Lidia Gueiler, who took office in Bolivia during its most tumultuous years, and is the only woman to have governed the country, died in La Paz on Monday at age 89.
She passed away "in peace after several weeks of physical deterioration," according to her grandson Eduardo Siles.
Gueiler was elected to office in 1979 after a military coup led by Alberto Natusch had assumed power for several weeks. After Argentina's María Estela, "Isabelita," Martínez de Perón, Gueiler became South America's second woman president.
Her administration was brief, however. The following year Gueiler was overthrown in another coup led by General Luis García Meza, who sent her into exile in Chile. She returned in 1983 and was named ambassador to Colombia.
Gueiler began her political career in 1946 when she joined the then-clandestine National Revolutionary Movement (MNR), founded by Víctor Paz Estenssoro, who eventually governed Bolivia on three different occasions.
In 1960, Gueiler was elected to Congress and three years later joined the National Revolutionary Left Party. After the 1964 coup led by General René Barrientos, she was jailed and tortured before she was sent into exile.
In 1978, she became vice president under Paz Estenssoro. Gueiler retired in 1993.