Bolivian Socialist Falange

The Bolivian Socialist Falange (Spanish: Falange Socialista Boliviana) is a Bolivian political party established in 1937. Despite its leftist-sounding name, it was a far-right[4] party drawing inspiration from fascism. It was the country's second-largest party between approximately 1954 and 1974. After that, its followers have tended to gravitate toward the government endorsed military candidacy of General Juan Pereda (1978) and, especially, toward the ADN party of former dictator Hugo Banzer. Its current status is unclear.

Bolivian Socialist Falange

Falange Socialista Boliviana
LeaderGustavo Sejas Revollo
FounderÓscar Únzaga de la Vega
Founded1937, in Santiago, Chile
HeadquartersLa Paz, Bolivia
Political positionRight-wing to Far-right
Chamber of Deputies
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Foundation and early development

Founded in Chile by a group of exiles (chief among which was Óscar Únzaga de la Vega), the FSB initially drew its inspiration from Spanish falangism.[3] Indeed, in those early years it came close to espousing a Fascist agenda, in the style of Spain's Francisco Franco and Italy's Benito Mussolini.[6] It was reformist, however, in that it advocated major transformations to the existing (largely oligarchic) social and political order. This brought it more into the sphere of other "revolutionary" movements such as the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement of Víctor Paz Estenssoro, which would come to power after unleashing the 1952 Revolution. In fact, FSB was at first brought into the MNR coalition at the outbreak of that massive revolt, but backed out at the last moment. A rather minor movement during the 1940s, the "Falange" began to attract major support from former landowners and other members of the Bolivian elite after the triumph of the 1952 Revolution, becoming the ruling MNR's main opposition party.[3] FSB's growing popularity coincided, in particular, with a period of high inflation in the country under the Siles Zuazo presidency (1952–56), and included many well-to-do university students.[7] The movement was based on a cell system and so became stronger in some specific areas, notably in La Paz and Santa Cruz, although attempts to win over the peasantry in Cochabamba proved fruitless and damaged the party's growth.[8]

As well as political activity the FSB was also involved in several minor insurrections against the government, culminating in an uprising in April 1959 during which the FSB briefly held part of the capital La Paz. This was suppressed by the army, with fifty dying in the fighting including Unzaga, whose death was officially ruled as suicide.[3]


Ideologically, the party's stance evolved from an adherence to Spanish falangism to a more moderate form of statism. Perhaps inspired by the efforts of the ruling MNR at perpetuating itself in power in the manner of Mexico's PRI party, FSB, too, sought the creation of a strong one-party state, with the Army and the Church held up as the two great pillars of Bolivian society.[8] In the 1950s, the Falange adopted a strong anti-communist stance, with its leaders being particularly critical of Cuba's Fidel Castro following his emergence. Alongside this, however, FSB portrayed itself as being nationalist and anti-imperialist.[8] During the 1950s it also sought to emphasise a strong Roman Catholic identity.[3]

Nazi German war criminal Klaus Barbie settled in La Paz in 1951 and shortly afterwards witnessed a march by FSB members. Barbie claimed that the sight of the uniformed, armband-wearing militants giving the Roman salute made him feel at home and he soon sought out leading members of the party and became close to them.[9]

Electoral performance

The party supported the candidacy of the war hero General Bernardino Bilbao Rioja in the 1951 Presidential elections. Bilbao secured a respectable 11% of the vote, and he would later return as a candidate. In those elections, anti-system parties such as the MNR and FSB had won a combined majority, but the MNR were prevented from taking office by military intervention on behalf of the oligarchy, leading to the 1952 Revolution. With the collapse of Bolivia's traditional parties, the FSB found itself as the leading opposition force in the country. Óscar Únzaga, however, remained the party's undisputed leader, and it was he who led FSB's 1956 presidential ticket. He garnered 15% of the vote in an election that many considered suspect due to massive state support for the government endorsed candidate, Hernán Siles Zuazo. FSB lost momentum after the 1959 assassination of its maximum leader and founder, Óscar Únzaga.[7] FSB was at this point strongly suppressed politically, and new parties began to appeal to similar sections of society. The party's vote share fell to 8% in the 1960 elections partly as a result.[10]

