Remarks at Rhonda's Life Celebration
Our Dearest Rhonda,
I’m very happy to be here today, with the light of the sun around the friends that has accompanied you during all your life.
I do appreciate the will of the Organizing Committee to bring me here, your own country, remembering and making this joint homage to you: a tribute that brings images, thoughts and heart feelings of a multidimensional portrait that we are painting and building up to day. Right now, you are maybe recognizing yourself… or you are maybe surprised hearing us, from a level of pure awareness.
I hope you remember when we met in 1990 in Argentina. It was one of the Feminist Latin American and Caribbean Meetings and you came directly to me showing your interest in the Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network that I was running. You wanted to know everything about our activities, campaigns and groups and NGOs in América del Sur and Central America.
Since that year our friendship continued to grow and you began to come to Santiago staying in Santa Sofía, the place where I live, in the pre-cordillera over the city. You also became a good friend with my partner Nana until the point that once you stayed to take care of her during a week after her surgery, while I was travelling. Another time you wanted to come with a friend, I imagined a lover, but you arrived with three gorgeous women that are here today. With them we enjoyed music and the inspired spirit and keen humour they have.
Rhonda, you were certainly not a common women or an ordinary US citizen. You rejected many characteristics of the North American Empire.
You were always aware of the damage and implications of the so-called values and objectives of the imperialistic global economy. Precisely because of that, you challenged the most cherished and protected tendencies of this kind of market economy seeing their negative implications for countries in the global South.
You found repulsive the ignorant arrogance of believing that there are superior people that must own and control other countries resources. You couldn’t stand the fake “nice and supportive” interventionist foreign policy machinations and manoeuvring in the national politics and policies of other countries.
You strongly rejected war, and you did it denouncing specific ways of torture that thousand of women suffered in wars and defending some of them too. For you, sexual and reproductive rights were human rights. You had a pristine view about injustice. I saw you feeling quite uncomfortable when there were unfair human situations. This clarity and commitment were due to your embedded sense of justice, to your compassionate heart. We could touch both of them… they became tangible and concrete in your choice to buy used cars; in the selection of the presents you bought for your friends in every trip… they were made always by artisans and indigenous peoples in their countries; in the gorgeous present for Elena’s birthday, a women that worked for Nana and still works for me in Santa Sofía, buying her a stove to heat the house in Winter.
Your last intervention in Chile, in support of the Inter-American Court against the Mexican State for the assassination of three Mexican young women in Juarez, showed once again, despite how you were feeling and how tired you were in physical weakness, your iron will and your brilliant and smart speech and knowledge giving the Court tools to face the procrastination of the Mexican State.
You do know dearest Rhonda that your already excessive number of friends grew a lot in Chile. All my good friends became your friends and they are sending today all their love.
Helas! My dearest, I wonder, when will you return again to this illusionistic, elusive and weird world. We need your analysis, your commitment, your energy and vision to transform this so damaged place into a better and softer one.