The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo commemorated the 30th anniversary of their movement today in
"Por favor ayudanos, son nuestra ultima esperanza"
In 1977, out of desperation and love for their children, a group of mothers began a protest to demand information about the whereabouts of their children. These youth were among the 30,000 people who were forcefully disappeared during the so-called dirty war carried out by
While thousands were illegally detained in a network of clandestine detention centers, Jorge Rafael Videla, leader of the generals, steadfastly denied journalists' accusations of forced disappearances. “While a person is disappeared, they can't have special treatment. He or she is an unknown entity, a disappeared. He or she doesn't have an entity. They aren't present, nor dead or alive! The person is disappeared.”
At a time when any protest was violently repressed, the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo broke the silence, themselves risking being disappeared.
Rosa Camarotti, a mother who joined the protest in 1978 after her son was disappeared recounts the March 24 military coup and how she first came to the Plaza de Mayo. “
Juana Pargament, now 92-years-old, said that the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo have always gathered the strength to fight from their children. “30 years of struggle! Of course we are older now, we started out when we were younger. When they took our children away, it was painful, we suffered. But we had a strength that I can't put into words. It was also a difficult lesson, because we mothers had to learn to defend our children.”
The Mothers' have endured physical attacks and endless threats over the years. Three of the founding members were disappeared and murdered in 1977, when the group was infiltrated by a military officer, Adolfo Astiz. Astiz, like many other former military leaders has been charged with grave violations of human rights, but has never been sentenced for his crimes.For Suzana Díaz, a 76-year-old mother from the
Only a handful of former military officers have been tried for human rights abuses during the military dictatorship. Last week a federal court revoked a 1990 pardon for two of the leaders of the former dictatorship, Jorge Videla and Emilio Massera, although it is unlikely that the former dictators will serve any part of the life sentences they received in 1985.
According to Rosa Camarotti, the Mothers will continue to fight until all ex-military leaders are convicted and put behind bars for their crimes against humanity. “To end impunity, all of the military officers, all of them, whatever their age, would have had be put in regular jails. But that didn't happen. They are only imprisoned in their homes, living better than kings.”
Despite, legal obstacles the Mothers have said they will prepare a future generation to continue to defend human rights and demand justice.