Loyda Rodríguez, mother of the abducted child Anyelí Liseth Hernández Rodríguez, answers questions from the press today inside the offices of Fundación Sobrevivientes in Guatemala City, Guatemala. A little over a week ago, a Guatemalan judge ruled that the American couple who adopted Anyelí believing her to be an orphan must return her. [read more]
During the press conference, Loyda sat just outside of the office of Sobrevivientes director Norma Cruz, in front of a perpetual shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe. Every time I’ve ever visited the foundation, there’s been a scattering of offerings at the Virgin’s feet: roses, candles, leaves, petals. The ritual is taken seriously, as Cruz is a woman of faith. In fact, she almost became a nun.
A slightly modified excerpt from chapter seven of Finding Fernanda:
As a young teenager, Norma’s favorite uncle, a social Democrat farmer who believed in the possibilities offered by social equity and agrarian land reform, influenced her politics. While she was still a girl, the Guatemalan Army mistook him for a communist and shot him dead in his home. Other members of Norma’s family were “disappeared” during wartime, taken without explanation. She turned to prayer for solace and strength, leaving the capital to work as a missionary spreading Christianity in the rural region of Alta Verapaz. She’d decided to live a life committed to the Church. Yet upon her return to Guatemala City, Norma found herself reflecting on her time in the highlands, questioning how religion alone could help average Guatemalans improve their lives. I am not going to change the reality of this country by being a nun, she realized sharply.
And so, at seventeen, she took up arms with the Guerilla Army of the Poor.