The Bicentennial Celebration
Today we celebrate 200 years of the first liberty fights in South America, as Bolivia holds the honor to have brave ancestors who were the first to tell the Spaniards they would not oppress these lands anymore. Today I want to exalt and pay a humble tribute to Liutenant Colonel Juana Azurduy de Padilla, a Bolivian woman born in Chuquisaca in 1780, who passed away 82 years later totally poor, forgotten and was buried in a common grave.
She was married to Manuel Ascencio Padilla, she spoke Spanish, Quechua and Aymara.She and her husband began to fight for liberty on May 25th, 1809, in Chuquisaca and up to the western jungles of Santa Cruz. She saw her four sons die in combat, and she fought while pregnant with her fifth daughter.She also lost her husband in combat. They fought against the royal army and made them escape, but in 1811, on June 20th, one royal general, Goyeneche, defeated them and took Juana and her sons to prison, from where her husband recovered them, but all their cattle and properties were confiscated by the Spanish Crown.
This is the reason why when she was older she got poorer and died in misery. Other battles were won, and Bolivia was free on August 6th, 1825, being the last country to be freed. Ironically, it had been the first country to begin the fight.
There are songs about her and President Morales has in recent days created a Juana Azurduy de Padilla Bonus, that will be paid to pregnant mothers and mothers with children under six months of age, that will begin to be paid next month, in good timing with the beginning of his new presidential campaign for the December election. This is the kind of policy that has gained him very big numbers of voters in the last referendum. Good for the mothers, good for him. This should have been done many years ago, in my humble opinion.It is a small amount of money, but for many poor women it represents the difference between giving birth to a healthy baby or not. The name of Liutenant Colonel Juana Azurduy could never be used better.
So as you can see, we cannot judge only one side of a president. We need to understand that there are good things and bad things in every administration. We must applaud the good deeds, but we cannot hush the wrong ones.