Victor Hugo Cárdenas

Former vice president of Bolivia

Victor Hugo Cárdenas is a Bolivian Aymara politician, educator, and activist. He was the vice president of Bolivia from 1993 to 1997. Born into poverty in an Aymara village, Cárdenas was forbidden to speak his native language in school. His father—unable to obtain a state-approved job as a teacher because he was Aymara—changed his son’s family name, Chokewanka, to Cárdenas to avoid discrimination. In 1994, Cárdenas played a significant role in changing the country’s constitution to usher in a more multicultural society in Bolivia. Cárdenas has a Ph.D. in linguistics and is a university professor. Over the years, he led education reform in Bolivia, including bilingual and intercultural education, and worked to eliminate restrictions on indigenous dress. He is the founder of the now defunct Tupac Katari Revolutionary Movement of Liberation political party, and unsuccesfuly ran for president in the 2009 Bolivian elections. More recently, he served as Minister of Education, Sports, and Cultures during the transitional government of Janine Añez in 2020.

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