Maria Teresa Tula viuda de Canales is a Salvadoran woman seeking political asylum in the United States. In El Salvador she worked with Comadres, an organization of women formed to seek disappeared family members. She became active in Comadres as a result of the imprisonment, torture, and eventual assassination of her husband.
In 1984 Comadres was chosen to receive the Robert F. Kennedy Award for its work in human rights and Tula was selected to come to Washington to accept it. The State Department denied her a visa, claiming that she had communist connections. In El Salvador over the next two years, Tula was arrested, raped, tortured, and beaten.
When she got out of jail she and her two young children came to seek political asylum in the United States. Since her arrival in the U.S., Comadres has been subjected to increasing repression by the government of El Salvador. In the summer of1987 a bomb exploded in its offices, killing one of its members.
Tula has filed her application for political asylum, which is receiving wide support from many members of Congress.
Michael Ratner; with Claudia Slovinsky and Judy Rabinowitz