My friend Danielle Mackey has a powerful article in the National Catholic Reporter telling the story of Patricia Garcia, one of the activists of the Committee of Mothers of Political Prisoners and the Disappeared (COMADRES), titled A Life Committed to Finding the Truth.
An excerpt from this story tells of Patricia's return to El Salvador after fleeing the country at the beginning of the civil war:
Ten months later, antsy to return to her family, Pati renounced her exile in Mexico and caught a bus to El Salvador. She found her home abandoned, her family disappeared. She ran to the archbishop’s office. “Monsignor Romero told me that if I wanted to stay, I could not continue to work within the church because it was too dangerous. ‘A terrible violence is coming,’ he said. He counseled me to work with the COMADRES instead.”
The Committee of Mothers of Political Prisoners and the Disappeared (COMADRES) were women all across the country who shared a common horror. Their loved ones were victims of the government’s tactic for silencing perceived or actual dissent — a tactic so widespread throughout Latin America in the 1980s that it became a noun: “the disappeared.” Citizens were abducted from public buses in the middle of the day or hauled from the family home at midnight. They were jailed, often without any paperwork so that their presence could not be proven, and held for interrogation and torture. Although thousands of the disappeared were never heard from again, some were freed after pressure on the government. For family members of the disappeared, the key was to find where the government was hiding their loved one before it was too late.Read the entire story at Danielle's blog, Grit and Grace.