in rural Iowa. He studied literature and philosophy
at the University of Chicago. As a result of this experience, his
Spanish is accented, leading many Bolivians to refer to him as "El
At the age of 21, he returned to
Bolivia in 1951, on the eve of the
1952 revolution led by the MNR political party. This transformed
Bolivia from a semi-feudal oligarchy to a multi-party democracy by
introducing universal suffrage, nationalizing the mines of the three
Tin Barons, and carrying out sweeping agrarian reform. Sánchez de
Lozada pursued film-making and participated in several cinematic
projects in the 1950s, including filming Bolivia's 1952 Revolution. In
1954 he founded Telecine. His film Voces de la Tierra (Voices from the
Earth) won First Prize for documentaries at the 1957
In 1957, Sánchez de Lozada turned to resource businesses, founding
Andean Geoservices. In 1966, he founded the mining company COMSUR,
later becoming one of the most successful mining entrepreneurs in the
Bolivia was ruled for nearly two decades by military dictatorships. In
1979 and again in 1980, on the return to democracy, Sánchez de Lozada
was elected to congress as deputy for Cochabamba. In 1985, he was
elected senator from
Cochabamba and then as President of the Senate.
Soon after, President
Víctor Paz Estenssoro
Víctor Paz Estenssoro appointed him as Planning
Minister. Sánchez de Lozada oversaw a series of economic structural
reforms that steered the country away from state capitalism, towards a
mixed economy. He is particularly known for having sharply reduced the
hyperinflation of the period, using economic shock therapy, as
United States economist Jeffrey Sachs, then of Harvard
University. Sánchez de Lozada describes himself as a fiscal
conservative and social progressive.
Sánchez de Lozada ran for president in 1989 as the MNR candidate.
While he won the plurality with 25.6% of the popular vote, in the
congressional runoff among the top three candidates, Jaime Paz Zamora
of the MIR, who had polled 21.8% of the popular vote and formerly been
in third place, won the presidency. Paz Zamora was backed in the
runoff by the second-placed, former military dictator
Hugo Banzer of
the ADN, who had won 25.2% of the popular vote.
First presidency: 1993–1997
In 1993, Sánchez de Lozada again ran for president, this time in
alliance with the Tupac Katari Revolutionary Liberation Movement
(Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Katari de Liberación, MRTKL), an
indigenous party formed in 1985 whose leader Víctor Hugo Cárdenas
was the candidate for vice-president. The MNR-MRTKL ticket won the
first plurality with 36.5% of the popular vote, and Sánchez de Lozada
was confirmed as president by Congress. A coalition government that
included the center-left Free
Bolivia Movement (MBL) and populist
Civic Solidarity Union (UCS) was formed. With the 1993 electoral
victory, Cárdenas became the first elected indigenous vice president
in South America.
The 1993–1997 MNR-led government initiated a series of
Constitutional, social, economic and political reforms. The
Constitution was rewritten to define
Bolivia as a multi-ethnic and
multi-cultural nation; the first articles enshrined indigenous rights.
Other legislation included the Popular Participation Act, which
decentralized the country by creating 311 (since expanded to 321)
municipal governments, empowering them for local governance. The law
introduced direct municipal elections for the indigenous population,
and authorized local decision making on municipal spending, for which
20 percent of federal spending was guaranteed to the municipalities on
a per capita basis. Other programs included Educational Reform, which
introduced classroom teaching in the local indigenous languages,
Universal Maternity Coverage and milk and medical coverage for
children up to the age of five years, and a Universal Old-age Annual
Benefit. Political reforms included opening elections to independent
candidates for congressional seats; and Capitalization, a program
which enabled the formation of joint ventures by private capital and
Bolivian people (not the Bolivian state), and requiring the
private capital be invested directly in the new company.
The Capitalization program was controversial: it was perceived as a
privatization of five major state-owned companies that ceded
management of these industries to foreign interests. Supporters
believed that the requirement for private capital to be directly
invested in the new joint ventures significantly reduced room for
corruption. The program was intended to provide for development of
these "strategic" resources,as the Bolivian government could not
afford to do so. The revenues of the new companies were expected to
yield funds for human and social, as well as infrastructure
development. The dividend payouts for the
Bolivian people were the
foundation of a universal, annual old-age benefit, the BONOSOL.
