Luis Alberto Arce Catacora, often referred to as Lucho, is a Bolivian banker, economist, and politician serving as the 67th president of Bolivia since 2020.
49 Facts About Luis Arce
For over ten years as Morales' longest-serving minister, Luis Arce was hailed as the architect behind Bolivia's economic transformation, overseeing the nationalization of the country's hydrocarbons industry, the rapid expansion of GDP, and the reduction of poverty.
Luis Arce's tenure was only brought to an end by a diagnosis of kidney cancer, which forced him to leave office to seek extended treatment abroad.
Luis Arce's government spearheaded an international call for the pharmaceutical industry to waive its patents on vaccines and medications in order to provide greater access to them by low-income countries.
Luis Arce is the son of Carlos Arce Gonzales and Olga Catacora, both teachers.
Luis Arce grew up in a middle-class family, beginning his school studies in 1968 and graduating from high school in La Paz in 1980.
Luis Arce studied at the Institute of Banking Education in La Paz, initially graduating as an accountant in 1984.
Luis Arce spent most of his working life as a public official, beginning in 1987 at the Central Bank of Bolivia, where he spent much of his professional career.
Luis Arce started working in academia as an undergraduate and postgraduate professor at various Bolivian public and private universities.
Luis Arce has given lectures at universities in Europe, North America, and South America, including Columbia University in New York, the University of Buenos Aires, and Harvard University.
Luis Arce oversaw Bolivia's nationalization of hydrocarbon, telecommunications, and mining companies, as well as the creation of BancoSur.
Bolivian media often credited Luis Arce with steering the nation through a period of economic growth.
Luis Arce's policies were salient in slashing Bolivia's poverty rate during his terms and facilitating large amounts of economic growth as a result of rising gas exports.
On 24 June 2017, Luis Arce was forced to give up his position and travel to Brazil to undergo surgery to treat severe kidney cancer.
Luis Arce remained there for a mandated recovery period before returning to his post as minister of economy on 23 January 2019.
Nonetheless, Luis Arce denounced that he had received harassment from police while attempting to board his flight at the El Alto International Airport.
Some MAS opponents accused Luis Arce of being a puppet of Morales, a point Luis Arce denied.
Luis Arce stated that Morales "will not have any role in our government" but will still be the president of the party.
Luis Arce officially became president-elect of Bolivia on 23 October 2020, after the completion of the official vote count and an announcement by the TSE.
Luis Arce was sworn in as the sixty-seventh president of Bolivia at the front of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly.
Luis Arce outlined his intent to "defeat" the pandemic and pledged to turn around the nation's faltering economy which he blamed the interim government for having "shattered".
Each of Luis Arce's predecessors had taken radically different approaches on the matter.
Luis Arce's government implemented a "community coca control" program that sought to work directly with cocaleros to regulate legal production.
The first step in the project was the establishment of a factory to produce the toothpaste, with Luis Arce stating that "later others will come".
Luis Arce denounced the "hegemonic pharmaceutical industry" for, in his view, harming "billions of human beings" by maintaining patents on life-saving medication and demanded that they release their anti-COVID drugs into the public domain for use by all nations.
On 13 January 2021, Luis Arce instituted the Chakana cross as the government's official logo, replacing the previous logo promulgated by Anez after just a year in use.
Luis Arce assured that representing "the identity of each Bolivian is the most important thing so that the country moves forward, integrated, united, and inclusive".
Shortly into his term, Luis Arce announced a series of policies aimed at rectifying what he viewed as erroneous economic decisions made by the transitional government.
On 18 February 2021, Luis Arce announced that he had ordered the Central Bank to return an International Monetary Fund loan totaling US$327 million previously granted to the Anez government as aid for the economic crisis.
At the behest of the United Nations, the Luis Arce administration assumed international commitments to combat terrorism and its financing.
On 2 July 2021, Luis Arce delivered a draft bill against the legitimation of illicit profits, financing of terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Luis Arce accused the opposition of promoting a coup d'etat but assured that the "vast majority" of the populace would support him.
Such widespread opposition forced Luis Arce to withdraw the bill from the Senate to "not give rise to violence".
Minister Lima pledged that the initiative would not be reintroduced for the remainder of Luis Arce's term, expiring in 2025.
In particular, Luis Arce described CELAC as the "best way" to integrate the Latin American region and called for the recovery of UNASUR as a continent-wide institution.
Luis Arce met with Argentine president Alberto Fernandez in the Chilean city of Vina del Mar on 11 March 2022.
Alternative avenues for maritime integration were discussed, including the development of the Paraguay-Parana waterway project "to make our access to the Atlantic Ocean effective" and the expansion of Bolivia's presence in the free ports granted to it by neighboring countries, particularly as regards to the port of Ilo, Peru, which Luis Arce claimed could enable an alternative trade route to the Pacific.
Luis Arce assured that Boric's presidency would "strengthen our ties of brotherhood, creating more bridges of integration".
Luis Arce made two official visits to Cuba during his administration; both times to attend the Summit of ALBA Heads of State hosted in Havana.
At the invitation of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Luis Arce made his first foreign visit to Mexico on 23 March 2021, with official acts beginning the following day.
Luis Arce expressed his happiness to return to the country "no longer as a refugee".
On 14 June 2022, Luis Arce paid a visit to Villamontes to commemorate the eighty-seventh anniversary of the Chaco War armistice between Bolivia and Paraguay.
Abdo expressed his will that Bolivia be integrated into the project, inviting Luis Arce to participate in the signing of the contract for the line's final section.
On 6 March 2022, Luis Arce inaugurated the Center for Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy in El Alto, a project developed by Rosatom.
Luis Arce expressed his joy that, through the institute, Bolivians would no longer need to travel abroad to seek cancer treatment, as he had been forced to do in 2017.
Later, Luis Arce justified that Bolivia's policy of abstention towards matters relating to Russia had allowed the country to avoid "galloping inflation [and] food shortages".
Luis Arce went on to state that the country's stance "shows us as a sovereign country, not aligned with the interests of imperialism", which he credited for having started the conflict.
Similarly, on 1 February 2021, Luis Arce abrogated an Anez-era decree providing for visa-free travel for US and Israeli citizens seeking to enter the country.
Luis Arce is the first First Lady of Bolivia to be the wife of the president since 2006.