Enrique Bolaños Biography

(Former President of Nicaragua)

Birthday: May 13, 1928 (Taurus)

Born In: Masaya, Nicaragua

Enrique Bolaños is a former President of Nicaragua, having served his term in the early 2000s. This politician hails from a family that had always pursued business as their main occupation. He has openly criticised former ruler Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista government, and advocated free trade and industry, acting as the mouthpiece of the 'Supreme Council for Private Enterprise' (‘COSEP’). Initially, he served as the Vice-President for Head-of-state Arnoldo Alemán, being associated with the 'Liberal Constitutionalist Party'. Though an underdog owing to his “unimpressive demeanour”, Enrique eventually succeeded Alemán in the following elections, and immediately took steps to tackle corruption, which included arresting his predecessor. He was asked to leave his political party, and he formed a new one called 'Alliance for the Republic'. In his capacity as a President, he also heavily promoted agriculture, and signed the treaty for free trade with the United States and the surrounding developing countries of Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Presently he has established an organization that helps provide official information to the public irrespective of their financial and educational status. He contributes regularly as a writer to the ‘Columbia University’, and ‘University of Virginia’. This famous President has also been made a celebrated member of the ‘International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation’, an NGO that promotes public awareness and education
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Enrique José Bolaños Geyer, Enrique Bolaños Geyer

Age: 96 Years, 96 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Lila T. Abaunza

Born Country: Nicaragua

Humanitarian Presidents

political ideology: Political party-Alliance for the Republic

Ideology: Democrats

Notable Alumni: Saint Louis University

Founder/Co-Founder: Alliance for the Republic

More Facts

education: Saint Louis University

Childhood & Early Life
Enrique José Bolaños Geyer was born to Nicolás Bolaños Cortés and Amanda Del Rosario Geyer Abaunza, on May 13, 1928, in Masaya, Nicaragua. His father belonged to a family that focused on business, even though they did play a small role in the country's political history.
After completing his elementary and higher education in Nicaragua, the young man pursued a course in industrial engineering from ‘Saint Louis University’, Missouri. Later, he studied management from the 'Instituto Centroamericano de Administración de Empresas' ('INCAE Business School’).
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At the age of twenty-four, in 1952, Enrique established a company called 'Industrial Agricultural Services of Masaya' (SAIMSA), which eventually became one of the leading producers of cotton in Central America.
In the 1980s, the successful businessman openly condemned Nicaraguan guerrilla leader and President Daniel Ortega, who was known for his restriction of media and association with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Bolaños was arrested on three occasions, while his company 'SAIMSA' was seized and handed-over to small farmers.
From 1983-88 he acted as the President of the 'Supreme Council for Private Enterprise' ('COSEP'), which aimed at reducing government control on private enterprises.
In 1990, when the presidential elections were held, Bolaños decided to run as a candidate. However, his party, the ‘National Opposition Union', chose his colleague Violeta Chamorro instead, stating that the former was too obstinate to work with.
Six years later, Arnoldo Alemán, a member of the 'Liberal Constitutionalist Party', and a candidate for the presidential elections, decided to appoint Bolaños as his campaigner. Alemán won the elections against President Ortega, and Enrique was elected Vice-President in 1997.
In 1998, hurricane ‘Mitch', caused heavy rainfall in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras, resulting in floods that killed thousands of people and destroying millions of homes. During this catastrophe, it was the Vice-President who took charge of foreign aid and worked on the country's laws that dealt with avoiding natural disasters.
The Nicaraguan politician contested the elections in 2001, under the wing of the 'Liberal Constitutionalist Party', being recommended by former president Arnoldo Alemán. During the campaign, citizens did not show much confidence in Bolaños, owing to defamation tactics by rival Ortega, and also his association with his corrupted predecessor Arnoldo.
In August the same year, the presidential candidate openly criticized fraudulence in the government, but avoided confronting Alemán. He also accused the leftist Ortego of draining the country of its wealth. The elections were won by Enrique, with a majority of 56.3% votes.
The President's term began on January 10, 2002, and within two days, he started taking legal action against all those, former and present, office holders in the government who had indulged in fraudulent activities.
Enrique arrested his predecessor Alemán on corruption charges, and sentenced him to twenty years of imprisonment. As a result the former was made to leave the 'Liberal Constitutionalist Party' by his comrades. He then formed a new political party called 'Alliance for the Republic' ('APRE').
The President of Nicaragua signed the 'CAFTA', or the 'Central America Free Trade Agreement', along with the United States, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, in 2005. The same year, he reduced the power held by the executive branch of the parliament, by limiting its control over the appointment of state officials.
Despite his attempts to fight corruption in the country, Bolaños has been condemned for his old association with Alemán, and the remuneration he received as Vice-President. Once he came into power, his salary was reduced substantially, and his pension was withdrawn.
The President aimed at minimizing foreign financial obligation with the help of the 'World Bank' and the 'International Monetary Fund'. Furthermore, he introduced measures like the 'National Development Plan' for poverty alleviation and promotion of agriculture.
In 2007, Enrique's term ended, and Daniel Ortega was once again elected President, after winning over Eduardo Montealegre, a candidate representing the party 'Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance'. The Liberal party collaborated with Bolaños' 'Alliance for the Republic' during the campaigning.
Even though he was entitled to a place in the National Assembly, the former President retired from politics forever, after his term ended. He is currently a ceremonial member of the prestigious organization called ‘International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation’. He has also written articles like ‘Cómo vamos’, ‘Nicaragua: 165 años de vida independiente’, ‘Memorándums de la presidencia’, and ‘Ideas para todos’, amongst others.
Major Works
Enrique has served as the President of Nicaragua from 2002-07, introducing several measures to fight corruption in the country’s official system. He is also known for having made significant contribution to his homeland’s agricultural development.
Personal Life & Legacy
Bolaños got married in 1949, to his childhood sweetheart Lila T. Abaúnza, who was known for her philanthropic activities. The couple had five children—Enrique José, Lucía Amanda, Jorge Alejandro, Javier Gregorio, and Alberto. After retiring from politics, Bolaños established an NGO called the ‘La Fundación Enrique Bolaños’ (‘FEB’) that aims at providing free access to information about Nicaragua’s history and politics, thus alleviating inequalities in education

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