Elena, the Dulcinea of Gilberto Mendoza

by
Elena, the Dulcinea of Gilberto Mendoza
I might be accused of being trite, but the phrase "beside every great man is a great woman" was never truer. (Photo: Courtesy)

Elena, the Dulcinea of Gilberto Mendoza

by
Elena, the Dulcinea of Gilberto Mendoza
I might be accused of being trite, but the phrase "beside every great man is a great woman" was never truer. (Photo: Courtesy)

I might be accused of being trite, but the phrase "beside every great man is a great woman" was never truer. (Photo: Courtesy)
I might be accused of being trite, but the phrase “beside every great man is a great woman” was never truer. (Photo: Courtesy)

She fights in me and conquers in me, and I live and breathe in her, and owe my life and being to her.”—Don Quixote on his Dulcinea

Just as the story of Don Quixote cannot be told without telling the tale of his beloved Dulcinea, Don Gilberto Mendoza’s story, the story of a life of a gentleman, cannot be told without mentioning his beloved Elena Lucia Guadalupe Alvarado.

For 46 years she has stood side-by-side with Don Gilberto in the many battles he fought.  Whether he was falling off a horse or tilting at windmills, whether he was regarded as a hero or perhaps, who knows, a madman, she was always there for him, no matter the circumstance.

Elena Lucia Guadalupe was a leader in boxing, scouts, and politics. She was a proud citizen of El Palmar, a mother and devoted wife who was with Don Gilberto every step of the way. I might be accused of being trite, but the phrase “beside every great man is a great woman” was never truer.

Don Gilberto and Elena he met over 40 years ago in Yaritagua, in the state of Yaracuy, which is located in western Venezuela. That place is a fundamental part of their story, not only because that is where they met, but also because Gilberto embraced Yaritagua as his home. Today there are countless people, cousins, brothers, uncles, nephews and grandchildren that function as a single unit and thanks to the union between Elena and Don Gilberto.

Their marriage produced three children: Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, José Alfredo Mendoza, and Maria Elena Mendoza Alvarado. The second child died very young. It was a blow they endured together.

In the words of her son, Gilberto Jesus Mendoza Alvarado, President of the WBA, she was always in Don Gilberto’s corner, even when she was not physically present. The day he had to address the Directorate, from his hospital bed, at the 94th WBA Convention in Panama City in December, Don Gilberto said he was not in good health but always got strength when he thought of Elena, “No, kidding,” he said. “There is photo of Elena I’m going to see it as we speak.” And as he spoke, with the portrait of Elena Lucia Guadalupe in sight, he added, “because she has three names,” taking the time to pronounce each of them.

She was there at every step, at every bend in the road. Of the morning in which Gilberto Mendoza recorded, through voice notes, his resignation speech, Elena said, “Until five o’clock it was, ‘we can do it, let’s do it, let’s do it together!’” She did not sleep all night. The doctors called at five or six o’clock to announce that they were going to operate. Elena got upset, but Don Gilberto reassured her, “Today is the day of Santa Lucia, which will illuminate the operation.”

If the word courage can be used, in its entirety, to define Gilberto Mendoza, it no less defines Elena, who in recent months has continued to stand by his side, despite the moments of weakness. She scolded him when necessary, but loved him always, and they continued to endure. She encouraged him, laughed with him, and cried with him. They were together every minute of every day, to share the time, to share a meal, or simply to watch a movie together, so that neither of them would ever be alone.

Don Gilberto Mendoza was a knight in shining armor. It was a moment of inspiration that this knight found Elena Lucia Guadalupe, who is as much the heroine of his story as she is of her own.

 

This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.


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