In a long-awaited gesture, President Mauricio Macri received the President of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Estela de Carlotto, at his Quinta de Olivos home yesterday evening. His meeting with the iconic human rights leader comes at a time in which his administration is being accused left and right by human rights groups for policies and measures deemed less than constitutional.
“We chatted and made amends. We were in the house of a President and we made it clear that human rights organizations hold democracy in high respect. We want to strengthen [democracy] through dialogue and by working together,” said Carlotto.
Carlotto left Macri a document outlining the “concerns” of human rights organizations regarding his two-month-old government, including the imprisonment of Milagro Sala, the mass public sector layoffs, the right to social protests and the continuity of state policies dedicated to “remembrance, truth and justice” of the forceful disappearances that occurred during the last military dictatorship.
She also mentioned she would be amenable to meeting US President Barack Obama when he comes to Argentina on March 24, a significant day since it marks the National Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice commemorating those who lost their lives during the last military dictatorship (1976-1983). This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the 1976 coup.
Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Association leader Hebe de Bonafini, on her end, continues to be on the war path against Macri. Speaking to press, she explained that she refused to meet with Macri because “[she does] not talk to the enemy.” In addition, she accused the current government of being a “dictatorship that came [to power] through an election.”
Bonafini was particularly critical of Obama’s upcoming visit and stated that nothing will stop the organization’s annual march: “We never asked the dictatorship for permission, [so] we won’t ask Macri for permission either.”
The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo strive to find children born in captivity and illegally abducted during the military dictatorship between 1976-1983. The Grandmothers estimate that over 500 children were given or sold to allies of the dictatorship and created a National Genetic Data Bank in order to identify the taken children through the DNA of their relatives. Estela de Carlotto was reunited with her grandson in 2014.