By Sebastian Moraga
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Say it with me once: Muerte Digna, (Moo-ert-ay Deeg-nah)
That’s how you pronouce “death with dignity” in Spanish. It’s pronounced a little bit different.
OK, a lot different, but its meaning is the same.
One of the changes we hope to see happen at EOLWA this year is that we can talk about both ”death with dignity” and “muerte digna” with the same ease we talk about “fútbol” and “soccer,” or about “burritos” and “burritos” but with a rolled R.
We want to hear from the Hispanic members of our community, and answer their questions and concerns and provide support with the same level of care and professionalism that EOLWA is known for.
Granted, there will be some hurdles to clear and challenges to answer.
The Hispanic culture has, as every other culture does, its own set of mores and traditions.
At the same time, the influence of institutions such as the Catholic Church remains strong in many parts of Latin America.
Nevertheless, signs of looming hope abound, with Colombia leading the way and with conservative nations such as Chile starting to talk about death in different terms than in the past.
Just last month, a bill was introduced in the Chilean Congress, which would have legalized “muerte digna,” or “dignified death” in that South American nation.
Stop me if you’ve read this: It passed the House but it did not make it past the Senate. Same as ours in the Evergreen State.
Still, the fact that it made it that far is a huge development.
And Chile is not alone in pushing forward against the weight of history.
Eighty-two percent of Uruguayans say they are in favor of aid in dying and although it remains illegal in that country,
Uruguay has laws in place in which a person can reject treatment near the end of his or her life.
These laws are referred to as “ley del buen morir,” or law of a good death.
Earlier this year, Peru’s highest court, in a historic decision granted Ana Estrada an assisted death, a remarkable development in a nation that is almost 90 percent Catholic and where euthanasia is illegal.
It took Estrada, a psychologist confined to her bed, five years of judicial battles, before she achieved victory.
It’s clear that our Hispanic brothers and sisters have concerns regarding end of life.
EOLWA is committed to traveling that path with them every step of the way, speaking their language in more ways than one..
Say it with me again, now, with feeling, with gusto: “moo-erte-ay Deeg-nah.”
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