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

Tell Mother I'm in Paradise: Memoirs of a Political Prisoner in El Salvador By Judy Blankenship (Editor), Ana Margarita Gasteazoro, Andrew Wilson (Editor), Erik Ching (Introduction by) Cover Image

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

By Judy Blankenship (Editor), Ana Margarita Gasteazoro, Andrew Wilson (Editor), Erik Ching (Introduction by)

$34.95


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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.
 
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.
 
Product Details ISBN: 9780817321215
ISBN-10: 0817321217
Publisher: University Alabama Press
Publication Date: April 19th, 2022
Pages: 280
Language: English
“Wrenching… Remarkable stories… [A] multilayered, affecting first-person narrative of a young woman’s radicalization during a turbulent time of repression by El Salvador’s government and military… A harrowing firsthand look at the Salvadoran civil war and its enormous human toll.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“As a journalist visiting El Salvador during its brutal civil war, I met Ana Margarita Gasteazoro in the women’s prison of Ilopango. I was struck by her passion for justice, her honesty, and her compassion for what the people of her country have suffered. The same qualities shine through in this book. Judy Blankenship and Andrew Wilson have done a great service in making this remarkable woman’s story available to readers. I hope they will be as inspired and moved by it as I am.”
—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
 

“Deeply self-reflective and powerfully narrated, [Gasteazoro’s] memoir Tell Mother I’m in Paradise offers a complex portrait of a woman who transgressed multiple social worlds. Gasteazoro intimately describes how ordinary Salvadorans survived state terror and organized revolution. The memoir is a gem of a source that will capture the attention and hearts of multiple audiences.”
—NACLA

“Wrenching… Remarkable stories… [A] multilayered, affecting first-person narrative of a young woman’s radicalization during a turbulent time of repression by El Salvador’s government and military… A harrowing firsthand look at the Salvadoran civil war and its enormous human toll.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“As a journalist visiting El Salvador during its brutal civil war, I met Ana Margarita Gasteazoro in the women’s prison of Ilopango. I was struck by her passion for justice, her honesty, and her compassion for what the people of her country have suffered. The same qualities shine through in this book. Judy Blankenship and Andrew Wilson have done a great service in making this remarkable woman’s story available to readers. I hope they will be as inspired and moved by it as I am.”
—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
 

“Deeply self-reflective and powerfully narrated, [Gasteazoro’s] memoir Tell Mother I’m in Paradise offers a complex portrait of a woman who transgressed multiple social worlds. Gasteazoro intimately describes how ordinary Salvadorans survived state terror and organized revolution. The memoir is a gem of a source that will capture the attention and hearts of multiple audiences.”
—NACLA

“Wrenching…. Remarkable stories…. [A] multilayered, affecting first-person narrative of a young woman’s radicalization during a turbulent time of repression by El Salvador’s government and military.… A harrowing firsthand look at the Salvadoran civil war and its enormous human toll.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“As a journalist visiting El Salvador during its brutal civil war, I met Ana Margarita Gasteazoro in the women’s prison of Ilopango. I was struck by her passion for justice, her honesty, and her compassion for what the people of her country have suffered. The same qualities shine through in this book. Judy Blankenship and Andrew Wilson have done a great service in making this remarkable woman’s story available to readers. I hope they will be as inspired and moved by it as I am.”
—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
 

Tell Mother I’m in Paradise is a beautifully told story of a woman searching for fulfillment who finds her purpose in a cause greater than herself. This is a powerful—and rare—feminist account of political agitation, revolution, imprisonment, and family told without apology or second-guessing. Ana Margarita Gasteazoro’s confidence, courage, and glamour are rendered with such warmth and intimacy that the reader feels they’ve connected with a long-lost friend.”
—Eileen Markey, author of A Radical Faith: The Assassination of Sister Maura

“Gasteazoro’s riveting account tells the story of an unlikely revolutionary who turned against her class to join the national liberation movement that fought the US-backed military dictatorship to a draw after twelve years of civil war. Her narrative is at once harrowing and disarming, insightful and inspiring.”
—Jacobin 

 

Tell Mother I’m in Paradise is a beautifully told story of a woman searching for fulfillment who finds her purpose in a cause greater than herself. This is a powerful—and rare—feminist account of political agitation, revolution, imprisonment, and family told without apology or second-guessing. Ana Margarita Gasteazoro’s confidence, courage, and glamour are rendered with such warmth and intimacy that the reader feels they’ve connected with a long-lost friend.”
—Eileen Markey, author of A Radical Faith: The Assassination of Sister Maura