Honduras: Irma Leticia Silva Rodríguez de Oyuela

Nietzsche was right when he said that history is life. History is a civilizing influence.

— Irma Leticia Silva Rodríguez de Oyuela

Honduras, Tegucigalpa, 1935. A middle-class girl is born. Both her parents are schoolteachers, as were her grandmother and her great-grandmother. As time goes by, she will become a lawyer. But time turns things around and Leticia de Oyuela becomes a historian, which means that, in her own way, she also becomes a teacher.

“The greatest richness I have enjoyed has been my childhood,” says Leticia Silva Rodríguez de Oyuela, with a smile, sitting in her wheelchair. However, reading her biography, you will think that the greatest richness has been her own life. All the women in her family have been teachers. “I learned to read when I was four years old. At age nine, I knew almost all the classics.” They lived in Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras. In 1932, her mother married a teacher like herself, and one year later Leticia was born. At age 12, she applied for the teacher training school, but she was rejected because of her age. She entered the Central Institute for Boys, in the annex for girls. Later on, she studied Law and married a fellow classmate. He was appointed as consul in Spain. In Europe, she studied History and Aesthetics. When she returned, she directed the Extension Department of the National University where she formed small art schools and developed a strong publishing house. In 1972, she was running the New Continent Publishing House and her Art Gallery, Leo. She took the work of several Honduran writers to international fairs and exposed them to the public. Grouped around the publishing house, there was a library, a center for antiques and plastic arts. She took 14 art exhibitions abroad. This hectic activity was suddenly cut short. She had a stroke and a heart attack. Her body was weakened, but her brain was not. She wrote history. She focused on characters that were considered secondary, which were mainly women. In an environment where women were normally relegated to a secondary role, Leticia managed to command respect as an intellectual. By explaining the role of women and the forgotten people in Honduran history, she increased national consciousness of the situation. And without consciousness peace is not possible.

National Autonomous University of Honduras Center-American Chamber of the Book International Institute for the Conservation of Monuments