LA PAZ – The president of the Bolivian Senate, Ana Maria Romero de Campero, died after a long struggle with intestinal cancer, her relatives announced on Tuesday. She was 67.
Her son Fernando Romero confirmed to the media on Tuesday morning that the long-time journalist and former national ombud died on Monday night at home.
The Bolivian government decreed seven days of mourning and ordered that flags be flown with black ribbons attached in state buildings in acknowledgement of “the sorrow that is being felt by the family and the entire country,” presidential chief of staff Oscar Coca said.
“Bolivia is in mourning today, since Dońa Ana Maria Romero de Campero has left us, but her teachings, her conviction and her strength will be an example and that is what she left us as a legacy,” the official added.
Romero had a journalism career spanning three decades, was Bolivia’s first national ombud, serving from 1998-2003, and upon leaving that post she headed the private UNIR foundation dedicated to the promotion of democratic culture, peace, conflict resolution and the improvement of journalism.
During the political crises experienced in Bolivia in the early 2000s, she gained a reputation as a vital figure in the mediation of the numerous conflicts that began to spring up amid the country’s indigenous rebellions.
Among her other distinctions, she received Bolivia’s National Journalism Award and the French Legion of Honor.
At the invitation of President Evo Morales, who sought to build bridges to the middle class and the opposition, she ran for – and won – the first senatorial post for La Paz province for the governing leftist MAS party in the December 2009 general elections.
In January 2010, she assumed the presidency of the Senate, but a few days later, she asked for permission to undergo and recover from surgery due to problems with her digestive tract.
“There are days when I’m in better spirits, but it’s very different from being in better health. My health is complicated ... There are moments when I feel like I’m in a very deep well and I can’t see the light at the end of the road,” said Romero in July in an interview with Erbol radio. EFE