Quiroga Santa Cruz, Marcelo (1931–1980)

views updated

Quiroga Santa Cruz, Marcelo (1931–1980)

Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz (b. 13 March 1931; d. 17 July 1980), founder and leader of the Socialist Party-One (PSU). Born in Cochabamba, Quiroga Santa Cruz was the intellectual leader of the Bolivian Left from 1970 until his death. In the 1960s he switched from the right-wing Bolivian Socialist Falange (FSB) to the socialist cause, becoming leader of the PSU in 1971. As minister of hydrocarbons, he effected the nationalization in 1970 of the Bolivian holdings of Gulf Oil Company. In 1979, Quiroga Santa Cruz began a congressional inquiry into the responsibility for human rights abuses during the General Hugo Banzer regime (1971–1978). He was assassinated in 1980 on the first day of the infamous "cocaine coup," in which General Luis García Meza (1980–1981) took power.

The most effective public speaker of his generation, Quiroga Santa Cruz was unable to translate his personal popularity into a popular political base. Nevertheless, he served as an important political gadfly and the conscience of the Bolivian Left during his lifetime.

See alsoBolivia: Bolivia Since 1825; Drugs and Drug Trade.


There is no biography of Quiroga Santa Cruz. The best political narrative of the period in which Quiroga Santa Cruz was active is contained in James Dunkerley, Rebellion in the Veins: Political Struggle in Bolivia: 1952–1982 (1984).

Additional Bibliography

Cortez Romero, Enrique. Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz: pensamiento político: Estado dependiente, FF.AA. y golpe militar en Bolivia. Santa Cruz de la Sierra: Universidad Autónoma "Gabriel René Moreno," 1992.

Lavaud, Jean-Pierre. El embrollo boliviano: Turbulencias sociales y desplazamientos políticos, 1952–1982. Lima: Hisbol, 1998.

                                       Erick D. Langer