Guatemala: Norma Angélica Cruz Córdoba

I have fought and I will continue to fight until the last moment. The right to life is not only the right to breathe, but it is also right to education, health and justice.

— Norma Angélica Cruz Córdoba

Norma Angélica Cruz was a student leader and a Catholic missionary, a mother, political militant and widow. A daughter of the war, she survived not only the armed violence, but also violence within her family. When her life partner abused her daughter, she took legal action against him, which led to his trial and sentence. She founded the organization Sobrevivient (Survivors) that takes care of victims of violence, including women and their families. Norma Angélica Cruz is, in Guatemala, a recognized defender of women's rights.

Norma was born in Guatemala. During her adolescence, she was a student leader and participated in the Ecclesiastical Base Communities, where she became a Catholic missionary. When she was 15 years old, she entered a convent. Two years later, she found that life in a convent was not enough for her, and she opted for political militancy. In December 1996, after 36 years of war, the government of Guatemala and the guerrillas (National Revolutionary Guatemalan Unit) signed the Peace Agreement that put an end to the armed conflict. With the end of the war, aspects of the society - that had been hidden - became perceptible, like violence within families, for example. In 1999, Norma took legal actions against her life partner, for the abuses to which he had subjected her daughter to. The abuser was condemned. Mother and daughter founded the association called Sobrevivient (Survivors). It was created to take care of the victims of domestic violence–the women themselves and the rest of their families. A diminutive woman with liquid eyes, she thinks that a part of the struggle is decoding pain and going back following its tracks. “Deciding to break the silence is to start traveling along the path. Afterwards, comes the hardest part.” Her life is an ode to hope. She dreams of a world that fully values the resources of nature and the beauty of the human being. She dreams of a world without war, where there is no place for the trading of arms, a society without inequalities or discrimination, where opportunities for schools, food, health and work are abundant. “That is the kind of life that I would want for my children. That is the life I fight for.”

Sobrevivient (Survivors) Tierra Viva (Live Land)