Audiovisual MADRES PRESENTS A FILM BY MOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO ASSOCIATION ARGENTINA, DECEMBER 2001. MASSIVE UPRISING IN RESPONSE TO THE CRISIS PRODUCED AFTER A NEOLIBERAL ECONOMIC CYCLE THAT BEGAN IN THE LATE 70’S BY THE HAND OF A MILITARY REGIME. BETWEEN 1973 AND 1983 TERRORIST PARAPOLICE TASK FORCES FIRST AND STATE TERRORISM LATER, COMMITTED MULTIPLE CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND LEFT 30.000 CITIZENS DISAPPEARED. AFTER THIS GENOCIDE THE FOLLOWING CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENTS PROVIDED IMPUNITY TO MOST OF THE CRIMINALS AND INTENSIFIED THE ECONOMIC POLICIES INHERITED FROM THE DICTATORSHIP. IN 2001, THE SAME ARCHITECTS AND BENEFICIARIES OF THIS ECONOMIC PLAN ADDED THOUSANDS OF SILENT NEW VICTIMS, THROUGH MALNUTRITION, UNEMPLOYMENT AND “TRIGGER HAPPY” POLICE BRUTALITY. GIVEN THE MAGNITUDE OF ARGENTINA’S SOCIAL DEVASTATION, A GROUP OF WOMEN, ALL MOTHERS OF DISAPPEARED STUDENTS AND WORKERS, DECIDED TO SOCIALIZE THEIR IDENTITY AND THEIR ORIGINAL CLAIM AND RECOGNIZED ALL POPULAR VICTIMS AS THEIR OWN SONS AND DAUGHTERS. THIS IS A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THAT SYMBOLIC FABRIC OF SOCIAL IDENTITY THAT WAS BUILT THROUGH MANY YEARS OF COMPANIONSHIP, RESISTENCE, MEMORY AND THE FIGHT OF THE “MOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO ASSOCIATION” BUENOS AIRES, DECEMBER 2001 -No! they’re going to kill him! Come! Come! Up, fuck! Stop! Stop! Stop! These motherfuckers are killing people, man! Kill them! Motherfuckers! Stop repressing, motherfucker! Stop repressing! “THEY ALL ARE MY CHILDREN” -My daughter… she was called Alicia Norma I named her Alicia… because you had to smile to say “Alicia” and that’s why I liked that name (ARGENTINA TV, 1982) – “and do not forget that these ladies… are now continuing the subversive fight that their sons started years ago trying to present figures and positions that evidently are a continuation of the subversive actions their sons started. To hear the arguments of organizations such as Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, and so on, which are organizations that without a doubt respond to the interests of international Marxism, is taking a biased position RAMON CAMPS, CHIEF OF BUENOS AIRES POLICE DURING THE CIVIC-MILITARY DICTATORSHIP – CONVICTED OF 73 CASES OF TORTURE FOLLOWED BY MURDER. – ACCUSED OF 214 EXTORTIVE KIDNAPPINGS – 47 DISAPPEARANCES. – 20 CASES OF TORTURE. – 32 MURDERS. – 2 RAPES. – 2 ABORTIONS CAUSED BY TORTURE. – 18 THEFTS. – 18 ABDUCTION OF CHILDREN HE DIED FREE THANKS TO THE AMNESTY DECREE SIGNED BY CARLOS MENEM I don’t know what I thought, I don’t know what happened to me, all I remember is that when they took her away, the words I said were: “Fascism again, oh no!” That I do remember. My dad was anarcho syndicalist. In that time, the italian anarchists living in Argentina were captured and they were sent to Italy for Mussolini to shoot them. So, suddenly one day we went to Spain. We left everything behind. And in Spain, my dad continued to fight for the labor union and I joined him SPAIN, 1936 And to me, Spain came over me. All I had lived there, came over me. I was 11 years old and they shaved my head. And my friends at school, they used to take pans and lids to school, (banging them) just to make fun of me. They made me walk (like this) through the town. My dad had a van and he had told everyone: “let’s get out of here because Fascism does not forgive”. And they went to Zaragoza because it was a very combatant town. But Zaragoza quickly surrendered, and all those who had fled there, where captured. Instead, those who fled to the Basque Country, many were saved. My dad was shot on a Thursday, at 3 PM. So as I had already lost my father, I was very afraid for my daughter. For six months I looked at the window waiting for my daughter to come back. And when the two of us left the house, when we went to the square or anywhere else, we used to leave a note, saying where we were going, because we were always waiting for her to come back. It’s very hard to live all that. I’ve always thought… that I would see her coming (I had a gate with iron bars) and that Alicia would say: “Here I am, mom. I’m home.” And I was concerned. They had changed the traffic direction… in my street. So I said: “Oh, when Alicia arrives…” as if she would arrive by car. Nonsenses that one thinks, right? “Alicia is coming but how would she come if they changed the traffic direction?” Look at the nonsenses that one thinks, don’t you think? And I can assure you that I thought that many times. I lost half my family there and here it happens all over again. I thought “Fascism twice it’s not possible” but it came back. I’ll always fight against it, I’ll keep fighting it until the day I die. PLAZA DE MAYO, DECEMBER 20, 2001.
