Gina Reque Teran Becomes First Woman to Be Named Bolivia's Military General Staff
Gen. Gina Reque Teran became the first woman to be named Bolivia's General Staff of the Armed Forces. She was appointed on Wednesday by President Evo Morales in a ceremony held at the Government Palace.
Reque Teran was sworn along with Gen. Juan Duran Flores who was appointed as the new Military Chief. Gen. Luis Ariñez was also named Army Commander, Gen. Celier Aparicio as Head of the Air Force, and Vice Admiral Jose Puente as the new Navy Head, per EFE via FOX News.
President Morales called the appointment of the female general as a historic milestone for Bolivia as well as recognition for all the women in the nation. The 53-year-old general joined the military in the 1970s when Bolivia started signing up women.
She also came from a military family as she is the daughter of Gen. Luis Antonio Reque Teran, one of the captors of National Liberation Army leader, Ernesto "Che" Guevara in 1967. Gen. Gina is married to an army officer and they have two children.
Guevara led a group of guerrillas but was captured by military commanders and was executed on Oct. 9 of the same year in the village of La Higuera. However, the Bolivian president, who is in office since 2006, is a known follower of Guevara. The Morales administration is still allied with Cuba's Raul Castro, brother of Fidel who appointed Guevara as his right-hand man during the revolution.
Reque Tan's family connection seems to not been held against her by the Morales administration, according to NBC News. She became the first-ever female army general last March 9 and is also the first woman in Latin American history to have direct command on war troopers.
"Of course, the Latin American military remains an extremely masculine environment, and there is still resistance to the idea of women being in the military, but it has also changed a lot recent years," RESDAL's military researcher Marcela Donadio said.
"This doesn't really have anything to do with Morales. This is a decision from within the military, where Reque Teran is very respected. The military has been very clear that there is no positive discrimination, so she has got to where she is on merit alone," she added.
However, Reque Tan is not the first woman in South America to have such a high position as Chile had a female military police general back in the 1990s while Venezuela already had a female general and a female admiral that served as defense minister.