Presidents of South America
Biography of Jose Miguel Carrera
José Miguel Carrera Verdugo (1785-1821) was a Chilean general and dictator who fought for the patriot side in Chile’s War for Independence from Spain (1810-1826). Together with his two brothers, Luís and Juan José, José Miguel fought the Spanish up and down Chile for years and served as head of government when breaks in the chaos and fighting allowed.
Bernardo O’Higgins (1778-1842) was a Chilean landowner and one of the leaders of its struggle for Independence. Although he had no formal military training, O’Higgins took charge of the ragged rebel army and fought the Spanish from 1810 to 1818 when Chile finally achieved its Independence. Today, he is revered as the liberator of Chile and the father of the nation
Biography of Simon Bolivar
Venezuelan Simon Bolivar was the most important leader of South America's Independence movement, which lasted from 1806 to 1825. A brilliant general and visionary politician, he led the liberation of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. His dream of a strong, united Latin America is still unfulfilled.
Francisco de Miranda, Precursor of Latin American Independence
Francisco de Miranda (1750-1816) was a Venezuelan patriot, adventurer and general who made important contributions early in Latin America's struggle for independence from Spain.
Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's Firebrand Dictator
Venezuela's firebrand dictator is known for making waves. After leaping onto the public stage with a failed 1992 coup attempt, Chavez became president legally in 1998 and has not looked back. Loved by the poorest Venezuelans, Chavez has made many enemies over the years, many of them in the United States government.
Biography of Fernando Lugo Méndez
Fernando Lugo Méndez is a former Catholic Bishop and the current President of Paraguay. A leftist reformer, he ran on change and was elected in a landslide in 2008, becoming the first president since 1946 to come from a party other than the Colorado Party.
Biography of Juan José Torres
Juan José Torres was a Bolivian general and President of his country for a brief time in 1970-1971. Deposed by Colonel Hugo Banzer, Torres went to live in exile in Buenos Aires. While in exile, Torres attempted to subvert the Bolivian military government. He was assassinated in June of 1976, and many believe Banzer gave the order.
Biography of José Manuel Balmaceda
José Manuel Balmaceda was President of Chile from 1886 to 1891. A liberal, he wanted to use his country's newfound wealth to expand education, transportation and the military. His constant fighting with Congress eventually led to a disastrous civil war, which he lost.
Biography of Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet (1915-2006) was a general in the Chilean military who also served as president and dictator for almost twenty years.
Biography of Alberto Fujimori
Alberto Fujimori, President of Peru from 1990-2000, is something of an enigma. Is he the one who controlled Peru's runaway economy, ending inflation and providing economic security for millions? Or is he the one who oversaw unheard-of levels of corruption that saw $600 million in skimmed funds over ten years? The answers are not easy to find.
Biography of Ollanta Humala Tasso
Ollanta Humala is a Peruvian army officer and politician. He was elected to the Presidency of Peru in June of 2011.
Biography of Juscelino Kubitschek
Juscelino Kubitschek was President of Brazil from 1956 to 1961. His administration was marked by great prosperity and the construction of Brasilia, the national capital.