In early March of this year, Bolivia's only former female president, Lydia Gueiler Tejada, was honored at a reception to launch the release of her autobiography. Much has been written about Gueiler's brief period as president (November 1979-July 1980) and the brutal coup that replaced her, led by her cousin General Luis Garcia Meza Tejada. Yet, not many published accounts have bothered to ask the former president for her version of events. Indeed, few historians and political scientists have said much at all about Gueiler's prominent role in twentieth-century Bolivian history and her important contribution to that country's transition to democracy. Her exclusion from the history books is a problem typical of many women, prominent and otherwise, whose proper place in Latin American history and politics has gone unrecognized. This is the broad theme that Hemisphere explores in this issue.
Several articles address the problem of crime and other abuses against women in Latin America and the Caribbean. Such offenses often go unreported and are therefore excluded from historical and statistical records. Andrew Morrison and Maria Beatriz Orlando study the economic impact of domestic violence in Latin America, while Korey Capozza discusses the illegality of abortion in the region. The methodology of writing the history of women and other traditionally marginalized groups is addressed int he insightful piece by Rachel Sara O'Toole, who looks back to the case of a slave woman in colonial Peru to discuss the limitations of written sources for this task.
Other authors in this issue question whether the process of reform and democratization in Latin America has been a good thing for women. …