Speaker

Carlos Mesa

Former President of Bolivia and historian


Carlos Mesa is a historian, politician, and journalist. Born in La Paz in 1953, he served as President of Bolivia from 2003 to 2005 and was also Vice President and President of the National Congress from 2002 to 2003.

For more than a quarter century, Carlos was a prominent journalist and thought leader active in Bolivia's press, radio, and television. After running several local media outlets, he created a production company and television network called Journalists Associated Television (PAT) in 1990, which he directed. He ventured into politics in 2002 and became a decisive contributor to various changes that transformed his country. During his tenure, he reformed the Constitution, convened a Constituent Assembly, promoted regional autonomies and called for direct election of departmental governors, held a referendum that changed the country's hydrocarbons policy, and reorganized the state oil company, as well as substantially increased tax levies on the international operators of this sector. He overcame a sharp economic recession and doubled exports. He was also a great supporter of human rights and implemented the recognition of the sacred value of life as a state policy.

In 2014, Carlos was entrusted with the responsibility of being the Official Representative of Bolivia in the maritime proceedings that seek to restore the country's access to the Pacific Ocean.

Carlos has a degree in Literature from the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in La Paz, with studies at the Complutense University of Madrid. He has authored numerous books and hundreds of television documentaries. His published works include Presidents of Bolivia: Between Ballot Boxes and Rifles (1983); The Adventure of Bolivian Cinema (1985); History of Bolivia (1997); Besieged Presidency: Memories of my Government (2008); The Mermaid and the Charango, Essay on Mestizaje (2013); Brief History of Public Policies in Bolivia (2014); The History of the Bolivian Sea (2016); and the novel Soliloquy of the Conqueror (2014). For television, he created a series of 24 documentaries entitled Bolivia Century XX (2009).

He is also a member of the Bolivian Academy of History and the Bolivian History Society and a professor at the Bolivian Catholic University. He has won the King of Spain International Journalism Award and the National Journalism Award of Bolivia.