Chavistas marched through the centre of Caracas to the Pantheon of National Heroes this International Women’s Day, to celebrate the inclusion of female indigenous warrior, Jefa Apacuana, who led a rebellion against Spanish colonialism, as well as La Negra Hipolita and La Negra Matea into the distinguished mausoleum. Both Afro-Venezuelan women were born into slavery and worked for the family of independence hero, Simon Bolivar. While La Negra Matea was Bolivar’s nanny, La Negra Hipolita was his wetnurse. Both are renowned for having had a profound impact on Bolivar’s early personal development and are cited by the independence hero in several written correspondences.
Meanwhile in a separate march, Venezuelan feminists rallied to the cause of the international women’s strike called for March 8, demanding an end to obstetric violence and femicide outside La Maternidad, the principal maternity hospital in Caracas. Other demands included the right to abortion and feminist sexual education.
Alternative rallies, community radio programmes, and cultural events were also held in commemoration of the date in Lara and Merida states.