Carlos Mesa

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Carlos Diego Mesa Gisbert (born August 12, 1953) was the President of Bolivia from October 17, 2003 until his resignation on June 6, 2005. As vice president under the previous president, Gonzalo Snchez de Lozada, Mesa assumed the post when a wave of protests and strikes shut down Bolivia in a bitter dispute known as the Bolivian Gas War, forcing Snchez de Lozada to resign and flee the country.

Template:Infobox President/not-american
Carlos Mesa Gisbert
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Carlos Mesa Gisbert

Term of office: October 17, 2003June 6, 2005
Preceded by: Jorge Quiroga
Succeeded by: Eduardo Rodrguez
Date of birth: August 12 1953
Place of birth: La Paz
First Lady: Elvira Salinas de Mesa
Political party: no party affiliation

Mesa himself, in the short year and a half since assuming office the Bolivian president was under extreme internal and external political pressures over the use of Bolivia's 1.5 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves, estimated in value at USD $1.2 billion.

After a resurgence of Gas protests in 2005, Mesa had attempted to resign in January 2005, but his offer was refused by Congress. On June 6, 2005, after weeks of new street protests from organizations accusing Mesa of bowing to U.S. corporate interests, Mesa again offered his resignation to Congress, which was accepted on June 10. The chief justice of the Supreme Court, Eduardo Rodrguez, was sworn in as interim president to succeed the outgoing Carlos Mesa.

In the late 1990s U.S., British, and Spanish companies formed a coalition corporation, which continues to seek the privatization of the nation's gas reserves. Under the deal in 2003, Bolivia was to receive 18% of total revenues, which many Bolivians strongly protested. Activist peasant groups have demanded that Bolivia's gas reserves provide a basis for a new local, state-owned industry, and more jobs. Among those advocating privatization of Bolivia's natural gas are many in the ethnic Spanish minority, as well as the urban mestizo population, which feel they will fare better from privatization.

Mesa had been vice president since August 6, 2002. As vice president, he was also the head of Congress.

Before entering politics, Mesa was a historian and a journalist in radio, television and newspapers. He is a member of the Bolivian History Academy.

Despite his lack of experience in the political arena, Mesa's star rose quickly in the Snchez de Lozada administration. In September 2003, he was invited to address the UN General Assembly, where he warned:

Democracy is in danger in Bolivia as the result of legitimate pressures from the poor. We cannot generate economic growth and well-being for a few and then expect that the large majorities that are excluded will watch silently and patiently. We poor countries demand that our products be admitted into the markets of rich countries in adequate conditions. [1] (

As the gas conflict escalated, Mesa became increasingly unhappy with the government's heavy-handed suppression of the protests, which left over 80 people dead. He withdrew his support for Snchez de Lozada several days before the latter's resignation, saying: "I cannot continue to support the situation we are living through." Some speculated that Mesa had personal reasons to as it opened the way to his succeeding Snchez de Lozada as president. Mesa thus adopted a "let things pass" attitude that sent him into the most powerful position in the country, but it also but him at the center of extreme political pressures – from both internal Bolivian and external foreign interests – regarding the use of Bolivia's natural gas reserves. Bolivia's next presidential elections were scheduled for 2007, but Mesa was quick to point out that his administration was transitional and that he did not intend to complete Snchez de Lozada's term in office.

Mesa at the OAS in September 2003
Mesa at the OAS in September 2003

Mesa eventually changed his mind and decided to try to see out his term. He also promised to hold a binding referendum on the gas export plan, which he did with uncertain results; the referendum posed what were widely perceived of vague and overly complicated questions. (See: Bolivian gas referendum, 2004.) In March 2004, He announced that his government would hold a series of rallies around the country, and at its embassies abroad, demanding that Chile return to Bolivia a stretch of seacoast that the country lost in 1884 after the end of the War of the Pacific. Chile has refused to negotiate on the issue, but Mesa has made this policy a central point of his administration.

Following protests, he offered his resignation to Congress on March 7, 2005; however, the members of Congress voted almost unanimously the next day to reject his offer. However, domestic tensions between the poor and rural eastern highlands and the wealthier cities and oil-rich south continued to rise. Weeks of escalating street demonstrations and widening disorder reached a peak on June s, as tens of thousands of protesters marched into La Paz. The same day, Mesa again offered his resignation to Congress. The presidents of the two chambers of Congress abdicated their constitutional powers in favor of the chief justice of the Supreme Court and new president of Bolivia, Eduardo Rodrguez. He has the duty to swiftly organize national elections.


  • Cine boliviano, del realizador al crtico (co-author, 1979)
  • El cine boliviano segn Luis Espinal (1982)

External links

See also

Template:Sequencebe:Карляс Мэса de:Carlos Mesa et:Carlos Mesa es:Carlos Mesa fr:Carlos Mesa gl:Carlos Mesa id:Carlos Mesa ja:カルロス・メサ・ヒスベルト pt:Carlos Mesa no:Carlos Mesa sv:Carlos Mesa zh:卡洛斯梅萨 nl:Carlos Mesa


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