Laura E. Asturias
Guatemalan activist Laura Asturias is said to have “graduated in journalism with a Master in Indignation.” A relentless advocate for women’s and children’s rights, she served as one of the eight magistrates of conscience in the First Tribunal of Conscience on Violence Against Women in Guatemala in 1998. Also an outspoken critic of her government’s policies toward “sexual minorities,” Asturias has hosted workshops on sexuality and HIV/AIDS prevention to women and youth.
Since 1997, most of her time has been devoted to single-handedly producing Tertulia, a weekly electronic magazine that focuses on women’s human, sexual and reproductive rights. It is the only extensive, gender-sensitive news service distributed by e-mail from Central America. In 2001, the International Planned Parenthood Federation recognized her considerable efforts and dedication with a special citation in the Rosa Cisneros Memorial Information Award.
As a weekly columnist for the daily Siglo Veintiuno, she constantly denounces the widespread abuse of women and children in her country. Also co-editor of La Cuerda, the only mass-media feminist publication in Guatemala, Asturias received the 1999 UNICEF Award for Excellence in Journalism.
In an atmosphere where violations of women’s rights and acts of corruption by the current government are rampant, Asturias “is amazed every day that Guatemalan women have not lost the ability to care, to give...and to laugh.”