Although small on a per capita basis, it was expected to benefit
primarily the rural elderly, the most marginalized sector of Bolivia's
Finally, the reforms also included changes to the country's electoral
laws. A new electoral system was introduced. The change opened
elections for 70 congressional seats to independent candidates who
were elected by plurality, with the remaining 60 seats to be filled
proportionally by members of parties reflecting the votes cast for the
presidential tickets. If no presidential candidate won an absolute
majority, the president would be elected in a run-off of the top two
contenders. The presidential term of office was set at five years.
Second presidency: 2002–2003
In 2002, Sánchez de Lozada again ran for president. He chose Carlos
Mesa as his running mate, an independent historian and journalist who
had MNR sympathies. Sánchez de Lozada hired U.S. political
consultants James Carville,
Stan Greenberg and
Bob Shrum to advise his
After running a sophisticated campaign, de Lozada seemed positioned to
win a strong enough plurality to form a strong government. However,
three days before the elections, the US ambassador publicly warned the
Bolivian people against electing "those who want
Bolivia to again be
an exporter of cocaine," as it would threaten US aid to Bolivia.
The people reacted in resentment, swelling the anti-US vote for Evo
Morales in the last three days of the campaign by 9 percent and
helping him finish second after de Lozada.
Evo Morales of the Movement
Toward Socialism (MAS) received 20.94% of the popular vote. The
center-right neo-populist candidate, Manfred Reyes of NFR placed a
close third with 20.91% of the popular vote. After a difficult
coalition-building process, Sánchez de Lozada was elected in a
coalition formed by the MNR-MBL, MIR and UCS, the last two former
members of the preceding coalition headed by the rightist, former
dictator General Hugo Banzer.
When Sánchez de Lozada took office, he was faced with an economic and
social crisis inherited from the preceding administration. Economic
growth had plunged from the 4.8% at the end of Sánchez de Lozada's
first presidency to 0.6% in 1999 and had recovered to only 2% for
2002. The fiscal deficit was running at 8%.
Gas War and resignation
Main article: Bolivian gas conflict
From his inauguration in August 2002 until the end of the year, there
were fewer public tensions. In January 2003 and under the leadership
of Evo Morales, a group of union leaders (
Evo Morales for the
"cocaleros" — coca growers,
Jaime Solares and Roberto de la Cruz for
urban workers and miners,
Felipe Quispe for the indigenous farmers in
the Aymara region surrounding La Paz) joined together to found the
"People's High Command" (Estado Mayor del pueblo). A new wave of
heightened protests began; main roads were blocked, and towns and
cities were brought to a standstill. Some groups aired long-standing
grievances against the government; others were targeted entirely
locally, protesting against decisions of the now self-governing
municipalities. In February, a standoff between police demanding
higher pay and army units called to protect the presidential palace
suddenly ended in violence and deaths in the streets of La Paz,
without articulated demands.
The acute economic crisis affected above all the urban workers and the
farming/indigenous populations; their struggles gave widespread
support for protests. Protests and demands became more focused: the
cocaleros continued protesting against eradication of a milenary plant
(coca) used to produce cocaine, although Banzer’s "Coca 0" policy
had been replaced by the earlier subsidized crop substitution policy,
in order to achieve gradual coca reduction but not total eradication.
The indigenous farmers of the
La Paz Aymara region pressed for
political reform, to include recognition and inclusion of Bolivia's
indigenous ethnic groups as legitimate political blocs. They wanted
economic de-centralization based on recognition of indigenous groups
as legitimate political actors. Other demands included autonomy for
their territories. By contrast, urban workers, primarily in La Paz,
and miners protested against the possible proceeds of increasing
natural gas production going to foreigners.
Demands rose for the government to return to the corporatist state and
nationalize Bolivia's hydrocarbon resources. Protesters demanded
Sánchez de Lozada's resignation. In late September, a convoy of buses
and trucks under a police escort was bringing back to
La Paz over 700
persons, including foreign tourists, after a 10-day blockade of a
valley resort town. In Warisata, confrontations between protesters
blocking the road and the army led to six dead, among them two
soldiers and a child aged 8, shot in her own house.
A few days later, in early October, The Pacific LNG, British Petroleum
and Repsol YPF had forecast an investment of three billion dollars in
Chilean territory, the sale price of the gas was less than the dollar
per thousand BTU and the approximate profits were one billion dollars
of the which the Bolivian state only received 18% that is 180 million
dollars per year.
