Carmelo Flores Laura

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Carmelo Flores Laura was an unverified supercentenarian from Bolivia. Neither Guinness World Records nor any other international agency had verified his claim. According to the Gerontology Research Group Flores actually may have been 107 years old when he died. Flores himself stated he was probably 100 years or older.

Carmelo Flores Laura was born on July 16, 1890 (or 1906), in Bolivia, and died June 9, 2014.[1]

Life[edit]

Carmelo Flores Laura was born in the highland of Bolivia, where he grew up as a "calm" and "not mischievous" child.[2] As a young man he moved to Frasquia, a rural area of Bolivia near Lake Titicaca. He worked for the rancher who owned the land until 1952. At that time, the government seized the land and redistributed it to peasants such as Flores. He has lived there ever since, never traveling farther than La Paz, 80 kilometres (50 mi) from his home.[3]

Flores had five children, one of whom (Cecilio, aged 65) is alive as of 2013. He had 16 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren. He had a "very happy" marriage with his wife reportedly living past the age of 100 before her death.[2]

Flores spoke Aymara and was illiterate. In his later years, Flores had poor vision and hearing, but did not require assistance to walk.[3] Flores credited drinking the water from the Illampu Glacier as the secret to his and his wife's longevity.[2] Additionally, he regularly walked and had a diet of natural foods, especially barley, are claimed to have increased his life span. He specifically credited quinoa, river mushrooms, and coca leaves.[3][4] He has eaten a lot of mutton, has chewed coca leaves for a large part of his life, and has not consumed alcohol since his youth.[3]

The Bolivian government is planning to officially honor Flores as "a living heritage" of the Bolivian people.[2]

Age[edit]

In August 2013, Flores' family provided his baptism certificate to the Civil Registry Service of La Paz so that he could receive government aid for the elderly.[3][5] Birth certificates did not exist in Bolivia until 1940. Instead, births were documented by baptism records, authenticated by two witnesses. Civil registrar director Eugenio Condori said he has the baptism record but could not show it to reporters due to privacy laws.[3] A police ID card and entry in the civil registry stating Flores was born on July 16, 1890, were shown to reporters.[6][7] If proven, that would make him 123 years old as of July 2013. The longest fully documented lifespan in history is 122 years and 164 days, achieved by France's Jeanne Calment.[3]

A spokesperson for Guinness World Records said they were unaware of any longevity claim filed on Flores' behalf. His grandson said the family was not familiar with the organization.[3] The TV station that broke the story of Flores' claimed age, Red Uno, said it would organize efforts to have his age officially verified.[5] Bolivia's General Service of Personal Identification said it would verify Flores' age through official birth records.[6] Flores himself only said "I should be about 100 years old or more," when asked about his age.[3]

About a week after Flores' claim first became known, the Gerontology Research Group said there were several problems with his claim. The group's director, Stephen Coles, said the documents produced by his family were not originals, but rather copies. He noted that of 90% of verified supercentenarians are women and said his organization had uncovered a baptismal certificate that indicated Flores was actually 107 rather than his claimed age of 123.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]