Peru: María Cleofé Sumire de Conde

For us, women, peace is justice. It is respect for our original culture.

— María Cleofé Sumire de Conde

María Cleofé Sumire López (54) was born in Cuzco, Peru. She followed the path of her father, who was arrested several times because of his fight for land on behalf of the peasants. She lived through the aggression of the Sendero Luminoso and the military. She also experienced exile. María Cleofé created the Andean Women's Association (AMA). She graduated as a lawyer in order to fight more effectively for women's rights.

María Cleofé Sumire López was born in Cuzco, where the Apus hills meet the sky and take care of the land's heart. In the heights of those hills, where she nurtures the dreams of many people, she fell in love and had two children. Her father was an indigenous leader. He was arrested several times after making land claims for the peasants. María Cleofé has experienced very difficult times. She has faced violence, threats and exile. Determined and with a desire to fulfill her aspirations, she entered university and, in 2003, after 20 years, she graduated as a lawyer – so she could be better prepared for the fight for women's rights, for the fight for her people. Long before, in the 1960s, when in Cuzco the peasant movement made massive land claims, she had to leave the country because of the aggression of Sendero Luminoso, and she suffered discrimination and racism. She created the Andean Women's Association (AMA) through a network of committees and mothers clubs. She held training courses for women, encouraging them to feel recognized as citizens in their own right. “I feel impotent, because I cannot change this world; I feel pain, because of the injustice in my country. Everything that happened in the past has marked me, has affected me and made me stronger and more able to move forward.” For María Cleofé, peace is justice.

Andean Women's Association (AMA)