Banzer attended military schools during his early years. He took place during a coup. Juan José Torres, a leftist, made a countercoup and Banzer fled. In 1970, he came to power through a military coup against the president, Juan José Torres. He resigned in 1978. In 1997, Banzer was elected back into office for five years. During this period, he launched, under the auspices the United States, a program for fighting drug-trafficking in Bolivia which called for the eradication of coca, a highly controversial strategy. In 2001, he was stricken by lung cancer; he resigned and was succeeded by the vice president, Jorge Quiroga. Banzer died in 2002.
Note: In accordance with the rules of Spanish orthography, Banzer should be spelled Bánzer. But because Banzer was originally a German name, the a is not accented.