The plans were to export gas through Chile, and sell gas at low cost
to California and Mexico, before an absolute certainty Gonzalo
Sánchez de Lozada ratifies his decision publicly when the national
chain says "the State is me" and did not intend to yield to the claims
of the opposition., notwithstanding strong public opposition. Rancor
continues to be high against Chile since
Bolivia lost its coastal
territory to them in the late 19th century War of the Pacific.
Protesters blockaded the main highway from the city of El Alto,
Bolivia down to neighboring La Paz. A massive demonstration and
virtual siege of
La Paz ensued.
After three days, fuel and other essential supplies were dangerously
low in La Paz. On 11 October, President Sánchez de Lozada promulgated
Supreme Decree 27209, ordering the militarization of the gas plants
and the transport of hydrocarbons. This decree was intended to protect
private and public property, noting in the third article: "whatever
harm to property or persons that might be produced as an effect of
fulfilling the objective of this supreme decree shall be compensated
and guaranteed by the State". As a result, fully armed military
troops were sent as a security force to open the way for diesel and
gasoline cisterns to be transported through densely populated poor
neighborhoods into La Paz.
Protesters tried to block the convoys at several points along their
route. Alteño residents reported that government troops started
shooting indiscriminately, killing a five-year-old child and a
pregnant mother. Sanchez de Lozada and some government ministers
attributed the violence to an armed 'coup', but
Evo Morales and some
civil groups described it as a 'massacre' by government forces.
Vice-President Mesa publicly broke with Sanchez de Lozada,
saying.,"Neither as a citizen nor as a man of principles can I accept
that, faced with popular pressure, the response should be death." The
Minister for Economic Development also resigned. 20,000 Bolivians
began to march on La Paz, demanding the President’s resignation. Evo
Morales' supporters from
Cochabamba tried to march into Santa Cruz,
the largest city of the eastern lowlands where support still remained
for the president. They were turned back. While blaming the violence
on 'narco-sindicalists', Sanchez de Lozada proposed a National
Dialogue. He promised to put export plans to a national referendum,
but demands for his resignation continued to rise. According to
official figures, a total of 65 civilian deaths resulted from the Gas
War, with around 400 persons wounded.
Faced with rising anger at the deaths, and with coalition partner
Manfred Reyes Villa withdrawing political support, Sánchez de Lozada
offered his resignation on 17 October in a letter to be read at an
emergency session of Congress. He left on a commercially scheduled
flight for the United States.
Trial of responsibility
In 2004, after a concerted campaign by the families of the victims,
the government and human rights groups, who gathered over 700,000
signatures on petitions, 2/3 of Bolivia’s Congress voted to
authorize a "Trial of Responsibility" of the exiled president. It was
intended to determine whether Sánchez de Lozada and his cabinet
ministers should be held legally responsible for the violence of the
Gas War. Supporters included many from the president's party,
reflecting a broad consensus for an impartial investigation. to
understand the responsibilities for the violence and deaths.
The Attorney General’s office took testimony from twelve ministers,
and carried out detailed preliminary investigations. Their work
included forensic studies, crime scene investigations, and eyewitness
testimony. Evo Morales, one of the key protest leaders, voluntarily
offered evidence. In August 2011 the Bolivian Supreme Court sentenced
five members of the military and two politicians to between three and
fifteen years in prison for their role in the events of September and
Attempts at extradition
On 11 November 2008,
Bolivia formally served the US government with a
request to extradite Sánchez de Lozada to Bolivia. The request was
rejected by the US State Department in 2012, based on the argument
that Sanchez de Lozada's actions are not a crime in the USA, and that
no dual criminality condition existed. It said that no US president
could be charged for crimes done by military and police forces.
Civil trial in the United States
On 10 November 2009, the U.S. District Court in the Southern District
of Florida ruled that the claims for charges of crimes against
humanity against de Lozada had no case. The court ruled that charges
of extrajudicial killings could be pursued in order to allow two
related U.S. cases to progress against former president Gonzalo Daniel
Sánchez de Lozada de Bustamante and former Bolivian Defense Minister
Jose Carlos Sánchez Berzaín.
Eight families of Bolivians killed during the 2003 protests are
plaintiffs in the case. They include Etelvina Ramos Mamani and Eloy
Ramos Mamani, the parents of eight-year-old Marlene, who was killed by
a gunshot through her window during the military action on Warisata on
September 25, 2003.
