The Defenders :: Sister Dianna Ortiz

Sister Dianna Ortiz. Photo by Eddie Adams
Sister Dianna Ortiz. Photo by Eddie Adams

“To this day, I can smell the decomposing bodies, disposed of in an open pit. I can hear the piercing screams of other people being tortured.” Dianna Ortiz is an Ursuline nun from New Mexico who journeyed to Guatemala in the early 1980s as a missionary, teaching Mayan children. After months of receiving threats, Ortiz was abducted and brutally raped in November 1989. One of the men overseeing the torture appeared to be American. Ortiz's ordeal did not end with her escape. Her torment continued as she sought answers from the U.S. government about the identity of her torturers in her quest for justice. Ortiz's raw honesty and capacity to articulate the agony she suffered compelled the United States to declassify long-secret files on Guatemala, and shed light on some of the darkest moments of Guatemalan history and American foreign policy.


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