Patricia Guadalupe García Panameño, PRESENTE!
Paty, Patricia, Hija de la Madre Alicia, daughter of Madre Alicia, Fiel luchadora de los derechos humanos, faithful defender of human rights, voz para la verdad y la justicia, voice for truth and justice, te extrañamos, we miss you, te recordamos, we remember you. Patricia Garcia, Presente!
The day of the Salvadoran presidential elections, Patricia Garcia, president of Comadres and life-long defender of human rights drew her last breath, ending a painful struggle with cancer. No words seem sufficient to truly express Patricia’s spirit, courage, humility, commitment, and beauty.
Patricia grew up in the midst of the Christian Base communities, in the times when it was a crime to carry a Bible, with Monseñor Romero as light and guide. She accompanied her mother, Alicia Garcia and other members of Comadres in search of their disappeared loved ones, including her uncle. When she and her family had to flee to Mexico in 1979, Monseñor Romero helped them find families to stay with and visited them there. When Patricia returned to El Salvador, she helped care for the children of the Comadres as they searched for their loved ones, and helped take the mothers’ testimonies. In the late 80s Salvadoran security forces captured, imprisoned, and tortured Paty. Only through a pressure campaign supported by Edward Kennedy was she released.
Patricia worked alongside Alicia Garcia accompanying las Comadres in the struggle for justice as well as their daily struggles for subsistence, and sharing their testimonies with countless delegations and visitors. Patricia said that her mother taught her that every victim is a gem and should be treated as such. With her gentle spirit, Paty showed profound love in her interactions with the madres of Comadres. Her eyes held a glow of humor, compassion, and thoughtfulness.