Bolivia: first woman serves as military commander

For the first time in Bolivia's history, a woman assumed the post of chief of the Armed Forces High Command as Gen. Gina Reque Terán was sworn in Dec. 30. In her inaugural speech she vowed: "We will work ardently in the struggle against the narco-traffic and contraband, for the protection of natural resources… We will be forever alert to respond to any natural disaster… We will be prepared for any contingency." President Evo Morales in his own comments noted the military's role in the 2006 nationalization of Bolivia's hydrocarbons, which allowed the country to "liberate" itself economically. He also thanked the armed forces for their support in confronting the secessionist movement in Bolivia's east.

Ironically, Gina Reque Terán is the daughter of Luis Reque Terán, who commanded the 1967 operation that led to the capture of "Che" Guevara.

Reque Terán is not the first woman to serve as a general in Latin America. Venezuela has already had both a female general and a female admiral, with the latter going on to serve as defense minister, Carmen Meléndez. But Reque Teran now becomes the first woman in Latin America to directly command combat troops. (EFE, Global PostLa Razón, La Paz, Página Siete, La Paz, Dec. 30)