Cecilia de las Mercedes Duran de Villaveces died peacefully at home Friday, August 24th, after several years of a debilitating illness.
Mrs. Villaveces was in every respect a remarkable person. A lady of great character, strength, natural beauty, determination and persistence, she was born March 30, 1938 in Caqueta, in the jungle of the Amazonas territory, to a Bogotá, Colombia family that had been prominent for many generations in old Gran Colombia, a region that in the 19th century encompassed much of northern South America and parts of southern Central America.
Her father was Jorge Duran Duran, and her mother was born Julia Mora Saldana. Cecilia Villaveces was the great-granddaughter of Jose Hilario Lopez Valdez, who was President of Colombia from 1849 until 1853. Among other epithets, President Lopez, because of his emancipation of the slaves, has been called “the Abraham Lincoln of Colombia.”