Hebe de Bonafini, historic leader of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, dies at 93

Hebe de Bonafini, the historic president of the Argentine association Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, created during the dictatorship (1976-1983) to discover the whereabouts of her children and other people arrested by the military regime, died this Sunday at the age of 93, the deputy confirmed. -President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

“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 must not be a coincidence. Simply thank you and see you always”, wrote Cristina Kirchner on Twitter at 11:00 local time (same time in Brasilia).

Shortly afterwards, Alejandra Bonafini, the activist’s daughter, reported in a statement that her mother died at 9:20 am at the Italian Hospital in the city of La Plata, in the province of Buenos Aires, where she had been hospitalized for a few days.

“These are very difficult moments of deep sadness and we understand the people’s love for Hebe, but at this moment we have the need to cry (…) the places for tributes and acts of remembrance.

President Alberto Fernández also said goodbye with “deep pain and respect for the tireless fighter for human rights”, in a statement, in which he announced the decree of three days of national mourning.

“The Argentine government and people recognize her as an international symbol of the search for memory, truth and justice for the 30,000 disappeared”, continued the text of the Presidency.

“As the founder of Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, she shed light on the dark night of the military dictatorship and paved the way for the recovery of democracy forty years ago,” added the note.

The organization he presided over said in a statement that “his ashes will rest in Plaza de Mayo” and that more details will be released in the coming days.

At an international level, the governments of Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia expressed condolences through social media.

“The Pátria Grande honors a valuable, fighting and profoundly revolutionary woman who today, 20Nov, becomes eternal. Great Hebe de Bonafini! She will be forever in the hearts of the Venezuelan and Latin American people,” wrote Venezuelan President Nicolás on Twitter. Mature.

On the same platform, Bolivian President Evo Morales said he felt “very sad and dismayed” by the news. “His tireless and incorruptible struggle against dictatorships for memory, truth and justice is an example for new generations,” he added.

Meanwhile, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez mourned the death of a “great fighter and historic president of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, a close friend of #Cuba and the Revolution”.

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, for his part, remembered her as an “obstinate woman who fought tirelessly for the just causes of the Argentine people”.

– Controversial profile –

With two sons and a daughter-in-law missing during the dictatorship, Bonafini was one of the founders of the famous group of mothers who, in 1977, began to gather in Plaza de Mayo, in front of the seat of government in Buenos Aires, to demand information about the whereabouts of of your kids.

Over the months, they began to identify themselves with a white scarf on their heads, which quickly became a symbol of the organization.

The struggle continued in democracy, with demonstrations and acts that continued to demand truth and justice.

Hebe de Bonafini, however, established a controversial profile by becoming a fierce militant of ‘Kirchnerism’ and staunch defender of the couple Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) and Cristina Fernández (2007-2015).

In 2017, she was sued for alleged embezzlement of public funds in a project to build social housing between 2005 and 2011.

The activist considered the action a “maneuver” against her work by the center-right government of Mauricio Macri (2015-2019), which she considered an “enemy”.

The judicial process is paralyzed.

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