Punta Gorda woman finally home from Peru

Reporter: Taylor Petras Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
Credit: Fatima Diez Rivas

A Punta Gorda woman is happy to be home after being stuck in Peru a week longer than she expected.

The passengers aboard the charter flight carrying Fatima Diez Rivas exploded into cheers as the plane landed in Miami on Saturday.

“It was exciting, the fact that we were going to go back home,” Rivas said.

The 24-year-old mother was finally going to be back in Southwest Florida.

“It feels so awesome! It feels like I have my freedom back. A little bit at least because a lot of things are closed.”

She was stuck in Peru for nearly two weeks after the country shut down its borders because of the coronavirus. She had gone to visit her father, who has cancer.

“It honestly felt like I’m not in prison anymore, I was just back home. Because that’s what it felt like when I was over there in Peru. I couldn’t do anything, you know.”

Diez Rivas is voluntarily quarantining for two weeks, keeping her away from her 3-year-old son even longer.

“Right now, I have not seen anybody else. Not my mom, not my child, because I don’t know if I caught something on the way here and if I did, I don’t want to pass it on.”

Diez Rivas made it out just as Peru announced stricter curfew hours. She’s now counting her blessings.

“Definitely taught me not to take things lightly and not take things for granted,” she said.

She’s thinking the many other Americans still waiting for their trip home.

Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging him to help bring home a Sarasota woman and a Bradenton man, both still stuck in Peru.

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