[ AUDIO FROM PRESIDENT FERNANDO DE LA RÚA’S INAUGURATION SPEECH, 1999 ] “I’ve been elected as the President who’s going to end the privileges… public or private and especially with the privileges of those who have the Power” The square belongs to the Mothers, and not to the cowards! The square belongs to the Mothers, and not to the cowards! Fucking murderers! Fucking murderers! Hebe! -They have beaten us! They have beaten us like the cowards they are! My comrade here is 90 years old and they have beaten her! They are a bunch of motherfucking bastards! And in order to implement this hunger policy they have to do this. This guys, it’s a pitty that their mothers had to suffer to have them! Because they are bastards! -We went everywhere, that’s the truth. We knocked all doors in order to know where they took them but we never got an answer. -At first, I used to go every night to the Police Department. “No, ma’am. Your son is not here. He’s not listed as arrested” “No, ma’am, please, everything is OK”, they laughed. They wouldn’t let us make a statement or anything. They just laughed at us. “Tell me, what if your son in law just run away with another woman?” I was there and I felt like I was falling… -They told me right away that he was at the 5th police station so I went to the 5th police station and my son was being tortured there. The judge paid no attention to me. “He’s not listed. Come back in 40 days” -But everytime I went back for an answer, there was never anything. -I went there, it was raining heavily. They beat me up and threw me on the street like a rag. -They treated you badly, they threw you away, because I thought they were there, that he was there. -I have two cards they used to give us, where they had written the date when we had to return. And that’s how they treated us until that ended, but for years… -We came back home with long faces. Start again next day… And nothing, and nothing, and nothing, and nothing. -It was brewing the ambition of the military… for more than 7 years they have been preparing to take power. We had had dictatorships before, where many people got arrested and killed but anyway my son… I wanted to find him and know about him. I kept hoping like all mothers did, for many years, that I would find him and alive. -It’s not knowing. You look at your son’s face and say “bye, see you tomorrow” and then you never see him again. Not even know what happened, not even know where he is, not even know what they did to him. Those things keep eating you inside your mind for a long long time. Is that you stay next to the phone in case he calls, you stay next to the door in case he appears. That you don’t leave the house because you’re afraid that he might return and you won’t be there. And then comes that pain in the soul. And when you have… There are mothers that just had one son, other mothers we had more, and those who had more children had to remain strong for them, so they won’t fall, and the husbands… Anyway, it’s such a desperate thing that I don’t believe there is a bigger pain than that. -It was a despair, I wantet to… I don’t know, everyone takes it differently. I wanted to… It was such a despair. And I used to shout and cry when I was alone because I never wanted to mortify the two that I had, you know? How I cried and shouted. These walls could tell you. Because… I don’t know… that’s the way I am. You may imagine how hard it was for me… -Unfortunately, in the biggest pain we learned falsehood and how all was arranged as part of a Capitalist Project because all this was part of a well designed project by Martinez de Hoz and his partners to impose an economic plan. That’s why I believe that after all these years and after all we had to go through to take away that Capitalist Project we can’t let it back, please don’t let it back. PLAZA DE MAYO, DECEMBER 20, 2001 -This is deficit zero, these are the doctors who are not getting their salary, the nurses, the teachers, the retired, the desperate with hunger, oh, but they do have money for this, look, Not for the poeple. look : beatings, gunshots and horses. They will not starve us to death, they’ll kill us in the square with their guns But not starving at home! Tell De la Rua, tell Escasany, tell Macri that their party is over and we want what is ours, what they have been stealing from us for the last 30 years. -In the supermarkets, on the street we let papers with information about