Bolivian president honored
Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2002
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07
The first Aggie head of state, Jorge Quiroga Ramirez, Class of 1981, returned to Aggieland for the first time since becoming president of Bolivia last year.
Quiroga visited campus Tuesday to receive the Texas A&M Outstanding International Alumnus Award and sign agricultural agreements with the University.
Quiroga said the George Bush School of Government and Public Service is the most notable addition to the University since his graduation.
"The (Bush) School has a lot to it, and I think Bush Sr. was the best president and I'm glad he picked this University for his library. We have room for another, two is enough, we are not greedy," Quiroga said, referring to the University's efforts to get President George W. Bush's Presidential library.
Quiroga said South America has made headway despite the poor economy in the last two years. He said his country's relations with Texas A&M have helped.
"Bolivia has a good judiciary system, a solid democracy, an abundance of natural gas resources, making it the largest in Latin America," he said. "We have good prospects. As long as we keep Aggies involved, we will do well."
Through the years, Quiroga has maintained ties with Texas A&M through the Bolivian A&M club. He also spoke at the University's commencement in 1998.
Quiroga formally began his presidency last August when President Hugo Banzer resigned because of poor health. However, his presidency will end this year because the Bolivian Constitution prohibits a president from serving two consecutive terms. He will be able to run for office again in 2007. Quiroga said he will be able to spend more time with his family when his term ends.
"My wife likes that," he said. "Also, my kids can finally recognize me again."
Quiroga was elected vice president of Bolivia in 1997. At 37, he was the youngest vice president in Bolivia's history. He has a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from Texas A&M and a master's degree in business administration from St. Edward's University. Quiroga said he wants his children to receive a good education because educated people are not usually stereotyped. Quiroga said many people sterotypically associate his country with cocaine.
"I look forward to my kids getting a chance to get a good education that my parents gave me here at Texas A&M," he said. "They won't be asked stereotypical questions about their country but asked how the country has progressed."
Quiroga has also received the World Leader of Tomorrow Award from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.