Sister Dianna Ortiz, Presente!
SOA Watch mourns the death of Sister Dianna Ortiz, OSU, who passed away on February 19th. We give thanks for her life and remarkable witness for peace and justice, to end torture, and to hold the U.S. government accountable. Her spirit, strength, compassion, and courage touched many lives.
In November 1989, while serving as a Catholic nun in Guatemala, she was abducted and brutally tortured by the U.S.-backed and trained Guatemalan military, under the supervision of a person from the U.S. referred to as ‘Alejandro.’ Her subsequent quest for the truth about the role of the U.S. government in human rights abuses in Guatemala — including a five week fast in front of the White House — led to the declassification of documents that helped exposed the role of the U.S. in the genocide in Guatemala. You can read more about Dianna’s life and extraordinary work here, here, and here.
Dianna’s work with other survivors of torture led her to found the Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition (TASSC) and serve as its director for 10 years. She also worked with the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission and Pax Christi USA, where she was the deputy director at the time of her passing. Dianna contributed much to the SOA Watch movement as well, and we are deeply grateful for her life and witness.
Many in the SOA Watch movement knew Dianna or were impacted by her life and work, whether by seeing her speak or reading her memoir, The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth.
For those that would like to join in remembering and honoring her life, the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph will be livestreaming on their facebook page a Vigil Service tonight (Sunday, February 28th) at 6:30pm CST and her funeral service on Monday, March 1 at 10:30am CST. Additionally, TASSC has created a memorial page in her honor, including a page for sharing memories of Sr. Dianna.
We extend our solidarity and condolences to Dianna’s family, the Assisi Community in Washington DC, Pax Christi USA, TASSC, the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, and all who loved her.