Carmen Valenzuela "received her medical degree from San Carlos de Guatemala University Medical School in 1980 and became a pediatrician in 1983. She worked in Guatemala as a physician and professor of Pediatrics until 1990 when she had to leave her country after having been targeted for persecution by the Guatemalan army for her work with marginalized women and children in poor communities and for being opposed to the governing military regime. On February 10, 1990, she was abducted by members of the Guatemalan G-2 intelligence unit and was held for eight days in clandestine detention centers. During her detention, Valenzuela was physically and psychologically tortured. After her release, she went into exile in the U.S. and studied International Maternal as a consultant for a Latin American child survival initiative in a United Nations health related organization in Washington, D.C."