Peru honors "Mama Angelica," advocate for terror victims

"Mamá Angélica".

"Mamá Angélica".

12:37 | Lima, Sep. 11.

By Martin Villena

The Peruvian Justice Ministry on Sunday paid a posthumous tribute to Angelica Mendoza de Ascarza, the late peasant woman turned human rights activist who came to be known as "Mama Angelica."

Mama Angelica passed away on August 28 at the age of 88 having spent the last thirty-plus-years of her life searching for her son Arquimedes Ascarza, abducted at gunpoint in ground zero Ayacucho during Peru's 20-year terror episode. She never saw him again. 

"Mama Angelica is an example of strength and perseverance who managed to pick herself up after her son's disappearance and strived for justice and dignity," said Justice and Human Rights Minister Maria Soledad Perez Tello.

And she did not fight alone. After coming across countless similar tragedies, Mama Angelica and other poor women who had lost their loved ones to the armed conflict founded the National Association of Families of the Kidnapped, Detained and Disappeared of Peru (ANFASEP).

Overall, ANFASEP gathered more than 500 women like Angelica, whom she taught to speak up for their children. 

While focusing on those who went missing, Angelica did not neglect the ones who were left behind. She also opened a soup kitchen for terrorism orphans. 

As part of the homage, Minister Perez Tello highlighted Mama Angelica's contribution to the adoption of justice, truth and memory policies. 

These include a comprehensive redress plan for terror victims and a law regulating the search for the disappeared during the armed conflict. 

The Inca nation's dark 1980-2000 terrorism episode is estimated to have claimed over 69,000 lives, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)

Held at Lima's Space for Memory, Tolerance and Social Inclusion (LUM), the ceremony saw the presence of Ministers Salvador del Solar (Culture) and Carlos Basombrio (Interior), as well as other political figures. 


Published: 9/11/2017