The governor of La Paz in Bolivia is convinced … that Bolivian indigenous farmer Carmelo Flores is indeed the oldest person to have ever lived.

Governor Cesar Cocarico awarded Flores the title of "Living Heritage of Humanity" comprising a medal and a certificate.

SOUNDBITE: Carmelo Flores, Bolivian indigenous farmer, saying (Aymara):

"I'm very happy, very happy to see all my children together. I thank God."

Flores, who lives in a 4,000-meter or over 13,000-foot high village, claims to be 123 years old - and age and altitude are taking their toll.

SOUNDBITE: Carmelo Flores, Bolivian indigenous farmer, saying (Aymara):

"My body hurts, it hurts. My health is bad now."

It is impossible to verify Flores' age as Bolivia only started issuing official birth certificates in 1940.

But he says his baptism certificate lists his birthday as July 16, 1890.

Bolivia's Civil Registry Office is still investigating the validity of the document.

Perhaps the next visitors Flores receives will be the folks from the Guinness Book of World Records, who haven't yet commented on the old man's claim.

 

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