La Paz, Vildozo joined the Bolivian armed forces and took specialized courses in Brazil, Panama, and the United States. In the 1970s he served in the cabinet of military dictator General
Hugo Banzer. Vildozo was second in command in the Bolivian Army when, in July 1982, he was entrusted by his peers with the task of extricating the military from power and returning the country to constitutional, democratic rule. His appointment followed the debacle of the highly unpopular 1980-82 dictatorships of generals
Luis García Meza (1980–81) and
Celso Torrelio (1981–82).
Faced with a grave social, economic and fiscal crisis, Vildozo accelerated the re-democratization process. In essence, he and his fellow commanders had two options: to call new elections, or to reconvene the 1980 Congress and respect the results of that year's presidential contest. Choosing the latter in order to avoid further social unrest and quite possibly civil war, the 1980 Congress was recalled, which confirmed the election of
Hernán Siles as per the results of the 1980 elections. Vildozo returned the presidential emblems and control of power to Congress on October 10, 1982, thus closing the door on military control of Bolivia. This gesture allowed Congress to annoit the democratically elect candidate
Hernán Siles. Nonetheless, Vildozo and his cabinet were loudly booed by the population present at the transfer of power to Siles. The Bolivian Congress did later acknowledge Vildoso for his two main accomplishments: restoring democracy to Bolivia with no bloodshed and developing the fundamentals of the economic plan, 21060, that was later used by
Víctor Paz Estenssoro to restore sound macroeconomic variables to the nation.