The mortal remains of Bolivia’s first female Aymara legislator, Remedios Loza, had a vigil held in her honor at the nation’s Legislative Assembly amid displays of affection and remembrances of her struggle for gender equality.
Loza, who died last Friday of cancer at age 69, was the first lawmaker to wear the “pollera,” the traditional skirt of native Aymara women.
A vigil was held for Loza’s body at her home late last week, and this Monday was taken to the Legislative Assembly in La Paz for a Mass attended by Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, the head of the Chamber of Deputies, Gabriela Montaño, and the head of the Senate, Milton Baron, along with other legislators.
“We come here to bid farewell to a teacher, a leader, a person who took the first step, later continued by the next generation, to make Bolivia a country of greater equality. Our deepest gratitude to this great woman,” Garcia Linera said upon leaving Mass.
The vice president also recalled that when Loza entered the world of politics, “it was a revolution to see a pollera- wearer entering the legislature” for the first time.
“She put us on the road to equality...we are all equal, no matter the color of skin, type of clothing or name - we all have the same rights and she was the first woman to show us the way,” he said.
Garcia Linera said that her legacy must be preserved so that “polleras are never again kept out of the legislature.”
After the ceremony, the casket was taken from the Legislative Assembly in a procession through downtown Murillo Plaza for the final farewell.
The dozens of people who joined in the procession threw flowers on the casket and gave thanks for her labor on behalf of women.
The procession ended at the doors of Radio Television Popular (RTP), where she worked for several years.
According to family members, after these tributes Loza’s remains will be cremated.
Remedios Loza was honored last November by the lower house with its highest decoration for her vocation of service to society.