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Carranza, María Mercedes (1945–2003)

Carranza, María Mercedes (1945–2003)

Colombian poet, journalist and political activist. Name variations: Maria Mercedes Carranza. Born Mar 24, 1945, in Bogotá, Colombia; committed suicide, July 11, 2003, in Bogotá; dau. of Eduardo Carranza (poet, consular representative) and Rosa Coronado; m. Fernando Garavito; m. Juan Luis Panero, 1977 (div. 1978); children: 1 daughter.

Central figure in contemporary Colombian poetry, influenced by Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, Catalan anarchism, and social movements of 1960s, was a member of the "disenchanted" generation; wrote critically of roles assigned to women in patriarchal society but eschewed the label of feminism, preferring a class-based analysis of social inequality; served as founding director (1986–2003) of private foundation and cultural community center Casa de Poesía Silva (Silva House of Poetry); worked as cultural journalist for El Siglo (The Century) in Bogotá, and El Pueblo (The People) in Cali, Colombia; served as chief editor of magazine Nueva Frontera (New Frontier) for 13 years, and wrote for Semana (Week); joined Alianza Nacional M-19 (M-19 National Alliance, 1990) and was 1 of 4 women elected to National Constitutional Assembly, which proclaimed new constitution for Colombia (1991); as political activist, fought for abortion rights, rights of women and children, religious freedom, cultural pluralism, freedom of information, democratization of mass-media ownership, and extradition of Colombians as legal tool against drug traffickers; committed suicide (2003), despairing of deaths of many close friends (including Luis Carlos Galán, presidential candidate assassinated by mafia hitmen in 1989), the kidnapping of her brother Ramiro, and Colombia's descent into civil crisis. Writings include Tengo miedo (I Am Afraid, 1983), Hola soledad (Hello Solitude, 1987), Amor y desamor (Love and Disenchantment, 1994), and El canto de las moscas (The Song of the Flies, 1998).

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