The Journey From Torture to Truth: A Discussion On Terror with Chilean Writer Ariel Dorfman and Sister Dianna Ortiz, An American Nun Tortured By U.S.-Backed Guatemalan Security Forces

October 10, 2002


As the United States prepares to expand its war on terror into Iraq, we’ll discuss the meaning of terror with Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman and torture survivor Sister Dianna Ortiz.

In 1989, Sister Dianna Ortiz, an American nun, was abducted from the compound where she worked in Guatemala. Twenty-four hours later, she escaped, but within that brief period, her body had been burned with cigarettes, she’d been raped, beaten and forced to torture a woman who was already near death. In her new memoir "The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth," Ortiz writes about the real and remembered demons that she struggled with to heal herself and to spread the word about U.S. complicity in Guatemala’s repressive political system and in the torture and murder of more than 150,000 Guatemalans.

Ariel Dorfman was forced into exile from his homeland of Chile during the coup of U.S.-backed Augusto Pinochet. He was an aide to Salvador Allende, who died on September 11,1973 as the US backed General’s forces overran the palace. In his newest book "Exorcizing Terror: The Incredible Unending Trial of General Augusto Pinochet," Dorfman explores what role survivors play in struggling for a just world.


  • Ariel Dorfman, Chilean author and poet.
  • Sister Dianna Ortiz, recently published "The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth," a memoir of her experience.