Later development

Following the death of Únzaga, the mainstream of the FSB came under the leadership of Mario Gutiérrez. the party's candidate in the 1960 elections. Following the return of the military to power in the aftermath of the 1964 coup d'état, it was the MNR's turn to be repressed, and FSB's fortunes seemed to be on the rise again.[11] The FSB now sought to ally itself with an emerging Christian democratic tendency and focused its attentions on organising in the Santa Cruz Department.[12] As aprt of the Christian Democratic Community it endorsed General Bernardino Bilbao Rioja's candidacy in the 1966 Presidential election although René Barrientos of the ruling faction won easily.[10] With Congress closed in 1969 the FSB descended into in-fighting, with a leftist FSB-Izquierda (FBSI) splitting off in 1970.[12]

Bolivia did not have another election until the late 1970s. With its leadership back in the hands of Mario Gutiérrez, FSB supported (as did the MNR) the 1971 military coup that brought to power General Hugo Banzer.[13] Indeed, Gutiérrez served Banzer as his Minister of Foreign Relations for many years. At this point FSB shifted its position somewhat, becoming more of a pro-military conservative party. The party was excluded from government in 1974 however when Banzer decided to establish a purely military regime without political parties.[14] The FBSI meanwhile, which has opposed Banzer's coup, was repressed by the new government.[12]

The FSB's ranks were further diluted when various factions split off from it in the aftermath of the Banzer dictatorship and the electoral upheavals of the 1978-80 period. Carlos Valverde Barberry eventually emerged as leader and was presidential candidate in 1980 but results were poor.[12] Factionalism again dogged the movement and much of it was absorbed into the conservative Nationalist Democratic Action (founded by Banzer himself).[12] The rump FSB again came to adopt more left-wing rhetoric as a party of opposition[12] although they were eliminated from Congress at the 1989 election and gained no seats at the 1993 election.[10]

The FSB have returned to politics sporadically since then, and in 2002 Johnny Fernández's failed bid for the Presidency was jointly endorsed by Solidarity Civic Unity and the FSB.[10] In the 2014 Presidential election they endorsed the candidacy of Christian Democratic Party representative Jorge Quiroga.[15]

See also


  • Bernard, Jean-Pierre, "Bolivia", in J-P Bernard, S Cerqueira, H Neira, H Graillot, L F Manigat & P Gilhodès. 1973. Guide to the Political Parties of South America, Penguin Books, 1973
  • Laqueur, Walter. 1976. Fascism: A Reader's Guide, Penguin Books, 1976
  • Linklater, Magnus, Hilton, Isabel & Ascherson, Neal, The Fourth Reich: Klaus Barbie and the Neo-Fascist Connection, Hodder & Stoughton, 1984


  1. ^ Estrada, U (2005) Tania: Undercover with Che Guevara in Bolivia, p322
  2. ^ Malloy, J (1970) Bolivia: The Uncompleted Revolution, p101
  3. ^ a b c d e Phil Gunson, Andrew Thompson & Greg Chamberlain, The Dictionary of Contemporary Politics of South America, London: Routledge, 1990, p. 38
  4. ^ a b John, S (2006) Permanent Revolution on the Altiplano: Bolivian Trotskyism, 1928--2005, p445
  5. ^ McFarren, P & Iglesias, F (2013) The Devil's Agent
  6. ^ Bernard, p. 127.
  7. ^ a b Laqueur, p. 286.
  8. ^ a b c Bernard, p. 128.
  9. ^ Linklater et al., p. 219.
  10. ^ a b c d Nohlen, D (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume II, p133 ISBN 978-0-19-928358-3
  11. ^ Bernard, p. 129
  12. ^ a b c d e f Gunson et al, The Dictionary of Contemporary Politics of South America, p. 39
  13. ^ Linklater et al, p. 248
  14. ^ Linkalter et al, p. 266
  15. ^ "Tuto suma respaldo de partidos y organizaciones". El Día. 2014-08-05. Retrieved 2014-08-05.
1951 Bolivian general election

General elections were held in Bolivia on 6 May 1951. Víctor Paz Estenssoro of the opposition Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (MNR) received the most votes in the presidential election, but as he did not obtain an absolute majority, the National Congress was constitutionally obliged to elect a President on 6 August from the three candidates who received the most public votes. However, on 16 May a military junta assumed responsibility for the Government with Brigadier General Hugo Ballivián as President.

The National Congress was ultimately dissolved by Supreme Decree of 7 June, 1951, which annulled the results of the elections.

1985 Bolivian general election

General elections were held in Bolivia on 14 July 1985. As no candidate for the presidency received over 50% of the vote, the National Congress was required to elect a President on 4 August. Although Hugo Banzer of Nationalist Democratic Action received the most public votes, Congress elected Víctor Paz Estenssoro of the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement.

