Piedad de Suro, diplomat and activist, dies at 98

January 14
Piedad de Suro
diplomat, activist

Piedad de Suro, an Ecuadorean diplomat, journalist and women’s rights activist, died Dec. 14 at her home in Chevy Chase, Md., where she had lived since 1949. She was 98.

The cause was respiratory failure, said her son Roberto Suro.

From 1961 to 1983, Mrs. Suro held various appointments at Ecuador’s embassy in Washington and as a member of the Ecuadorean delegation to the Organization of American States. She retired in 1983 from the Ecuadorean foreign service with the rank of minister counselor.

As a cultural attaché, she helped organize exhibits of Ecuadorean art and historical artifacts in Washington. They included the 1968-1969 Smithsonian exhibit “Colonial Art of Ecuador,” which marked the first time that 17th- and 18th-century masterworks from the churches of Quito had been exhibited in the United States.

In 1968, Mrs. Suro was elected president of the Inter-American Commission of Women, an inter-governmental agency, after a decades-long effort to secure basic civil rights for women in Latin America.

Earlier, she was an Ecuadorean delegate to a conference in Colombia that led to an international treaty assuring women in the Americas the same legal rights as men.

Piedad Levi Castillo was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She came to Washington in 1942 as a correspondent for an Ecuadorean newspaper owned by her grandfather.

After retiring from the Ecuadorean foreign service, she was a correspondent for an Ecuadorean news weekly publication until the late 1990s.

Her husband of 15 years, Guillermo A. Suro, died in 1961. Survivors include two children, Carmen Suro-Bredie of Chevy Chase and Roberto Suro of Los Angeles; and four grandchildren.

Bart Barnes