Argentina’s Mothers hold last march of Resistance

Argentina’s Mothers of the disappeared hold their last march of Resistance by Marie Trigona The historic human rights group Mothers of Plaza de Mayo concluded their last annual 24-hour protest they’ve held for 25 years yesterday. The president of the Mothers Hebe de Bonafini decided to drop the annual March of Resistance because they no longer have an enemy in the presidential palace. The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo completed their 1,500 consecutive round in a plaza enveloped in banners and photos of Argentina’s disappeared yesterday. The Mothers, many now in their 80′s, drew to a close a chapter in the struggle for human rights as they completed their last 24-hour annual "Resistance March". The mothers said that they will continue with their weekly protest in the Plaza Mayo where they have met to demand justice for their children disappeared during Argentina’s dictatorship. The Mothers began their protest in 1977 to demand information on the whereabouts of their children from authorities. Some 30,000 activists were kidnapped and murdered during the military junta dictatorship which ruled Argentina from 1976-1983. Sara Brad, a mother from Tucuman, said the mothers’ 29 years of struggle will continue in the spirit of her 30,000 children. "For the mothers the resistance march is an act that’s important because our long fight has been a permanent resistance and to protest against human rights violations. The mothers were born out of our children’s fight, from their ideals and their hope for a better world. We think that their struggle is more important and relevant than ever. This is the last resistance march but we are going to go to the plaza every Thursday like always. Our fight will continue, in other spaces, but always with the same strength. We are never going to put our arms down. The only fight that is lost is one that you give up." This year’s resistance march was dedicated to the worker-operated recuperated factories in Latin America. Musicians like Leon Gieco also performed to commemorate Argentina’s disappeared. Many mothers admitted that a quarter of a century of fighting was also a factor in the decision to stop marching. The mothers’ decision to conclude the resistance march provoked a polemic debate among human rights groups. Many social organizations have criticized the mothers for applauding current president Nestor Kirchner rather than pushing for further reforms. Mercedes Meroño, vice president of the Mothers association, said that Latin Americans now have the opportunity to guide their governments. "The resistance march means what it says, To Resist. We started this march in 81, in the height of the dictatorship. We continued this protest even during democratically elected governments because they were also our enemies. Do you know why? Because they implemented the full stop and due obedience laws. The president we have now is doing something different. We no longer have an enemy, this march is the last one. If the enemy returns we will return for as many years is necessary. We are going to hold an important march on March 24. We’ll continue to fight in the plaza every Thursday. We’ll continue to tell the government what we think is right and what’s wrong. But we think that it’s a different moment in Latin America." In her final remarks yesterday Hebe de Bonafini said that the mothers will continue to prepare a future generation to carry on with the legacy of defending human rights and demanding justice. As the 30th anniversary of Argentina’s military junta nears, human rights groups are preparing a series of events to commemorate the 30,000 disappeared.

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