The president of the Argentine association Madres de Plaza de Mayo died this Sunday at the Italian Hospital in La Plata, capital of the province of Buenos Aires
FILE PHOTO: Hebe de Bonafini, a member of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo human rights organization, speaks during a news conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian
With the death of Hebe de Bonafini, president of the Argentine association Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, at the age of 93, one of the best-known faces in the fight against the latest civic-military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983)and a true international reference in the defense of human rights.
In Latin America, various leaders mourned the death of Bonafini (1928-2022), who died this Sunday at the Italian Hospital in La Plata, capital of the province of Buenos Aires, where she had been hospitalized for several days due to the aggravation of her chronic illnesses.
The president-elect of < b>Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, mourned the death and said it was an “example” for Democrats.
“Hebe had two children kidnapped and disappeared during the dictatorship in Argentina. With other mothers and relatives of victims of the state, she led silent marches for peace and justice. His struggle and perseverance continue to be an example for those who believe in a more democratic world”, Lula said on Twitter.
Lula added that he received “with sadness” the news of Bonafini's death and recalled that she dedicated her life to the fight for memory and justice and that she was a defender of human rights, who “helped create one of the most important democratic movements in Latin America.”
In Bolivia, President Luis Arceregretted the death of Bonafini and praised her “commitment to just causes”.
“We regret the death of Hebe de Bonafini, historic president of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo,” Arce wrote in Twitter and accompanied her publication with an image of the activist next to a Bolivian flag.
The head of state assured that the fighter's life has been a “ commitment to just causes” and constitutes “a great legacy that will always accompany the struggle of our peoples in defense of Human Rights”.
“Hebe, your voice sounds strong in time, never more disappeared, never more murderous coups, never again the lacerating daily violation of Human Rights. Today you are no longer with us and yet you are”, was the message of the Bolivian foreign minister, Rogelio Mayta, on social networks.
Also the former Bolivian president Evo Morales (2006-2019) spoke about the death of Bonafini on Twitter, and said he felt “sad and dismayed”, considered her a “historical” figure with a “tireless and incorruptible fight against dictatorships” as well as an “example for the new generations”.
For their part, the President of Chile, Gabriel Boric, gave his “deepest condolences to the Argentine people” for the death of the president of the Argentine association Madres de Plaza de Mayo.
“From Chile we say goodbye with deep respect and admiration for their unwavering struggle for truth, memory, justice and Human Rights”, the Chilean president wrote on his Twitter account.
In Peru, the President Pedro Castillo “deeply regretted” Bonafini's death.
“Tenacious woman who fought tirelessly for the just causes of the Argentine people, memory and against impunity. His legacy is valuable for the defense of Human Rights”, Castillo wrote on his Twitter account.
The dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, also mourned the death and said on his Twitter account that Latin America “honors a valuable woman, a fighter and deeply revolutionary who today, November 20, becomes eternal.”
“Great Hebe de Bonafini! You will be forever in the hearts of the Venezuelan and Latin American people. We will remember you forever! ”, Wrote the head of state on the social network, where he shared two photos of the activist.
The executive vice president of the regime, Delcy Rodríguez, regretted “the departure of a great Latin American mother”, for whom “she will always” feel “deep respect, admiration and pride” due to the “devotion and commitment with which she fought for human rights and the most humble.”
In Cuba, dictator Miguel Díaz-Canel said Bonafini's death “hurts Cuba as that of a near and dear one.”
“We will always remember her condemning the genocidal and fighting for the just world that her children defended. Our condolences to the family and all of Argentina”, the dictator wrote on Twitter.
Lastly, after learning of the death of the human rights activist, The former Uruguayan president José 'Pepe' Mujica said this Sunday that “a fighter is leaving” and that “I hope her example flourishes”.
This was stated by the former Uruguayan president (2010-2015) from Montevideo in an interview with the Argentine radio station AM750, in which he reflected on the legacy of the president of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo association, who died this morning at the age of 93.
“A fighter is leaving, hopefully her example flourishes in multitudes of women from the Argentine people and the Latin American peoples”, said the ex-guerrilla, who described De Bonafini as a “dear companion” and a “symbol of struggle”.
Having been imprisoned for more than a decade during the Uruguayan civic-military dictatorship (1973-1985), Mujica claimed to have learned from the prisons “the courage” of the mothers who confronted the regime to demand the truth about the whereabouts of the disappeared detainees.
Along these lines, he said he recalled the strong commitment of De Bonafini and his companions “always fighting, never giving up and always facing obstacles with that majesty of gray hair, wrinkles and scarves and pain and desire to look forward.”
< p class="paragraph">To which he reflected that, however, “life goes on”, the former Uruguayan senator and minister, who met the activist in “one of the many comings and goings” of her to his country , emphasized that this fight will continue with the new generations.
“We need symbols, we need shouts, because we need hope and precisely this woman who is leaving today is a challenge for the generations to come because life goes on and therefore the need to commit and fight for human causes continues,” he stressed.< /p>
Bonafini's death and his fight
“These are very difficult moments and profound sadness and we understand the people's love for Hebe, but at this moment as a family we need to mourn the Mother of Plaza de Mayo, Hebe, in intimacy” , affirmed in a statement his daughter Alejandra (1965), the only one of his three children who remains alive.
His other two sons, Jorge Omar (1950) and Raúl Alfredo (1953), disappeared during the early stages of the dictatorship, which led Bonafini and dozens of other mothers to travel to Buenos Aires in search of their loved ones.
These demonstrations in front of the Casa Rosada led to the creation, in 1977, of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, the main symbol of opposition to the civil-military authorities and the greatest exponent in the fight for human rights in Argentina, who turned the white scarf on their heads into a world icon.
With the advent of democracy, the association was divided into two: on the one hand, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Fundadora Line, which has Taty Almeida as its main reference, and on the other, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Association, more recognized outside of the country, led until now by Hebe de Bonafini.
Hebe de Bonafini, founder of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo human rights group marches during her last 24-hour Resistance March, at Plaza de Mayo, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 29, 2019 (REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian)
Former President (2007-2015) and current Vice President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández, was in charge of publicly announcing the death of Bonafini, with whom she always maintained a great friendship, especially after the reopening of the trials for crimes against humanity promoted by her husband, the late Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007).
“Dearest Hebe, Mother of Plaza de Mayo, world symbol of the fight for human rights, pride of Argentina. God called you on the day of National Sovereignty… It should not be a coincidence. Simply thank you and see you always,” the former president said on her Twitter account.
The government of Alberto Fernández decreed three days of national mourning for the death of Bonafini , an “international symbol” in the search for memory, truth and justice for the “thirty thousand disappeared” during the era of state terrorism.
“With the departure de Hebe de Bonafini, we lost a tireless fighter,” said the president, who has been a recurring target of Bonafini's criticism in recent months.
(With information from EFE)< /i>