Juana Ramírez “La Avanzadora” joins us the battles of 21st Century.
The unlikely freedom fighter was born in 1790 in Guárico to a slave mother brought from Africa who was sold to General Andrés Rojas, who is suspected of being Juana’s father.
Juana was living in Marutin when the war for independence broke out. A fierce patriot, she immediately threw her support behind the movement, helping troops in logistics and in combat.
In 1813, she led a battalian of women in the Battle of Alto de los Godos and defeated Spanish general Domingo de Monteverde. Juana was the first to advance against the enemy and charged with such fury and commitment she was afterwards awarded the title, “La Avanzadora,” or, “The Advancer.”
Maturin later fell to Spanish commander Jose Francisco Morales, forcing Juana and other fighters to flee to the mountains.
Juana died in 1856 but remains an important symbol of Venezuelan independence and female resistance.
In a male-dominated period, Juana challenged traditional notions of a woman’s role in society. She stood side by side with her male comrades, overcoming racial and gender prejudice for the sake of a higher cause: Venezuelan independence. In honor of her contribution to the independence movement, Juana’s remains were moved Friday to the National Pantheon, where a special ceremony was held.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Maduro described La Avanzadora as a national hero, explaining, "Juana La Avanzadora has the courage and bravery of Venezuelan women who have historically been the mothers of the homeland."