Sister Dianna Ortiz, Spokesperson For Those Tortured by Authoritarians

When I was growing up and I became aware of the news of the world, I developed a deep admiration for the Catholic priests, nuns, and lay people in the Philippines and in Latin America who were speaking out against the authoritarian governments in their countries during the 1970s and 1980s. I would read in the San Jose Mercury News and in magazines how these Catholics would speak out for the poor and indigenous people, and they would risk their lives to call out the human rights abuses of the military and security forces.

Though I had never heard of Sister Dianna Ortiz until I read her obituary last week, Sister Ortiz represents the courage of those Catholics who spoke out for democracy against both right wing and left wing authoritarian regimes.

After making her final vows as an Ursuline nun, Sister Dianna Ortiz became a missionary in Guatemala in 1987 and dedicated herself to teaching the Mayan children of San Miguel Acatan. This simple decision would place Dianna in the heart of unforeseen and incredible danger and alter the course of her life.

In Guatemala, while working with people who had been victimized by one of the most oppressive regimes of Latin America, she received warning to stop her work and to leave the country. She did not heed the warning. As a result, on November 2, 1989, she was abducted and forced to endure unspeakable horrors of torture.

While under torture Sr. Dianna made a promise to those whose screams of pain she heard: “If I survive, I will never forget you. I will tell the world what I have seen and heard.”

In 2007 Sister Dianna came to New Zealand to share her story. She spoke out for the plight of torture victims for the rest of her life.

About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Angelo Lopez has had illustrations published in Tikkun Magazine, the Palo Alto Daily News and Z Magazine. From April 2008 to May 2011, Angelo's cartoons were regularly published in the Tri-City Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers the Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Neward, Sunol and Union City areas in California. He did a political webcomic starring his cartoon character Jasper for the progressive blogsite Everyday Citizen. Since December 2011, Angelo does a regular weekly political cartoon for the Philippine News Today, a Filipino American newspaper based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Angelo is a member of the Sunnyvale Art Club, and the Northern California chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. During the 1990s, he was a member of the part-timer workers SEIU unit in the city of Sunnyvale. Angelo won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 and 2018 Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial cartooning for newspapers with a circulation under 100,000. He has also won the 2016 RFK Book and Journalism Award for Editorial Cartoons. Angelo won first prize for the Best of the West contest in 2016 and third prize in 2017. Angelo is married to Lisa Reeber. They enjoy taking walks, watching movies and hanging out with their nieces.
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