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Ana Paula, Ana, Daniel, and Sally

Date: Apr 16, 2019

Author: Lisa Haugaard

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Ana Paula Hernández. She was a warm, big-hearted woman who was the perfect person to spearhead grantmaking for Latin America at the Global Fund for Human Rights. She knew the whole terrain of human rights and grassroots organizations in Central America and Mexico. She had been a human rights advocate herself as former deputy director of the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. And she cared. She always made time for everyone. She was a passionate person and a funder with heart and soul.

Sally O’Neill. What can I say about Sally? An intrepid, fearless, enchanting Irishwoman who had been an aid worker and leader with the humanitarian agency Trócaire in many war-torn parts of the world, including El Salvador where she visited El Mozote to investigate reports of the massacre, releasing information that made its way into international headlines. Then she settled in Honduras and supported human rights work there with Trócaire, where I met her while looking at the murders of peasant activists taking place in Bajo Aguán. Allegedly retired from Trócaire, she continued to consult with the Global Fund. She was keenly analytical about how to best support social movements, but she was also immensely kind-spirited. Above all, she was so damn funny and seemed to enjoy every moment. I last saw her in Tegucigalpa just a few weeks ago, regaling company in a restaurant. “Lisa,” she said, “We have to meet next time you are here!”

Daniel Tuc. My colleague Daniella and I just met Daniel a few weeks ago, when he drove us around Guatemala City. He told us stories of driving Moriah Fund and Global Fund staff all over Guatemala and other parts of Central America. He was so content with the role he had crafted for himself aiding these important international efforts. He talked so proudly to us of his sons.

Ana Velásquez. I did not have the privilege to know Ana Velásquez, a representative of the Mayan Peoples’ Congress of Guatemala. Only twenty-two years old, she had so much more to give.

All four died in a tragic car accident in Guatemala on Sunday, April 7. Human rights communities in Central America, Mexico, the United States, Ireland and elsewhere are deeply saddened by this loss. Here at the Latin America Working Group, my colleague Daniella Burgi-Palomino and I express our deepest condolences to the families, friends, grantees, and colleagues of all four wonderful people. The world is a little less vivid without them.