Hebe de Bonafini, leader and co-founder of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, an organization that, since the 1970s, has been searching for missing persons from the most recent dictatorship Argentine Army (1976-1983). The cause of death was not disclosed.
The association that started with A group of mothers walk every Thursday Before the Casa Rosada to claim the appearance of their surviving relatives, it quickly became a powerful entity, which today has a university institute, a newspaper, a radio, and a library.
Mães da Praça de Mayo also runs the cultural center that operates today in one of the former secret torture facilities, ESMA (Escola Superior de Mecânica da Marinha).
The traditional Mothers’ Walk was halted for two years during the pandemic, and the traditional Mothers’ Walk is still in place, the rest being accompanied by human rights activists who help them make the trek and sing supportive songs. Most of them today are of advanced age.
Dozens of people began to gather this Sunday in the Plaza de Mayo to honor her, among them Carmen “Tuta” Guidi, who since the 1970s was part of the group that founded the Praca de Mayo Mothers. Accompanied by a relative, she didn’t want to stop walking while talking to binding: “We will always walk, no matter how old we are. Our scarves are buried here, and those who walk behind them will be the next generation of activists. As long as there are truths to discover, we will stay here.” Today’s Mothers’ Marches feature markings on the ground in the shape of a handkerchief.
Bonafini’s presence at these parades has become more rare in recent months due to a series of health problems. When she could go, she was waiting in the truck that took the mothers to downtown Buenos Aires.
Bonafini had two children who disappeared during the dictatorship, and his career was marked by labor and struggle in search of victims. She was also known for making politically incorrect comments, such as when The United States of America celebrated the fall of the Twin Towers in 2001. Her support of Kirchnerism led to internal divisions with other mothers and with her Grandparents Plaza de Mayo (This institution that is looking for the descendants who disappeared during this period), who preferred that the activity be limited to human rights and not commitment to politics.
Coming from a middle-class family in the province of Buenos Aires, Bonafini made her last public appearance a week ago, when she attended the opening of her photo exhibition at the Centro Cultural Kirchner. The show is called “Hebe de Bonavene – The Reverend / The Beautiful Mother”.
A friend of Fidel Castro (1926-2016), Hugo Chávez (1954-2013) and Evo Morales, among others, she was an icon of the left in the region and was highly critical of “neoliberalism” and the International Monetary Fund. With no formal education due to a lack of family circumstances, she studied dressmaking and Spanish dancing with castanets, a habit she maintained for many years.
Bonafini defended Peronism Based on his personal history, he said that in his childhood, “there were no vacations, organized work schedules, unions or vacations” – included in the labor laws enacted by Juan Domingo Perón (1895-1974).
At the age of 14, she married Humberto Alfredo Bonafini, with whom she had three children, Jorge Omar, Raúl Alfredo, and Maria Alejandra. Only the latter is still alive. Bonafini was widowed in 1982, and her two other children are still missing.
Jorge Omar was kidnapped at the age of 26 in La Plata. He was a professor of mathematics, studied physics at the National University of La Plata, and was a member of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party. Before he was taken away, he was attacked by the repressive forces in the street, in front of a number of witnesses. After the beating, they covered his head with a black scarf and kidnapped him.
Her mother began visiting hospitals and police stations, and at her own home, she began meeting other relatives of the missing persons. His other son, Raoul, 24, also a militant, began living underground, until he, too, disappeared after a union meeting. He was a student of zoology in the Faculty of Natural Sciences and was a member of the same party as his brother.
Traces of the two brothers were found years later in a secret detention and torture center. Those responsible for running the center were sentenced to life imprisonment in a process known as the “Circuito camps”, whose verdict was issued in December 2012.
Ignored by the major Argentine newspapers during the dictatorship, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo began to seek out the press in other countries to carry out their denunciations. This is how Bonafini’s international fame spread, as he brought attention to the crimes against humanity that were taking place in Argentina.
Bonafini has traveled the world lecturing on missing persons in Argentina and has won numerous international awards, such as the title of René Sand, Unesco, and Honoris Causa from the Universities of California and Bologna. He was, until today, the most recognized face, inside and outside Argentina, of the struggle for the rights of the victims of the dictatorship.
According to human rights organizations, the number of missing persons ranges from 20,000 to 30,000. Many of the victims were thrown into the River Plate, drugged and weights placed on their feet. Even today, traces of people killed in this way resurface from time to time.
The marches began on April 30, 1977, when dozens of mothers and relatives of the disappeared gathered in the Plaza de Mayo. The police tried to separate them by saying that meetings could not take place there. So, so that they would not have to stand still and be oppressed again, they walked in pairs, circling the place in front of the Casa Rosada.
To this day, they wear white scarves on their heads, with their children’s names written on them, and their faces are also printed on the T-shirts they wear.
Bonafini had an aggressive activist profile that he ended up with Division of mothersToday, it was organized between the Línea Fundadora, headed by Nora Cortinas, led by Bonafini, and others. He also had a bad relationship with Estella Di Carlotto, chairman of the board of directors Grandparents Plaza de Mayoalthough both have been, in recent times, supportive of Kirchnerian governments.
one of his most differences He went on to provide protection for brothers Sergio and Pablo Schocklander in 1995, who killed their parents. Bonafini believed that they deserved a second chance and that their parents were “members of the oppressed class”. He ends up nominating Sergio Shocklander as director of the “Sueños Compartidos” program, which builds housing for the poor. But Schocklander was accused of embezzlement and arrested in A.A The scandal that stained the honor of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Foundation.
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