She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
She says: “That hateful discrimination against illegitimate children, adulterers, foundlings, and those outside the church is finished forever” … and: “I had not discovered the situation during my studies; I had no consciousness of the existence of the laws that discriminated against women. I had no consciousness that the law discriminated against my self”.
Read in spain: Orden Josefa Camejo, 14 de febrero de 2007.
Ana Lucina García Maldonado – Venezuela
She works for the Federación Latinoamericana de Abogadas(*), for the COMITÉ DE SAN FELIPE DEL AGUA (scroll down), and for the Fedla (Latin American Federation of Lawyers).
Ana Lucina García (61) managed to unify her two passions, and with them, she was the driving force behind the legal changes that resulted in the overcoming of gender inequalities in her country. She is a diplomat by vocation and a lawyer by profession. Her practice as a lawyer, besides her work as a parliamentarian and diplomat, demonstrates her continuous commitment to the feminist cause. Through this work, she contributes to the building of a real peace.
She was born into a Conservative family in Venezuela. Her roots are deeply linked to the Andean geography.
In 1966 she began to study Law at the Catholic University of Andrés Bello, in Caracas, the capital city of her country Venezuela. She was a good student, with the concepts and values of a perfect lawyer. But after her graduation she went into a real world full of imperfections. These were the first years of the fight of women for their rights as human beings. And Ana Lucina was there in the middle of that fight.
In 1968 she was invited to a meeting of colleagues of the Lawyers Professional Association of Venezuela and the truth hit her with a shock. She learned for the first time of the reality that subjugated Venezuelan women. A meeting with Luisa Amelia Perez Perozo, founder and president of the Venezuelan Federation of Women Lawyers FEVA, arked her deeply.
She decided to join the Federation where she would go on to hold important posts such as Foreign Secretary, General Secretary and President. From the beginning her contributions would be focused on the study of Law. Thus, with that group of colleagues she dedicated herself to examining the principles contained in the law, discovering the feminine oppression that was hidden under the equality postulate.
The study of the legal discrimination, which women were suffering, prompted her to develop statements relating to conjugal property and parental authority over children, subjects which would be widely debated during the first and second Congresses of the Federation held in 1969 and 1970.
Her passage through the world of the fight for the rights of women was intense and fast. From 1972 Ana Lucina combined her work in the FEVA with attendance at the meetings of the International Women’s Federation FIA.
She participated, by invitation of the O.A.S., in the Inter-American Seminary on Women’s Integral Education and was named adviser to the Assembly of the Inter-American Woman Commission CIM, held in Washington. This meeting was her first participation in this pioneering organisation for the fight for women’s rights in the world.
Her constant activity and proposals together with her independent political position made it possible for her to be invited by the O.A.S. and accepted as a government delegate. “It was the first time that I came to the Foreign Ministry”. That was to be the departure point for the diplomatic activity, which she would develop with a sense of vocation and innate ability.
In 1973, an election year, she entered the field of politics because of her eagerness to influence the candidates so that they would include the legal problems that affected women in their agenda. “We managed to summon all the presidential candidates so that they would speak about the rights of women, children and families. We managed to generate a consciousness that could lead towards a change of legislation “, she remembers.
In 1975 her diplomatic work continued in the UN. The previous year she had been asked by the ambassador of Venezuela in Paris to speak in front of the UNESCO Assembly that would declare the The International Year of the Woman”.
In 1974 the Feminine Advisory Commission of the Presidency of the Republic was established. Ana Lucina was designated Adviser of the Venezuelan delegation for the Women’s Inter-American Commission of the O.A.S. and for the Commission for Social and Legal Women’s Condition at the UN. Simultaneously the International Federation of Female Lawyers and Women in Law Degrees designated her as their representative at the UN. Her legal work for women was notable.
President-elect of the FEVA in 1976, Ana Lucina started out with a national crusade, which aimed to create awareness about the gender discriminations contained in the Civil Code. The crusade involved lawyers, politicians and all of society through forums, conferences and other means. The achievement, which was significant, resulted in the beginning of a serious consideration of a reform of the Venezuelan Civil Code, for which a commission of lawyers was formed with the task of writing up the text of the reform. Ana Lucina presented it on May 17 1979 in the name of the FEVA.
But the way was not easy. Venezuela had never experienced before the reform of a law prompted by a popular initiative. “I made myself study the Constitution”. In order to make the initiative more worthy we tried to accompany it with 20,000 signatures of people who would endorse it. “We female lawyers began to collect signatures in 1976″.
In 1979 and for the first time in Venezuela’s history a popular reform movement was introduced with the support of more than 33,0000 signatures.
The reform was approved on July 6, 1982. Twenty days later women reached a yearned-for victory that would not only benefit themselves but also the family as a social institution.
While they waited for this approval, Lucina continued with her diplomatic work in the O.A.S. It was during 1979, and discussions centred around the laws on divorce concerning the joint administration of goods. Her proposal about administration and joint disposition caused uproar. “That was my first battle in the O.A.S. I was 29 years old “.
In 1988 the Inter-American Woman Commission CIM incorporated into its agenda the subject of the violence against woman. Three years later the text was written up of what would be the “Convention against all forms of violence against woman” or “Convention of Bethlehem do Pará”. The agreed text presented to the XXIV General Conference of the O.A.S was approved and has been ratified up to the present by 30 countries.
Almost 40 years ago she discovered a reality that she founded unjust.
Since then, surrounded of a whirlwind of possibilities, she has followed a path marked by the search for legal recognition for women.
The fight involved many pairs of hands, her own included, years and years of legal fight, of law initiatives and of law improvement. Now, when she is 61 years old (2005), her name, Ana Lucina García, is written in the history of the fight of Venezuelan women for their rights. (1000PeaceWomen).
Organized Venezuelan Women Promote Their Minimum Agenda, Mar/Apr2007;