Carlos Mesa is the current president of the nation of Bolivia. He has been in charge in Bolivia since October 17, 2003, shortly after ex-president Sánchez de Lozada fled the country due to the Bolivian Gas War. Before becoming president, he was vice-president under Lozada since August 6, 2002.
Before becoming a politician, Mesa has been a journalist and historian. He has written several books on Bolivia's history (some with other authors), and is respected internationally as a historian.
Mesa's rise to power started while he was part of the Lozada government. Despite his lack of experience in politics, he was continually elevated until he became VP. When the gas war happened, however, Mesa became angry about the government's method of dealing with the crisis (the Lozada solution: shoot them). He withdrew support for the ex-president within a week before the latter's resignation. Lozada resigned and fled on October 17, 2003, and within hours Mesa had been sworn in as president.
Mesa's term is up in 2007, but he has said that he will not complete the term as his administration is supposed to be transitional.