Bolivia is a beautiful South American country that is located around the central area of the Andes and is home to the Rio Grande. As beautiful as the country is though, it has seen its fair share of strife, war and internal conflict. Even so, Bolivia has birthed many bright, talented Sons and Daughters.
1. Evo Morales
One of the first Bolivian Presidents to come from the country’s indigenous population, Evo, as he is known, has based his political action on social-centric policies. He has concentrated on reducing poverty and the influence of multinational corporations within Bolivia. Interestingly, he combated the U.S.’s attempts at eradicating the coca plant, which has been part of indigenous culture for millennia. The indigenous Andean population cultivates the plant for income, use in religious rites, and for chewing as a remedy to altitude sickness. Morales brought economic prosperity to Bolivia since his election in 2005.
2. Gabriela Flores
In 2008, Gabriela Flores created Kirah Design a company that specializes in eco-friendly, contemporary designs by local artisans. A massive 700 artisans, to be exact. Upon its inception, Flores wanted to create jobs while also exhibiting and sharing the beauty of her native Bolivia with the rest of the world. She is the recipient of the Agora Accelerator class of 2013, the 2013 McNulty Fellow, and the 2013 Cartier Women’s Initiative Award.
3. Miguel Krigsner
Krigsner’s story is a little different than most entrepreneurs’. He was born to Jewish immigrants that fled to Bolivia due to the Nazi Regime. In 1963, he immigrated to Brazil and at age 27 opened his first pharmacy. Only nine years later, he founded O Boticário that today is Brazil’s second largest cosmetics company. He also founded Fundação Grupo Boticário de Proteção à Natureza, one of Brazil’s top environmental foundations, which receives 1% of O Boticário’s gross income to invest in social-environmental initiatives. Mr. Krigsner is #626 on Forbes Billionaire list, which is nothing to be scoffed at. Krigsner’s net worth is 2.8 billion dollars.
4. Marcelo Claure
Current CEO of telecommunications giant Sprint, he is also the founder of BrightStar Corp., a wireless telecommunications company. His company BrightStar Corp. initially started to serve Latin American countries but later expanded to Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. It currently operates in 50 different countries and six continents. It’s noteworthy to mention that BrightStar Corp. was listed in Forbes as one of largest privately owned companies in the U.S. In October of 2013, Japanese company SoftBank paid Claure 1.26 billion dollars for a 57% stake in BrightStar (estimating the company overall at 2.2 billion dollars).
5. Maria Otero
Maria Otero was the first holder of the office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. Otero’s office generally deals with U.S. foreign policy in regards to human rights and justice. Maria Otero immigrated to the United States when she was already 12 year olds. She received her undergraduate education from the University of Maryland and a master’s from the prestigious John Hopkins University. According to Newsweek, she is considered one of the 20 most influential women in the United States. She currently is the highest ranking person of Hispanic heritage in the state department and the first Latina appointed as Under Secretary.
Is there a noteworthy person from Bolivia that I missed? Then let me know in the comment section below.