so many disappeared. -Every news we got or what we knew, we used to hide it in little peaces of paper inside a ball of wool. And you came knitting because there was always fear. -We used to go to churches, leaving notes on the benches too, saying what we were doing, informing the people. Everything that could be divulged we tried to do it like a denunciation to society, because everyone looked the other way. People didn’t want to hear. They didn’t want to know. -And then there’s the silence of the accomplices which is very painful. You know they know but they don’t tell you. -There was no information about there being concentration camps. We didn’t know that either. Over time we started to know that there were centers where they kept the boys, that there were places where there was torture. That we discovered gradually. At first one said: “Oh God, let him die quickly, don’t let him suffer, don’t let him pass through all this”. And later, when we saw that some of them returned home we said: “Please, hold on, be alive” I mean, all the thoughts that you had in your head. “SILENCE IS HEALTH” OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN, 1975 -And then the big silence that is… Have not even heard them scream being tortured, have not even heard them scream, or sing revolutionary songs before they killed them, like many of them did, that you know but… it’s silence. THE ONE WHO FACED CAMPS IN QUESTIONS IN THE 4th RESISTANCE MARCH, ASKS THE MURDEROUS MILITARY “TROUPE” : WHAT DID THEY DO WITH MY YOUNG PERONIST SON “OSCAR A. TEYELDIN”, KIDNAPPED ON 2/05/77 IN THE CAPITAL? “THE FATHER”. -He was a moaner, he was good, but he had too much character, his voice very loud, he used to protest and say bad words “Fuck with this! Fuck with that!” Never to us but when something wasn’t going right, you know? Five years he remained without saying a bad word… poor thing. He was like stunned, you know? -But I think that to the men, what happened to them was… not being able to do anything to help their children. “How can I not be able to help my son or my daughter?” -And my husband had a lot of hope that he would see his son again Then one time he told me… I don’t know who might have told him. “The father suffers but the mother suffers a lot more” and I said to him “you are suffering at my side” -My husband died 5 years later, of pain, of sorrow. We were almost all widowed. Our husbands died either of colon cancer, that is a cancer from the nervous system, or died of the heart. And I went to the square because my husband, who had to go downtown, told me one day: “Poro, the mothers are walking in Plaza de Mayo” and when they took his daughter, he realized how right I was in what I was saying, Therefore, he acted as I should have acted but I couldn’t. It means that he, felt what his daughter was doing was right and he looked for her everywhere. We loved each other very much, though we were very different. We understood each other because he had such good feelings. He understood perfectly the way I am and I understood his way. And he always came with me to Plaza de Mayo. And the last words my husband said before he died were: he said to me “Poro, all I want is to see Alicia again”. Those were his last words. -Inside your body you get a hole, a dark black hole that can’t be filled, that stays there. The disappearance is… The first thing you forget is the voice. I have to make a big effort now to remember the voice of their laughter, of their jokes, of their things I don’t forget anything, of their faces, of their happiness, I don’t forget. But the voice, is the first thing you forget, that “Hello, Mom…” Sometimes, I try very hard to… to hear it again, you know For these children of ours, our children I ask for punishment! For those who shed blood over our homeland I ask for punishment! For the executioner who sent us this death I ask for punishment! For the traitor who rose over crime I ask for punishment! For the one who gave the order of agony I ask for punishment! For those who defended this crime I ask for punishment! I don’t want to shake that hand stained with our blood I ask for punishment! I don’t want them as ambassadors I ask for punishment! Neither quiet at their homes I ask for punishment! I want to see them here. Being judged. In this square. In this very place, comrades. -“Oh, okey, yes. I have the passports, yes. I have them”. “Alright… When? OK, where should I