Honduras: Bertha Oliva Guiffarro de Nativí

We have learned to live together, to work, to give, to embrace our pain. I maintain categorically that there is no resentment, but pain and hope, always hope.

— Bertha Oliva Guiffarro de Nativí

When Bertha was about 20 years old, she fell in love with “the tenderest man in the world.” Both were in love with a world they wanted to change. They fought for bread and smiles. One night in 1981, he was kidnapped. He is one of the 184 missing people in the country. Bertha Oliva de Nativí is today the General Coordinator of the Committee of Relatives of Missing Prisoners in Honduras (Cofadeh). This organization was founded by Bertha, along with other women like her, who are searching for their loved ones.

“They entered my home, killed our friend, and beat my husband until he was unconscious. Just before he became unconscious, he said to me: ‘They may leave you alive to give birth to our son.’” On that day, in 1981, Bertha Oliva de Nativí was 25 years old. She continued to fight for justice. Without a father and with a mother obliged to hide her real name, the boy was born secretly. Bertha Oliva de Nativí's husband is one of the 184 missing people in Honduras. That was the information given, some years ago, by the National Committee for Human Rights. Bertha was the driving force behind the creation of this committee, along with her companions in the Committee of Relatives of Missing Prisoners in Honduras (Cofadeh), created by them, in 1982. “Since then, we have planted ourselves in La Merced Park, on the first Friday, of every month. They look at us with contempt and call us the lepers. Slowly, we have demonstrated that those with leprosy in their souls are the ones capable of causing so much hurt.” In 1987, Honduras became the first state to be condemned by the Inter-American Court for Human Rights. One year later, a new case, this time concerning disappearances, was presented to the Court by their organization, the Committee of Relatives of Missing Prisoners in Honduras, achieving a similar sentence. They have managed to cause the dissolution of the Department of National Investigations–“the most criminal body in the country”–the repeal of Compulsory Military Service and, in 1992, the liberation of the last political prisoners.

Comité de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos en Honduras (Cofadeh)