Gueiler Tejada, Lidia (1926–)

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Gueiler Tejada, Lidia (1926–)

Lidia Gueiler Tejada (b. 1926), president of Bolivia (16 November 1979–17 July 1980). Born in Cochabamba, Gueiler, a graduate of the American Institute in La Paz, was trained as an accountant. She served as a deputy in Congress on two separate occasions and as ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, Colombia, and Venezuela. Her La mujer y la revolución (1957) was about the role of women in the 1952 Bolivian national revolution. She joined the Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (MNR) in the 1940s but went on to join the leftist Revolutionary Workers Party (POR) in the 1950s. In November 1979, Gueiler emerged as the compromise candidate between Walter Guevara Arze and General Alberto Natusch Busch, who had ended the former's short-lived interim government on 2 November. On 16 November, she became the first woman ever to be elected president of Bolivia.

Gueiler presided over a particularly difficult time in Bolivian history when relations between the armed forces and civilians were at their lowest level. Her mission was mainly to hold power until a new round of elections on 29 June 1980 could determine the next constitutional president. The elections went off as scheduled, but Gueiler could do little to prevent disgruntled sectors of the armed forces tied to drug traffickers from launching a coup on 17 July 1980 that ended Bolivia's return to democracy. Gueiler spent the next two years in exile. When democracy returned to Bolivia in October 1982, Gueiler was named ambassador to Colombia and later served as ambassador to Venezuela. She published her autobiography, Mi pasíon de lidereza, (My Passion as a Leader) in 2000.

See alsoBolivia, Political Parties: Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (MNR) .


James Dunkerley, Rebellion in the Veins: Political Struggle in Bolivia, 1952–1982 (1984).

Raúl Rivadeneira Prada, El laberinto politico de Bolivia (1984).

Additional Bibliography

Crespo, Alfonso. Lydia: una mujer en la historia. La Paz, Bolivia: Plural Editores, 1999.

Gueiler Tejada, Lidia, and Luis Eduardo Siles. Mi pasión de lidereza. La Paz, Bolivia: Centro de Información y Desarrollo de la Mujer, 2000.

                                   Eduardo A. Gamarra