Bernardino Bilbao Rioja

Bernardino Bilbao Rioja (20 May 1895 in Arampampa – 13 May 1983 in La Paz) was a Bolivian officer who served during the Chaco War (1932–35). He pioneered the use of air forces in combat (the first to be used in this capacity in South America).

Bilbao had already made enemies among his cohorts when he refused to participate in the 1930 coup against President of Bolivia Hernando Siles Reyes. This enmity led him to be vetoed for most major promotions within the military, both during the war and after. One of the reasons for the 1934 military uprising that toppled the Constitutional President Daniel Salamanca Urey was the latter's desire to replace the ineffective current commanders with Generals Lanza and Bilbao Rioja at the head of the army.

After the war, Bilbao's popularity converted him into a potential enemy to the aspirations of the likes of Col. David Toro Ruilova and Gen. Enrique Peñaranda. In particular, it was rumored that Bilbao would present himself in the 1940 elections against Peñaranda, a prospect that obviously troubled Peñaranda's supporters in the "Concordancia" (the agglomeration of most of the oligarchic, old-style parties united behind one candidate). Thus, Bilbao was promptly detained and then flown to exile in Chile. But he eventually returned, and indeed, ran for President in 1951 and 1966, both times representing the right-of-center Bolivian Socialist Falange. In the 1951 election, he placed third while Víctor Paz Estenssoro of the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement came first; the anti-system MNR and FSB won a combined majority of the vote, which was to be followed by the 1952 Revolution.

In 1966, he finished a distant second to René Barrientos. Despite losing both elections, he remained popular and universally respected.

Bilbao Rioja died in La Paz on May 13, 1983, at age 87.

Bolivian Constitution of 1967

The Political Constitution of the Republic of Bolivia, approved on February 2, 1967, and promulgated on February 3, 1967, was the 16th constitution in the country's history. The text was drafted by the Bolivian Constituent Assembly of 1966-67, which met from August 16, 1966 to February 3, 1967. The 102 assembly members included representatives of the Social Democratic Party (Spanish: Partido Social Demócrata; PSD) led by Luis Adolfo Siles Salinas, the Popular Christian Movement (Spanish: Movimiento Popular Cristiano; MPC) and the Bolivian Socialist Falange (Spanish: Falange Socialista Boliviana; FSB). It operated under the shadow of the military dictatorship which took power in 1964.The Constitution of 1967 experienced a series of amendments and reforms in 1994, 1995, 2002, 2004, and 2005. It remained in force until February 7, 2009, when it was replaced by the Bolivian Constitution of 2009.

Christian Democratic Community

The Christian Democratic Community (Spanish: Comunidad Democrática Cristiana, CDC) was an electoral political alliance of the Bolivian Socialist Falange, FSB; the National Association of Democratic Professions, ANPD and the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance, ADR.The Christian Democratic Community was established in 1966, for the 1966 presidential and congressional elections. It presented as its presidential candidate Bernardino Bilbao Rioja (FSB) and Gonzalo Romero Álvarez (FSB), as vice-presidential candidate.

Falange (disambiguation)

Falange is the name of a political party whose ideology is Falangism.

Falange primarily refers to:

Falange Española de las JONS, a Spanish political party active 1933–1937

Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista, formed in 1937 of the merger of the Carlist Party with the Falange Española y de las JONSFalange may also refer to other fascist-type political parties:

Falange Española de las JONS (1976), Spanish political party founded in 1976

La Falange (1999), Spanish political party founded in 1999

Authentic Falange, Spanish political party founded in 2002

Bolivian Socialist Falange, Bolivian party founded in 1937

Lebanese Phalanges Party, another name of the Kataeb Party, a Lebanese party

National Falange, Chilean party founded in 1935 and dissolved in 1957Christian Democratic Party (Chile), founded in 1957, successor of the National Falange

Government of Celso Torrelio Villa, 1981–82

The High Command of the Military of Bolivia entrusted General Celso Torrelio Villa with the Presidency on 4 September 1981, and on 7 September 1981 he formed his cabinet.

mil – military

ind – independent

MNR – Revolutionary Nationalist Movement

FSB – Bolivian Socialist Falange

ADN – Nationalist Democratic Action

PSC – Social Christian Party

Government of Guido Vildoso Calderón, 1982

The High Command of the Military of Bolivia entrusted General Guido Vildoso Calderón with the Presidency on 21 July 1982, and he formed his cabinet.

mil – military

ind – independent

MNR – Revolutionary Nationalist Movement

FSB – Bolivian Socialist Falange

AND – Nationalist Democratic Action

Government of Hugo Banzer Suárez, 1971–78

General Hugo Banzer Suárez had taken the Presidency 21 August 1971, and formed his cabinet.

