September 05, 2005

Presidential Candidates' Profiles: Part II

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This is the second of two posts about the candidates.

Hormando Vaca Diez

Born in Santa Cruz, April 30, 1949. The youngest of 13 siblings. Hormando grew up playing trompo (a toy which children make spin by wrapping a thread around) on the streets of his city. He comes from a family of statists. He always dreamed of one day becoming the president of Bolivia. After graduating from the Florida High School, at 18, he started working as a History, Geography and Civic Education teacher. Hormando studied Journalism at the Gabriel Rene Moreno University in Santa Cruz. While working as a journalist, he also led the local journalists' union. He studied law and economics in Argentina. From 1971 until 1977 he lived in exile in Salta, Argentina, Paraguay, and Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is married to Nina Vaca Diez, his second wife, whom he met at a party. They have six children. In 1995, he was operated on his heart (by-pass) in Sao Paulo. He has been a member of parliament since 1989 and in 2004, he was elected president of Congress. He was also interim president several times.

Michiaki Nagatani

Born May 10, 1960 in the San Juan de Yapacaní colony. Is the third son of Japanese immigrants who arrived in Bolivia in the 1940s. He grew up in Santa Cruz and graduated from the Muyurina High School. Politics was his passion, that is why he studied International Relations and Diplomacy in the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, Bogota, Colombia where he graduated in 1987. While in Colombia, he married a Colombian woman and had three children with her. Later they got divorced and Michiaki returned to Bolivia. Once back in Bolivia, he worked as a consultant. Among his achievements are the construction of a Hospital in Cochabamba. In the 2004 municipal elections he founded a political organization called MACA (Movement for Citizens' Action) and he run for Mayor of Santa Cruz. He obtained 3.9% of the vote. Because of his Japanese features, various media outlets called him the Bolivian Fujimori. Nagatani does not like that because he considers himself as Bolivian as a potato.

Alvaro Garcia Linera

Alvaro was born October 19, 1962 in Cochabamba. The last of four children in his family. He grew up part in La Paz, where he visited the Don Bosco school, American School and Domingo Savio school, and part in Cochabamba, where he graduated from San Agustin School. When he was 17, he went to study Mathematics in Mexico. Alvaro thought he was a somewhat boring kid. At 15 years of age he had read Marx's the Capital. He is a self described autodidact, which, he says, helped him get where he is and achieve his highest honor, the 2004 Agustín Cueva del Ecuador distinction in Sociology. He remembers his teenage years as a Soccer player (defense) and a basketball player (while in Mexico). He confesses he never thought of launching a candidacy because he thought of himself as timid. Alvaro has been a former member and intelectual of the EGTK (Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army). He was convicted and throwh in jail from 1992 to 1997 for his participation in the EGTK. It was in jail where he studied Sociology. The EGTK, which came to life some time in 1988 following the steps of El Mallku's original terrorist group "Ayllus Rojos", was a terrorist group.

Note: The short bios in La Razon were just that, short bios. Some of the facts are disputable because I found discrepancies in other sites. However, I translated all I thought could be accurately and some vague facts which give just a sense of the lives of the candidates.

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