Madrecita Amparo, a Riañesa for the Nobel Peace Prize

Few better ways to start the year than with one of those admirable women from León, spread all over the world, doing an invaluable work, sometimes little recognized and, even, unknown and forgotten. It could be the case of Amparo Carvajal Baños (Riaño, 1939), which has just made the news in the country where she decided to stay, Bolivia, as she has been named Person of the Year 2021, an award granted by the Independent Journal Page Seven and that argues the election for “its unwavering defense of Human Rights” from the Permanent Assembly of Human Rights of Bolivia, which she herself founded. It is already the second time that the Riañesa has obtained this award.

In 1974, still a nun and in hiding, she was part of the group that founded the Permanent Assembly of Human Rights of Bolivia, which currently presides overHis position in defense of Human rights and “her brave stance in the face of all injustices since 1971” also meant that the Leon was proposed for the Nobel Peace Prize: «My vote is for Amparo Carvajal, a lifetime dedicated to the defense of human rights in Bolivia, leaving behind her country and her family and facing in Bolivia to all dictatorships and authoritarian governments since 1971 ».

The date of 1971 is repeated because that was the year in which the Leonese arrived in Bolivia, as a nun, in the congregation of the Mercedarias Misioneras de Bérriz, an organization dedicated to visiting prisoners and detainees and with a lot of work in that country , then under the dictatorship of Banzer. Three years later, he is part of the group that, from underground, founded the Permanent Assembly of Human Rights of Bolivia (APDHB), of which she has been president since 2016.

1980 is the second important date in the trajectory of struggle of the leonesa. The congregation to which it belongs is expelled from the country, to end the work of people like the Leonese, but this, the Riañesa Amparo Carvajal, decides to hang up the habits and be free to maintain its clear defense of Human Rights in Bolivia. Fifty years of struggle that have found recognition (second) with the 2021 Character of the Year Award in Bolivia.

Amparo Carvajal was born in 1939 in Riaño, into a very long family of 13 siblings, most of whom still live. As in so many large families one of the ways out of the time was to go to study with a religious institution, she did it at the Mercedarias Misioneras de Bérriz, in which – due to her special dedication to the disadvantaged and forgotten – she was able to develop her high sense of Justice; hence she did not hesitate to leave the congregation when she was “pressured” to stop fighting.

In the argumentation of the award he has just been awarded Page seven do from the Bolivian newspaper a review of some of the numerous causes defended by “mother Amparo”, who called her that, especially the indigenous: In 1976 (still a nun) she was already in front of the mobilizations who demanded respect from the human rights of political prisoners; with the disabled who asked the government for a subsidy; with former President Jeanine Añez can defend themselves in Liberty for what was posted at the door of the prison; with the XI Indigenous March of the original peoples of the lowlands, which traveled the journey between Trinidad and Santa Cruz de la Sierra demanding respect for their territory; it was surrounded by coca growers for joining the indigenous people who opposed the construction of a highway; accompanied the doctor Jhiery Fernández who was convicted of a crime he never committed and also the coca grower leader of the Yungas Franclin Gutiérrez, imprisoned without evidence for 15 months … In short, a long list ‘with no more color than Justice’, that provoked attacks on her from various governments, who accused her of being at the service of the interests of “rivals” but she has always stood firm in what, she affirms, is her only commitment: “Human rights, that people can defend themselves in freedom, against abuses of power. I don’t care if they threaten me, I’m going to continue working.

And to the journalists who gave him the award, he gave a piece of advice: «Always go to the bottom of the news, because there is always a cause for everything

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Madrecita Amparo, a Riañesa for the Nobel Peace Prize