(*) 03.10.1972 – 14.02.1974 Agriculture

mil – military

ind – independent

FSB – Bolivian Socialist Falange

MNR – Revolutionary Nationalist Movement

FRB – Barrientista Revolutionary Force

Government of Juan Pereda Asbún, 1978

General Juan Pereda Asbún had taken the Presidency 21 July 1978, and on 24 July 1978 formed his cabinet.

MNR – Revolutionary Nationalist Movement

FSB – Bolivian Socialist Falange

PIR – Revolutionary Left Party

UNB – Barrientista National Union

ARB – Barrientista Revolutionary Alliance

BRB – Barrientista Revolutionary Block

mil – military

ind – independent

Government of the Junta of Commanders of the Armed Forces, 1981

The Junta of Commanders of the Armed Forces ruled Bolivia from 4 August 1981 through 4 September 1981. On 11 August 1981 the Junta formed a new cabinet.

mil – military

ind – independent

MNR – Revolutionary Nationalist Movement

FSB – Bolivian Socialist Falange

ADN – Nationalist Democratic Action

Hector Borda Leaño

Héctor Borda Leaño (born 1927, Oruro), is a Bolivian politician, anthropologist and poet. He was born into an intellectual family of landowner gentry from Sucre and joined the Falange Socialista Boliviana (FSB), a radical right wing party, as a teenager in the early 1940s. Eventually he was elected for this party to the national congress 1966-1969. In the early 1970s he broke out from the FSB together with Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz and Walter Vasquez Michel and turned left wing. After the military coup led by Hugo Banzer in 1971 Borda was forced into exile, first to Argentina and again in 1977 to Sweden. He returned to Bolivia in 1982 as elected senator for the newly formed Partido Socialista (PS-1).

Borda Leaño was a member of several avantgarde artistic movements in Bolivia, such as the Second Gésta Bárbara in Oruro and Grupo Anteo in Sucre. During the 1960s Borda Leaño was a founding member of the cultural movement Prisma, which gathered the Bolivian intellectual elite. Its leading members, among them Pedro Shimose, Julio de La Vega and monsignor Juan Quiróz, were closely connected to the newspaper El Diario and were key in extending Bolivian literary influence across its national borders.Borda Leaño is the author of several poemaries and was twice awarded the Franz Tamayo national award for his books La Challa (1965) and Con Rabiosa Alegría (1970). In 2010 he was awarded with the Bolivian national cultural award "Marina Núñez del Prado" by the ministry of culture of the Bolivian plurinational state.

Luis Jorge Mayser Ardaya

Luis Jorge Mayser Ardaya (born July 21, 1928, San Ignacio de Velasco, Santa Cruz) is a Bolivian politician. He is the general secretary of the Bolivian Socialist Falange (FSB). Mayser joined FSB at the age of twelve.Mayser was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1997, from the single-member constituency 58 in Santa Cruz (covering areas in the provinces Velasco, Chiquitos, Angel Sandoval and German Busch) on a Nationalist Democratic Action (ADN) ticket. At the time he was the sole FSB parliamentarian.In 2004 Mayser was awarded the title "hijo ilustre" by the Santa Cruz de la Sierra municipal council, for his role in founding the Comité Pro Santa Cruz.

National Association of Democratic Professions

The National Association of Democratic Professions (Spanish: Asociación Nacional de Profesionales Demócratas, ANPD) was a small temporary organization in Bolivia.

It was founded by Bolivian Socialist Falange in 1966 and took part in a FSB’s electoral coalition Christian Democratic Community.

After the coup d'état on 26 September 1969 the ANPD disappeared.

Nationalist Union of the People

The Nationalist Union of the People (Spanish: Unión Nacionalista del Pueblo, UNP) was a right-wing, pro-military electoral political alliance in Bolivia.

The UNP was formed in January 1978 by:

Bolivian Socialist Falange, FSB (right-wing pro-military faction led by Gastón Moreira Ostria)

Nationalist Revolutionary Movement, MNR (pro-military faction led by Rubén Julio Castro)

Authentic Revolutionary Party, PRA (pro-military faction led by Jorge Ríos Gamarra)

Committee of National Unity, CUN

Popular Christian Movement, MPC

Liberal Party, PL

Barrientista National Union, UNB

Republican Socialist Unity Party, PURS

Social Christian Party, PSC.It presented as its presidential candidate Juan Pereda Asbún (independent) and Alfredo Franco Guachalla (MNR), as vice-presidential candidate.

