cover of book
 

Tell Mother I'm in Paradise: Memoirs of a Political Prisoner in El Salvador
edited by Judy Blankenship and Andrew Wilson
by Ana Margarita Gasteazoro
introduction by Erik Ching
University of Alabama Press, 2022
eISBN: 978-0-8173-9397-7 | Cloth: 978-0-8173-2121-5
Library of Congress Classification F1488.G37 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 972.84052092

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
The life and times of Ana Margarita Gasteazoro: political activist, clandestine operative, and prisoner of conscience
 
Ana Margarita Gasteazoro (1950–1993) was a Salvadoran opposition activist and renowned Amnesty International prisoner of conscience. Tell Mother I’m in Paradise:Memoirs of a Political Prisoner in El Salvador recounts her extraordinary life story. From a privileged Catholic upbringing, with time spent studying and working abroad, Ana Margarita first became a member of the legal political opposition in the late 1970s and later a clandestine operative at work against the brutal military junta.

Gasteazoro recounts her early rebellion against the strictures of conservative upper-class Salvadoran society. She spoke perfect English and discovered a talent for organizing in administrative jobs abroad and at home. As the civil war progressed, she quickly became a valued figure in the National Revolutionary Movement (MNR), a social democratic party, often representing it at international meetings. Against the backdrop of massive social oppression and the “disappearances” of thousands of opposition members, Gasteazoro began a double life as an operative in a faction of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN). Multitalented and energetic, she organized safe houses for fellow activists, transported weapons and equipment, wrote scripts for an underground radio station, and produced an award-winning documentary film. But the toll on her family life and personal relationships was heavy.

Ana Margarita was disappeared in May 1981 by the infamous National Guard and endured a nightmare 11 days of interrogations, beatings, and abuse. Through international pressure and the connections of her family, her arrest was finally made public, and she was transferred to the women’s prison at Ilopango. There, she and other activists continued the political struggle through the Committee of Political Prisoners of El Salvador (COPPES). During her two years in prison, tested by hunger strikes, violence, and factional divisions, she became one of Amnesty International’s best-known prisoners of conscience. Tell Mother I’m in Paradise is a gripping story of a self-aware activist and a vital young woman’s struggle to find her own way within a deeply conservative society.
 

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