Enrique Hertzog

Enrique Hertzog
49th President of Bolivia
In office
10 March 1947  22 October 1949
Vice President Mamerto Urriolagoitía
Preceded by Tomás Monje
Succeeded by Mamerto Urriolagoitía
Personal details
Born Enrique Hertzog Garaizabal
10 December 1897
La Paz, Bolivia
Died 18 December 1981 (age 83)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Nationality Bolivian
Political party Republican Socialist Unity Party
Profession Politician

José Enrique Hertzog Garaizábal (La Paz, December 10, 1897 Buenos Aires, December 18, 1981) was a Bolivian politician who was elected President of his country in 1947. He resigned in 1949.


A medical doctor by trade, Hertzog joined the Genuine Republican Party of Daniel Salamanca in the 1920s, and rose to become Minister of Public Information and Communications as well as Minister of War during the 1932-35 Chaco war against Paraguay, which Bolivia lost.

President of Bolivia

In 1947 elections he ran for President on a ticket of united Republican Party (Bolivia) factions (former Saavedrists, Genuines, etc.) calling themselves Republican Socialist Unity Party Partido de la Unión Republicana Socialista (PURS). He won against the Liberal leader Fernando Guachalla and the reformist candidate Víctor Paz Estenssoro, who led the Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario (Nationalist Revolutionary Movement).

Hertzog faced innumerable obstacles during his term, mostly in the form of constant rebellion from the lower sectors of society, as represented by striking miners and union workers. He was also saddled with the implacable opposition of Paz's MNR party and its allies, in addition to a declining economy. In essence, the attempt of the privileged sectors (led by Hertzog himself) to "turn back the clock" to the oligarchic pre-Chaco War status quo did not work. Rising expectations and demands from an increasingly activist and indeed, violent, popular class, combined with the unwillingness or inability of the governing elites to give concession that would undermine their power, led the country to the very brink of civil war. On September 18, 1947 he declared the state of siege.

Escalating repressive measures, such as arrest and deportation of many MNR leaders, only bred further discontent. When the legislative elections of 1949 confirmed the dramatic ascendancy of the parties of the Left, the PURS leadership lost trust in the relatively more conciliatory Hertzog's ability to control the situation. They forced his resignation for reasons of non-existing illness in favor of his far more combative Vice-President Mamerto Urriolagoitía.

Later life

A few months later Hertzog was named Bolivia's Ambassador to Spain. Following the 1952 Bolivian National Revolution that brought Paz Estenssoro's MNR party to power, the ex-President remained exiled in the Spanish capital, later moving to Buenos Aires where he died.

He ran for President in 1966 on behalf of remnants of the pre-Revolution parties which had formed Democratic Institutionalist Alliance against René Barrientos, but only got a small share of the vote.


Political offices
Preceded by
Tomás Monje
President of Bolivia
Succeeded by
Mamerto Urriolagoitía
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