Popular Alliance for National Integration

The Popular Alliance for National Integration (Spanish: Alianza Popular de Integración Nacional, APIN) was a right-wing electoral political alliance in Bolivia.

The APIN was formed in 1979 by:

Revolutionary Agrarian Movement of the Bolivian Peasantry, MARC

Bolivian Socialist Falange, FSB (faction led by Mario Gutiérrez Gutiérrez)

Christian Democratic Union, UDCIn 1979 presented as its presidential candidate René Bernal Escalante (MARC) and Mario Gutiérrez Gutiérrez (FSB) as vice-presidential candidate.

Revolutionary Nationalist Movement–Julio

The Revolutionary Nationalist Movement–Julio (Spanish: Movimiento Nacionalista Revolu-Julio, MNR-J) was a pro-military political party in Bolivia.

In 1971, the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement supported the far-Right coup triggered by Colonel Hugo Banzer Suárez, and the Party became officially a member of the regime, along with the party's traditional enemy, the Bolivian Socialist Falange. Víctor Paz Estenssoro, meanwhile, had difficulties in maintaining discipline over his own followers. When he and the military differed so sharply over policy in 1973 that he sought to withdraw the MNR representatives from the cabinet, a part of the politicians refused to leave office. This group continued to cooperate with the regime.

They split from the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement and founded the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement–Julio. Led by Rubén Julio Castro.

In 1978 the MNR-J took part in an electoral coalition Nationalist Union of the People backing General Juan Pereda Asbún.

In 1979 elections the MNR-J allied with the Nationalist Democratic Action and its candidate Hugo Banzer Suárez.

In 1980 the part of MNR-J reintegrated with historical Revolutionary Nationalist Movement led by Víctor Paz Estenssoro, the second fraction dissolved into Banzer's Nationalist Democratic Action.

Social Democratic Party (Bolivia)

The Social Democratic Party (Spanish: Partido Social Demócrata, PSD) was a conservative, small and elitist, but influential Bolivian political party formed by middle-class intellectuals.The Social Democratic Party was founded in 1944 by younger, conservative Bolivians committed to modernization and the technological and technocratic strategies they believed necessary to achieve it.Led by Luis Adolfo Siles Salinas (Hernán Siles Zuazo's half-brother), Roberto Arce, Manfredo Kempf Mercado, Gastón Arduz Eguia, Alberto Crespo Gutiérrez, Tomás Guillermo Elio, and Mario Estenssoro, the party embraced developmentalist, nominally Christian-Democratic principles.For the 1947 general elections the Party allied with the Liberal Party and Revolutionary Left Party and backed Liberal Luis Femando Guachalla as the coalition's presidential candidate.For the 1951 general elections the PSD allied with the Republican Socialist Unity Party and backed PURS' presidential candidate Gabriel Gosalvez.During the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement regime (1952–1964), the Social Democratic Party was a minor force, allied electorally with the Bolivian Socialist Falange. It was generally regarded as an ideological relic of the prerevolutionary period, surviving only because its leaders were relatively young.After Víctor Paz Estenssoro's overthrow in 1964, the Social Democratic Party obtained a new lease on life and cooperated with the military regime of General René Barrientos Ortuño. Their influence no doubt was stimulated by the growing prominence of "technocrats" in the military dictatorships of Brazil and Argentina.

For the 1966 general elections PSD allied with the Revolutionary Left Party, Authentic Revolutionary Party and Popular Christian Movement and backed Barrientos as the coalition's presidential candidate. The PSD's leader, Luis Adolfo Siles Salinas was chosen as vice-presidential candidate.The PSD withdrew support Barrientos in 1968, but returned to a pro-government stance, when René Barrientos Ortuño died in a helicopter crash on 27 April 1969 and Siles Salinas became president, serving with conspicuous dedication and honesty for five months until overthrown by General Alfredo Ovando Candía.In succeeding years, the Social Democratic Party became inactive after that, although Luis Adolfo Siles Salinas continued to pursue his presidential ambitions.

Óscar Únzaga

Óscar Únzaga de la Vega (19 April 1916 – 19 April 1959) was a Bolivian political figure and rebel. Most significantly, he founded the Bolivian Socialist Falange (FSB) movement in 1937, and ran for President in the 1956 elections, when his party became the main opposition movement to the Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario (MNR).

In 1959 Únzaga was one of fifty who died during an attempted coup by the FSB, with government forces reporting that he committed suicide. Supporters disputed the official version and stated that Únzaga had been assassinated. He is revered as a hero and martyr by some factions of well-to-do Bolivian political elites.

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