The plaintiffs in the cases, Mamani, et al. v. Sánchez de Lozada, and
Mamani, et al. v. Sánchez Berzaín, seek compensatory and punitive
damages under the
Alien Tort Statute (ATS). On 20 May 2014, Judge
James Cohn ordered that Plaintiffs’ claims under the Torture Victim
Protection Act (TVPA) could proceed because they sufficiently alleged
facts that "plausibly suggest that these killings were deliberate,"
and because they adequately alleged that Defendants were responsible
for the killings. The case was stayed on 19 August 2014 pending
defendants' appeal of the district court's decision.
Appellants-defendants filed their brief to the Eleventh Circuit Court
of Appeals on 14 January 2015. Plaintiffs-appellees filed their brief
on 6 March 2015. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued their
decision on 17 June 2016. On April 17, 2017, the US Supreme Court
denied certiorari for the plaintiff's appeal, clearing the way for the
case to be tried.
The jury trial for the combined cases against Sánchez de Lozada and
Sánchez Berzaín began on March 5, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale,
Florida. They were both found liable for the civilian deaths by
the jury on April 3, 2018. The plaintiffs were awarded $10 million
dollars in damages. 
Sánchez de Lozada is a member of Club de Madrid.
Sánchez de Lozada reforms.
Our Brand Is Crisis (2005), a documentary about Sánchez de Lozada's
second presidential campaign and influence of American political
Our Brand Is Crisis (2015), a dramatized version of 2005 documentary
List of presidents of Bolivia
History of Bolivia
Politics of Bolivia
^ a b Carlos Quiroga, Reuters (7 September 2012),
Washington won't extradite former leader, Chicago Tribune
^ Deardorff, Julie (16 June 1994). "Bolivian President More
Comfortable Playing Soccer Than Watching". Chicago Tribune.
^ Stan Greenberg, Dispatches from the War Room: In The Trenches With
Five Extraordinary Leaders (2009) ISBN 0-312-35152-6
^ "Polémica en
Bolivia con el embajador de EE.UU". Clarin.com. 28
June 2002. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
^ Garcia Linera, "State Crisis and Popular Power", New Left Review,
no.37, Jan/Feb 2006.
^ Como Cayó Goni (in Spanish)
^ "Bolivia: Decreto Supremo Nº 27209, 11 de octubre de 2003".
Lexivox.org. 17 October 2003. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
^ Stella Calloni (15 October 2003). "La Paz, tomada por el ejército;
se agrava la escasez de alimentos". Jornada.unam.mx. La Jornada.
Retrieved 8 June 2017.
^ Ovalle, David (2018-03-06). "Landmark case in Florida pits Bolivia's
ex-leader against villagers attacked by his army". Miami Herald.
^ "Mamani, et al. v. Sánchez de Lozada / Mamani, et al. v. Sánchez
Berzaín Center for Constitutional Rights". Ccrjustice.org. 8
February 2008. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
^ "ELOY ROYAS MAMANI, ETELVINA RAMOS MAMANI, SONIA ESPEJO VILLALOBOS,
HERNAN APAZA CUTIPA, JUAN PATRICIO QUISPE MAMANI, et al., versus JOSE
CARLOS SANCHEZ BERZAIN, GONZALO SANCHEZ DE LOZADA" (PDF). Appeals from
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
16 June 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
^ "Sanchez de Lozada v. Mamani - SCOTUSblog". SCOTUSblog. Retrieved
^ Associated Press. "Former Bolivian President Faces US Trial for 2003
Killings". VOA. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
^ "BREAKING: Fla. Jury Blames Ex-Bolivian Prez For Civilian Deaths -
Law360". www.law360.com. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 October 2007.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 December 2010.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada.
"Biography of Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada", Presidency of the Republic
Bolivia official website
Social and Economis Reforms of Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, personal
Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy, PBS-WGBH
Interview with President Sancha de Lozada, from Commanding Heights,
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada at the Barcelona Centre for International
Affairs (CIDOB) (in Spanish)
October 2003: A complete analysis 
"Black October Memorial: A decade of impunity", Democracy Center
"A case for extradition: Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada and Carlos Sanchez
Berzain", Council of Hemispheric Affairs
"Gallery of portraits and biographies of presidents of Bolivia",
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