Tell Mother I'm in Paradise: Memoirs of a Political Prisoner in El Salvador

Tell Mother I'm in Paradise: Memoirs of a Political Prisoner in El Salvador

Tell Mother I'm in Paradise: Memoirs of a Political Prisoner in El Salvador

Tell Mother I'm in Paradise: Memoirs of a Political Prisoner in El Salvador

Hardcover(1st Edition)

    Qualifies for Free Shipping
    Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Thursday, June 15

    Sorry! Store Pickup is currently unavailable.


The life and times of Ana Margarita Gasteazoro: political activist, clandestine operative, and prisoner of conscience
Ana Margarita Gasteazoro (1950-1993) was a Salvadoran opposition activist and renowned Amnesty International prisoner of conscience. Tell Mother I’m in Paradise:Memoirs of a Political Prisoner in El Salvador recounts her extraordinary life story. From a privileged Catholic upbringing, with time spent studying and working abroad, Ana Margarita first became a member of the legal political opposition in the late 1970s and later a clandestine operative at work against the brutal military junta.

Gasteazoro recounts her early rebellion against the strictures of conservative upper-class Salvadoran society. She spoke perfect English and discovered a talent for organizing in administrative jobs abroad and at home. As the civil war progressed, she quickly became a valued figure in the National Revolutionary Movement (MNR), a social democratic party, often representing it at international meetings. Against the backdrop of massive social oppression and the “disappearances” of thousands of opposition members, Gasteazoro began a double life as an operative in a faction of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN). Multitalented and energetic, she organized safe houses for fellow activists, transported weapons and equipment, wrote scripts for an underground radio station, and produced an award-winning documentary film. But the toll on her family life and personal relationships was heavy.

Ana Margarita was disappeared in May 1981 by the infamous National Guard and endured a nightmare 11 days of interrogations, beatings, and abuse. Through international pressure and the connections of her family, her arrest was finally made public, and she was transferred to the women’s prison at Ilopango. There, she and other activists continued the political struggle through the Committee of Political Prisoners of El Salvador (COPPES). During her two years in prison, tested by hunger strikes, violence, and factional divisions, she became one of Amnesty International’s best-known prisoners of conscience. Tell Mother I’m in Paradise is a gripping story of a self-aware activist and a vital young woman’s struggle to find her own way within a deeply conservative society.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780817321215
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
Publication date: 04/19/2022
Edition description: 1st Edition
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Ana Margarita Gasteazoro (1950-1993) was a Salvadoran political activist and prisoner of conscience.
Judy Blankenship is a writer and photojournalist. Among her books are Our House in the Clouds: Building a Second Life in the Andes of Ecuador and Cañar: A Year in the Highlands of Ecuador.
Andrew Wilson is a writer, editor, and translator. He is author of Translators on Translating: Inside the Invisible Art and coauthor of A Fiery Soul: The Life and Theatrical Times of John Hirsch.

Table of Contents

List of Figures ix

Preface Judy Blankenship xi

Introduction Erik Ching xvii

Abbreviations xxix

Prologue 1

Part I A Nice Girl like Me

1 My Family and Other Contradictions 7

2 Wanderings of a Salvadoran Black Sheep 20

3 Jamaica 27

Part II A Nice Country like El Salvador

4 Getting Involved 35

5 International Work 46

6 Repression Grows 61

7 Civil War 69

8 Double Life 83

9 Making a Movie 91

10 Domestic Notes from the Underground 100

11 The Not-So-Final Offensive 111

12 Woman in a Man's World 119

13 Disappeared: "Nobody Knows, Nobody Cares" 126

14 "I've Brought You My Dog Princess" 137

Part III A Nice Prison like Ilopango

15 First Day in Prison 151

16 Organizing Inside 158

17 Relations with the Outside 175

18 The Struggle Inside 183

19 The Commons and the Authorities 189

20 Keeping Busy 195

21 Discipline 205

22 A Strike, a Murder, and a Suicide 218

23 Freedom 225

Epilogue Judy Blankenship Andrew Wilson 235

Acknowledgments 237

Notes 239

Index 245

Customer Reviews