December 2016

Who was Simon Patiño, the Industrialist and Entrepreneur

SIMON PATIÑO was born in the department of Cochabamba in 1860, from very humble beginnings, his parents being of Spanish and Indian origin. Little is known of his early life, only that he began working in a general store and later drove mule trains in the Bolivian mountains.

Jill Streeten
Projects Abroad Volunteer
London-United Kingdom

IN 1894 he moved to Oruro, where silver mining had been of great importance, but found the mines practically drained of it. Here he worked in a mining store and a year later, together with a partner he bought the deeds of La Salvador mine, a small tin mine which turned out to be very rich in deposits of tin. He made huge profits, and the following year in 1897 he was able to buy out his partner. With the profits he continued to make, he bought the Catavi mine, which became the largest and richest one in the world. Using the most modern techniques and employing the best engineers he could find, this mine soon became the most important one in the country, making Simon Patiño a very wealthy man.

With profits from the mine, he bought control of tin smelting industries in England and new mines in Malaysia and Canada. He also bought ships and organized the construction of railroads to transport the tin and, by the end of the 1930's, 60% of the world's tin was treated in his foundries. It is said that by 1925, the value of his enterprise was worth $500,000,000. His own personal income is said to have been greater than Bolivia's entire national budget.

Seeing the need for higher education, he founded the University of Simon I. Patiño in La Paz in 1931. He also founded a commercial bank of Bolivia and other foundries. In 1912, he went to live in Europe with his family. After 1920, he began travelling extensively and lived in Spain for the next six years and in France from 1926 till 1941, where due to his wealth, he claimed diplomatic immunity. He became a diplomatic envoy of Bolivia, helping to shape the future of Bolivia.

His wealth made him enormously powerful in the Bolivian government and controlled 60% of Bolivian exports. He gave support to the Liberal Party, aiming to create a thriving modern country, but when the popularity of the party waned, his support ended.

He missed Bolivia and decided to return, but in 1924, on a visit to Bolivia, he had a severe heart attack, and on account of the high altitude, he was advised not to return to live in his native country. In 1939 he went to live in New York, but still longed to be closer to his own roots, and finally moved to live in Argentina towards the end of his life. He died in Buenos Aires in 1947.

Simon Patiño cared little for the welfare or working conditions of his workers. They were poorly paid and working conditions were grim. In 1943 there was a revolt. Troops were called in and miners massacred.

The mines remained in the family until 1952, when they were nationalized. In 1958, the Simon Patiño Foundation was set up in Geneva with a view to developing various areas of research in South America, particularly in Bolivia, concentrating on health, hygiene, agriculture, ecology and education. It is thanks to this foundation that the Centro de Nutrición Infantil was founded.

Agenda Cultural DICIEMBRE 2016

XVIII Festival De Teatro Bertolt Brecht With

del sábado 3 al sábado 10 de diciembre de 2016 Costos: Entrada general: 25 Bs. Estudiantes: 20 Bs. Entrada liberada para las funciones en el Teatro Achá y Teatro Adela Zamudio

Ju 8 de diciembre
Lugar: Instituto Laredo (Av. Ramón Rivero #3050 y Av. Oquendo)
Hrs: 19:30 / Ingreso: 25 – 20 – 15 Bs.

Alianza Frances

Lunes 5 de diciembre 19:00
"Adieu Berthe ou l'enterrement de mémé". read more ...

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