“It´s hard to understand and accept death when you don´t see the effects of it.”
– Gisela Ortiz, referring to the pain of a disappeared loved one
In my final installment of interviews related to the ongoing Fujimori trial and the current state of human rights in Peru, I bring back a familiar face.
On the first day of the Cantuta memorials at the EPAF office, I had the opportunity to sit down with Gisela Ortiz, sister of fallen La Cantuta student Luis Enrique Ortiz. Ortiz, who had enrolled at the university at La Cantuta with plans to teach linguistics and literature, was just 20 years old when her brother was disappeared by the Colina death squad on July 18, 1992.
For the last 16 years, Ortiz has fought incessantly in honor of the Cantuta 10, relegating her studies, career, and the potential of a family of her own to the side. Her own personal ventures – including helping run her family´s small pharmacy in Chachapoyas and the cultivation of a small organic coffee farm – came to a standstill once legal proceedings began against Colina.
Since the restitution of her brother´s remains and their subsequent burial a few days later, Ortiz now awaits the sentencing of Fujimori as the last necessary piece in her 16-year fight for justice. Her work on behalf of victims of Peru´s brutal civil conflict, however, is far from over.[youtube]kEtVUSh3LTI[/youtube]
Posted By Ash Kosiewicz
Posted Aug 15th, 2008