Sneha Girap (Editor)

Blanca Rodriguez

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Covid-19
Nationality  Venezuela
Name  Blanca Rodriguez
Spouse(s)  Carlos Andres Perez
Blanca Rodriguez
Preceded by  Alicia Pietri de Caldera
Succeeded by  Betty Urdaneta de Herrera
Preceded by  Gladys Castillo de Lusinchi
Succeeded by  Ligia Betancourt Marino
Born  1 January 1926 (age 89) Rubio, Tachira State (1926-01-01)

Magaly medina dedic a tilsa lozano foto familiar de blanca rodriguez


Blanca Maria Rodriguez de Perez (born January 1, 1926), First Lady of Venezuela from 1974 to 1979 and again from 1989 to 1993.

Contents

Blanca Rodríguez sobre el periodismo. Entrevista de María Inés Obaldía.


Early life and education

Blanca Maria Rodriguez was born in Rubio, Tachira State, the youngest of eight children born to Manuel and Adela Rodriguez. Her grandfather, Eliodoro Rodriguez, was a prominent landowner in Rubio. Her father was also a coffee planter and a veteran of Colombia's Thousand Days War, in which he volunteered to fight on the side of the Liberal forces and acted as lieutenant to General Uribe. As a child, she was aware of her older cousin Carlos Andres Perez engaging in long political discussions with her father on topics as varied as the legacy of Simon Bolivar, the French Revolution and the dictatorship of Juan Vicente Gomez in Venezuela.

At the age of four, her mother died of cancer and Blanca's rearing was left in the hands of her older sister, Ana Isabel. Four years later, her father would also pass away. The family was financially ruined by the worldwide economic depression of the 1930s and all of the family haciendas had to be sold. She was educated by nuns at the Our Lady of the Rosary Convent School, where she graduated in 1944.

Marriage and family

Carlos Andres Perez began courting his cousin Blanca in 1944. He was then working and living in Caracas and would travel to Rubio as he could to visit her. They were wed on 8 June 1948. For the first months, they lived in the provincial city of San Cristobal but moved to the Venezuelan capital to share a rented house with Julia Perez, Blanca's mother-in-law.

A few months later, in November 1948, the military launched a coup against the democratically elected government of President Romulo Gallegos and installed a dictatorship. Carlos Andres Perez became the target of harassment and persecution as a member of the Accion Democratica party. Blanca had to endure frequent security police searches of their home as well as tend to her young children while her husband was often on the run or in prison. In 1952, she followed him into exile in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The couple had six children, five daughters, Sonia, Thais, Martha, Maria de los Angeles and Maria Carolina, and a son, Carlos Manuel.

When the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez was overthrown in 1958, Blanca and Carlos Andres Perez returned to Venezuela with the children. Her husband's ascendant political career resulted in Blanca's increasingly prominent role as a politician's wife, one who would be actively involved in supporting his career, campaigning and developing her own charitable activities.

First Lady

With Carlos Andres Perez's election to the Presidency in December 1973, Blanca Rodriguez assumed the role of First Lady. In Venezuela, this involved acting as the head of the Children's Foundation, a charitable organisation that organised summer camps and festivals for disadvantaged children. Blanca was eager to develop a program that would have a greater impact on the lives of the poor and would provide year-round assistance. One of the most important aspects of her legacy as First Lady was the development of a network of daycare centres (hogares de cuidado diario) for low income communities across the country. These centres were created to enable working, and often single, mothers to earn a wage without leaving their children in the hands of unsuitable caretakers. The emphasis of the daycare centre program was on grass-roots involvement. Community mothers were consulted in the selection and vetting of caretakers and the Foundation provided financial support to the "mother-carers", as the women in charge of the centres were identified.

In addition, Blanca Rodriguez accompanied her husband on his frequent trips abroad to meet world leaders, including memorable visits to Mexico, Egypt, Russia and Persia. She also hosted the visits of the King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia and US President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn Carter to Caracas.

After the Presidency

After Carlos Andres Perez left the Presidency in 1979, Blanca Rodriguez devoted her energies to supporting a charitable foundation focused on providing wheelchairs and crutches to the disabled poor, Bandesir. She became Bandesir's chairwoman and pursued an active schedule of visits around the country to attend the frequent ceremonies the foundation organized to hand over wheelchairs to people who could not afford them. She also fundraised for Bandesir and extended its remit so that it could also provide cheap or free medical attention to the needy who came to its headquarters. In addition, she was also a patron of the Leper Hospice in La Guaira.

First Lady, a Second Time

Blanca Rodriguez again became First Lady upon her husband's second election to the Presidency in 1988. She resumed her position at the Children's Foundation. Under her leadership, the foundation supported the government's initiative to roll out the daycare centre programme all over the country as part of its welfare provision.

During the military coup organized by Hugo Chavez on 4 February 1992, Blanca, her daughters and granddaughters were in residence at the Presidential palace of La Casona whilst it was besieged by rebel forces. While her husband managed to escape and quell the coup attempt, Blanca remained at La Casona during the particularly heavy attack. When the lieutenant that was in charge of defending the palace expressed to her his intentions to surrender Blanca accompanied by her sister and daughter pulled out a machine gun and said that if he didn't defend the palace that they would. Which forced the lieutenant and the soldiers present to defend La Casona. She later made sure to assist in the tending of wounded soldiers, regardless of their allegiance, and was crucial in keeping morale up during the few hours when it seemed the residence was going to be taken.

Later life

After leaving office, Blanca Rodriguez retired to her home in the outskirts of Caracas, a house she designed to resemble one of her father's haciendas. She continued to devote time to charitable work, mainly in relation to the Bandesir foundation. Whilst Carlos Andres Perez has been self-exiled since 1998, Blanca Rodriguez has remained in the country.

In 2004, government security forces raided Blanca Rodriguez's house with the excuse of finding weapons and documents related to an anti-Chavez conspiracy, a charge that was clearly seen as baseless given that she has not seen or spoken to her estranged husband since he left the country. In keeping with her deep Catholic faith, attempts by Perez to divorce her were rebuffed by her lawyers and the couple was still legally married at the time of Perez's passing away in late 2010.

References

Blanca Rodriguez Wikipedia


Similar Topics
Fast Talking
Alex Bretherton
Tom Clements
Topics
 
B
i
Link
H2
L