08 Aug 2011

The Author

Author of the award-winning book Finding Fernanda. Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. Redux Pictures photographer. Read more here.


8/8/11: Loyda Rodríguez Addresses the Media in Guatemala

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.

  1. I have a few questions. Is the attorney who handled the Karen Abigail/Anyeli case currently facing any charges? Is she in jail? Thank you.

  2. Erin: Nice quote on Norma’s background. What an interesting human rights defender she is. The word courage does not even begin to describe Norma who lives with body guards as a result of her stance on violence against women and advocacy for these cases.

  3. The deadline now has passed. Any updates?

  4. Good question, Kim– I’ve been waiting to hear back from the Department of Justice and Interpol. I’ll post more when I know more.

  5. I heard that the adoptive parents hired a PR firm. There is very little on the internet on this case. I think they are stuffing the story. It needs some more exposure.

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