Hebe de Bonafini, 93, Who Rallied Mothers of ‘the Disappeared,’ Dies

However, it was under democracy that Madame de Bonafini’s reputation began to suffer. As a tireless fighter for human rights under the dictatorship, she became increasingly partisan.

She criticized every democratic government until the 2003 election of Néstor Kirchner, a left-wing populist president who restarted the trials of generals that had stalled under his predecessors. Ms. de Bonafini became close to Mr. Kirchner and his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who succeeded her husband as president in 2007. Both are allied with authoritarian left-wing leaders in the region.

When terrorist hijackers crashed a jet into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Madame de Bonafini celebrated the attack. “The most terrorist state is the United States,” she speak. When she heard the news, she recalls, she “felt great joy, not because of the deaths, but because the monster was finally touched.”

She sued the Supreme Court of Argentina, calling it judge “the scoundrels receive money for their sentences,” and urged her followers to take over the Palace of Justice. She criticized the country’s democratically elected Congress as “nothing but a slum.”

Abroad, she supports Revolutionary Armed Forces of ColombiaMarxist guerrilla organization known as FARC, as well as Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, a Basque separatist movement in Spain. Both were considered terrorist organizations until their disbandment. She is close friends with Fidel Castro of Cuba and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and attend an international youth meeting be held by leftist student groups in North Korea in 1989.

After her return to democracy, her extremism caused the mothers of Plaza de Mayo to split in two, with one wing consisting of moderates and the other led by Madame de Bonafini, espousing a more radical agenda. However, it is Madame de Bonafini who will continue to dominate the human rights movement in Argentina, thanks in part to her proximity to the Argentine government.

She ended her days mired in a corruption scandal. Justice is investigate whether her organization embezzled some of the hundreds of millions of Argentine pesos donated by Kirchners to build social housing for the poor.

Despite the investigation, Ms. de Bonafini is widely celebrated by Argentines for her fight for justice in her country, where many human rights groups have begun searching for those who have gone missing under the dictatorship. . In one interview last year with El País newspaper, she speak“Our struggle will continue – the Argentine people will continue it.”


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