I was born in Lima, Peru in 1950 to a political activist family, during the military dictatorship of Manuel A. Odria. I remember the first few years of my life as a time of great pressure for my family. A party they supported was proscribed, and its members were repressed and persecuted.
“We could see the Presidential Palace directly from our balcony, one block away. It was a dark presence during my early childhood, until 1956 when we had democratic elections."
My education, first in an English school and later with Franciscan nuns, created a yearning for life abroad, mixed with the need to help people of lesser means. I spent my high school senior year in the United States in 1968. It was during the Vietnam-era when I became aware of US politics, which was further shaped during my college years at Peru's Catholic University’s School of Journalism.
In 1975 I became a news reporter for the national network, Telecentro, and later for Panamericana Television in Lima, Peru.
In 1981, I was selected to represent the South American region in a three-month training program for young journalists at the United Nations. During that time I started reporting news from the UN to my TV station. A year later I decided to emigrate to the US for good and work as Foreign Correspondent for Channel 5 in Lima, and later for Channel 2. I also worked for the UN Radio Ibero-American Service and Worldwide Television News, as a producer and assignment editor. In 1985, I joined the Spanish News Service at The Associated Press in New York, as an editor and translator.
During my 30 years at the AP I was a strong organizer for the News Media Guild-CWA and in 2008 I went to Mexico to organize a union at the Regional Spanish Service. That brought several positive labor changes to my colleagues in that office.
In the last decade, I began to train in documentary and filmmaking at New York University to achieve a longtime goal to document the contemporary history of my native Peru.
“I started investigating the killings of eight journalists in Uchuraccay because I worked with five of them. It was only until I had a dream about the premiere of this film and Willy Retto thanked me for the making it, that I realized I had to make this documentary my life's work." (www.uchuraccay.com)
In mid-2014, I retired from the AP to finish my documentary project, yet a twist in a long investigation and lack of funding has prolonged that effort.
It was in July 2015, when I decided to join the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign as a grassroots activist and co-founded Latinos for Bernie NYC. It was an intense year full of experiences that increased my awareness about the political situation and social issues in the Hispanic community around the city. We canvassed in Latino communities such as Sunset Park & Red Hook, Brooklyn; Corona, Queens; East Harlem, New York, and the Bronx. Also in several states: New Hampshire, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington D.C.
I was elected delegate for Bernie Sanders in Congressional District 7 and attended the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. After the convention, I was disillusioned and extremely disappointed with the way the Democratic Party was connected to corporate money and dismissed important issues like fracking and health care reform from its platform. I was convinced that the primary elections were rigged particularly in New York.
With the mayhem that evolved during the campaign, I and other Berniecrats decided to leave the Democratic Party and gravitated to the Green Party, as a group called Berning Green. We will continue the political revolution with the Green Party, while some have decided to run for office at the local level, where real changes take root.
I live in Red Hook and have three daughters and five grandchildren.