Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Ana María Romero de Campero was elected the first female President of the Bolivian Senate in the nation's history today by an absolute majority. Campero had previously been the Public Defender before joining the senate and
is a member of Evo Morales' Movement to Socialism party. This election marks the highest political office obtained by a woman in Bolivian history after Lydia Gueiler who was president of the lower house of representatives until the government was toppled in a 1980 coupe.  

Romero was born in 1943 and in 2005 was one of 1000 nominated for the nobel peace prize. She was a prestigious journalist for 30 years, becoming the director of the Prescencia daily newspaper and was an strong critic of dictator Hugo Banzer from 1971-1978.  In 1979 when the dictatorship fell she was appointed Information Minister but that government was overthrown in a coup and she fled into exile and then returned to continue her writing. In 1998 she became Bolivia's first Public Defender, similar to national human rights ombudsman role and won Bolivia's national journalism prize in that same year.  She has served as President of the Forum of Women Journalists, the Association of Journalists of La Paz, and the National Press Association. She has also been President of the International Federation of Newspapers. She is a recipient of the National Journalism Award and was a member of the jury for the Agencia EFE’s Rey de España award. In her role as Public Defender through 2003 Ana Maria defended poor Chaparé coca farmers, Bolivia's homosexuals, those jailed without due cause, the abuse of prostitutes, and denounced drug and human trafficking networks. She then became the head of the Bolivia United Foundation which promotes non-violent management and dialogue. She is an author and published her first novel, a memoir entitled Crossed Wires that depicts an international news agency.  Her appointment as president of the Bolivian senate is seen as a major advance for women in Bolivia and marks part of President Morales' commitment to place more women in high government offices.




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