Manfred Reyes Villa
|Manfred Reyes Villa|
April 19, 1955 |
La Paz, Bolivia
|Occupation||Military, Businessman, Politician|
Manfred Reyes Villa (born April 20, 1954) is a Bolivian politician, who was mayor of Cochabamba four times in a row, elected the first Cochabamba's Governor in 2005 and ran for the presidency in 2002 and 2009 against Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada and Evo Morales Ayma. He founded and led the Nueva Fuerza Republicana (New Republican Force) political party. He was elected the first Governor of Cochabamba, Bolivia; he served from 2006 until 2008, when he was unconstitutionally revoked by Evo Morales through a series of violent riots. When Reyes-Villas' supporters came out in his support, Hugo Chávez quickly got involved, seeing Morales could possibly be overthrown.
Manfred Reyes Villa is the son of General Armando Reyes Villa. Manfred Reyes Villa studied in the Israelite high school (Colegio Israelita) of his native city, and in 1973 entered the Military College of the Army. He achieved the rank of Captain. In that same year, he had his first official appointment in the Military Police Battalion of the city of La Paz. During his military career, he occupied important posts such as Docent in matters of military specialization, and was trained in the School of the Americas in Panama. Military Adjunct to the Embassies of Bolivia in Brazil and the United States, and Secretary General of the Association of Military Adjuncts of South America in Washington, DC.
Later, he shed his uniform and found great financial success at selling real estate under the business name of MAREVI (an acronym made up of his name's initials). He then ran a night club, "Hollywood", in partnership with successful Bolivian-Hawaiian nightclub impresario Joe Camacho, who owned a lucrative nightclub in Hawaii, "The Pink Cadillac". Reyes-Villa, along with his friend Edwin Saavedra, brought the Toyota Franchise to Bolivia. After selling out his interest in the nightclub and car sales, Manfred continued to succeed financially shortly after he began selling commercial real-estate in the USA. He later returned to Bolivia to begin his political career
In 1993 Reyes Villa was elected to his first of four terms as Mayor. Reyes Villa became a popular figure in Bolivia as a result of the positive changes he made to Cochabamba as mayor. Having lived in the United States, he brought new ideas to the country, making huge advances for Bolivia with his emphasis on creating and restoring roadways, bridges, and city parks and gardens.
In 2000 Reyes Villa played a role in the Bolivian Water Wars of 2000.
In 2002 Reyes Villa led the polls (with circa 41%) during the initial months of the presidential race, but lost votes and ended up in third place. Lozada was eventually elected, but later required Reyes-Villa's and Jaime Paz Zamora and other minor political leaders support forming an alliance in order to have enough votes in the congress.
After the resignation of Lozada's successor Carlos Mesa, Reyes-Villa looked poised to run for president in the December 4, 2005 elections. Leaving the post to center-right former President Jorge Quiroga, Reyes Villa ran for Governor of the Cochabamba Department, winning the election and becoming the first elected governor in Bolivia's history.
A large uprising occurred in Cochabamba early 2007, with thousands of supporters of the President Evo Morales in Cochabamba demanding Villa's resignation. The clashes were triggered when the occupants of the city came out in support of Reyes-Villa.
Villa allied with conservative opposition on issues surrounding the reform and rewriting of the Bolivian constitution and called for greater autonomy from the central government.
He ran for presidential election on 6 December 2009, coming in second with 27% of the vote.
After the presidential election of 2009 Reyes, a presidential order to pursue Villa and put him in prison without a judgement forced Villa to leave Bolivia. He asked for political asylum in the United States, and he lives near Washington, DC where there is the largest Bolivian community of political refugees and asylum-seekers in the US.
- Dan Keane (January 8, 2007). "Bolivians Set Fire To State Capitol". The Associated Pres. Accessed January 31, 2007