43rd Anniversary of Argentina’s Military Coup Commemorated by Over a Million People in the Streets

By Stella Calloni on March 25, 2019

Photo: Emergentes

A huge demonstration, led by the Mothers and Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, crowded around the Casa Rosada in the center of Buenos Aires today. The demonstration flooded into several surrounding squares  marking the 43rd anniversary of the coup d’état that on  March 24, 1976 started the bloodiest dictatorship in Argentina’s history and which resulted in 30 thousand disappeared, thousands of murder victims and countless exiled people.

The demonstration, convened by human rights organizations, was joined by the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), the Confederation of Workers of Argentina (CTA) and other autonomous unions. It combined long-time claims of memory, truth and justice with today’s demands that accuse Mauricio Macri’s government, among other claims, of going backwards in this aspect and committing grave violations to people’s rights.

Thousands marched from different areas of the capital city and such scenes were repeated all over the country. They called on unity and memory to honor the disappeared and all the victims, and to continue with the struggle that was never abandoned by the families, organizations and political movements. Columns of marchers began gathering in the early morning and among them were the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo carrying a 600 meter long flag with photos of the victims, a symbol of this march.

The event was also a platform to denounce the denialism of the current government, which discredits and attacks human rights defenders. The Argentinean President himself has called this issue a curro, which is a local word meaning that something is used to make money or benefit from it.

The protest also denounced the “theory of two devils” that is once again being reinstated, denying the number of victims maintained by the organizations and sometimes even reproducing dictators’ speeches where they made fun of the grandmothers’ search for their grandsons and granddaughters.

Nair Amuedo, member of Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo-Founding Line, began her speech with a strong, “They are 30 thousand!” and cheers spread among the marchers. She also devoted some time to defend the LGBT community, highlighting their struggle and their achievements during decades of democracy.

The statement read during the event, written in agreement of all the organizers, was strong and specific about past and current issues. They gave a warning to the Government, which has washed its hands; minimized and discredited the human rights struggle and is obstructing justice.

President of Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo Estela de Carlotto said those speeches fostering oblivion and justifying crimes against humanity do not create favorable conditions for those who are pursuing finding their own identity of the missing.  She stated they do not want to say goodbye to more grandmothers who have not found their grandchildren, whom they have searched for decades, neither should this be allowed to go from one generation to another.

There are about 300 men and women missing among almost 500 children taken from the hands of their parents and delivered to soldiers’ families or friends, De Carlotto affirmed. Though they have recuperated over 100 sons of disappeared, there are many more still missing. She reminded everyone that in 2018 only one more was found marking a difference in the commitment to the search between previous governments and the current one.

De Carlotto also recalled that on March 24 2004 then President Nestor Kirchner apologized on behalf of the Argentinean State and gave the building of the Naval School of Mechanics -one of the largest clandestine detention centers where thousands of victims disappeared- to human rights organizations. She also highlighted that former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner continued with this policy committed to human rights.

Marchers claimed; “impunity is back and we will not accept it.”


Source: La Jornada, translation, Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau