Bolivien: Ana Maria Romero de Campero

I know that I can fight power without letting it seduce me or scare me.

— Ana Maria Romero de Campero

A prestigious journalist, Bolivian Ana Maria de Campero (1943) was a Public Defender, from 1998 to 2003. With her, this position was born. Her goal was to defend the human rights of prisoners, coke growers, prostitutes, children, homosexuals and sick people without resources. She has not lost her determination. Today, from the Unite Bolivia Foundation, over which she presides, she promotes non-violent management and dialogue.

In 1998, a new position was introduced in Bolivia: Public Defender. It was headed by a woman of high rank, the distinguished journalist Ana Maria de Campero. Her work as a journalist smoothed the path for her. She fought many battles during her time as Public Defender. In the combat against the cultivators of cocaine, the army and the police burned and ransacked the houses of the coke growers and also destroyed legal crops. The Public Defender protested. In the fight against crime, the government cannot, itself, engage in illegal activities. The medical attention in the jails is deplorable. “They are deprived not only of their freedom, but of everything,” she says. She succeeded in getting the National Health Fund to offer dialysis to those who suffer from kidney problems. She traveled to Spain to bring back stolen Bolivian children. She intervened against the mistreatment of prostitutes. She fought against the discrimination of homosexuals. Her time as Public Defender ended in 2003, but her confrontations with the powerful ones did not. In 2003, 80 strikers were killed and 400 were hurt. She started a hunger strike to show solidarity towards the strikers. The demonstrations grew, and the Armed Forces were going to shoot. She talked. The Commander of the Armed Forces intervened and said that the military service would not shoot defenseless civilians. After this announcement, President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada submitted his resignation. When Ana Maria de Campero left the post of Defender, somebody said to her: “They had a reason for not to reappointing you. What you did, you did too well.” It does not matter that they did not reappoint her for the position. She continues anyways. From the Foundation Unite Bolivia, over which she presides, Ana Maria de Campero promotes non-violent management and dialogue.

Unite Bolivia Foundation