find the envelope (with the deed of the house) ?” “Possibly I could get one out, but… with money, you know?” Yes, he had a big file, but it was from all the denunciations we went to make Well, from so much going…, we went… we went often. STELLA MARIS CHAPEL, ARGENTINE NAVY. BUENOS AIRES CITY -We went every week. There was a priest there, he was inside the Navy and we hoped he could know something -And the man who was there, that was Grasselli, he knew everything. He had a list of everything, who was kidnapped, with whom was he kidnapped… It was impressive. So, how not to be hopeful? “argentine … should take shelter under the protection of the banner of free men”. “Compatriots, let us sing with anointing, our National Anthem” SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF THE MILITARY COUP. STELLA MARIS CHAPEL, 1978 -He was collecting all the information he could get from the mothers, to accumulate information. ( ARGENTINIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM ) -Then when they took my son for the second time, I went right away to see that priest, I think it was one of the first places I went to. and he says “what happens is that your son ‘was already marked'” he said. -Well, then he started to talk about politics. I was afraid, I didn’t like that… rather we argued, you know ? -When he started participating in politics, he was 15 or 16 years old, once he told me: “What am I studying for, Mom ?” -He told me: “Mom, why are you buying another table ?” and I said to him: “well, I’d like to put it here as decoration”. “Come on, Mom. Some people have nothing to eat and you have three tables at home” -At high school they occupied La Plata’s National School with molotov bombs on the roof and we, the families, had to bring them food because they refused to come down. -My son was a rebel, he had a lot of character. He worked hardly day and night. It was evident that he worked militating, for many years. A grown young man… a mother stops asking certain things. He has the right to an opinion of his own and he is free to act as he will, right? So there was a respect. SONS’ MILITANCY DOCUMENTS – MOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO ARCHIVE WE WILL WIN -“Alberto, look – I told my son once – when I go out, when I go to the store, I hear very hard things, and I don’t understand them very much, I don’t know… but I feel shocked, you know?” And then he told me: “Mom, terrible things will happen, don’t be surprised” -She had the car, with some holes in the trunk, we were heading towards Baradero, San Pedro, she left me in a house and told me that she was going to deliver some clothes. She was probably helping wanted comrades to scape. NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS ON REPRESSION – MOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO ARCHIVE -You can tell by the way of eating, of being… he was so sad because he knew, he knew what was happening. He knew, indeed. -“You have to leave, Osvaldo, you must leave this place at once” -And she told me: “Look, Mom, I’m not leaving. I’m not doing anything wrong” This was one week before. “I’m not doing anything wrong and I’m not leaving. I’m staying here” -“I’m not going anywhere” He was tired, you know? Like those people who don’t want to know anything more. It was like that. -He wouldn’t tell me anything, but I realized and once he told me: “And Mom, if I quit, what should I do?” –“I don’t know, do something else, but quit, what you are doing is dangerous, there are terrible things happening in this country” Because it was not spoken, it was not spoken but it was known, since before the military coup. So I was very afraid but… he did not hear me. POLITICAL PRISONERS OF TRELEW
WEEKS BEFORE BEING SHOT
AUGUST 5, 1972 -We’re together in this and we’ll fight together for the liberation of our people. Today we’re separated by some political differences but we are sure that these differences will be overcome in the heat of the fight. Two of the organizations that are here, represented by some of its members, are Peronists organizations, the other one isn’t but this is no obstacle for the will of unity we’re building. The Peronist comrades here today have already said this other times and we say it again today Like I just said, it wasn’t us who have chosen the path of violence, if the Regime had the will of calling new clean elections, without any kind of obstacle the people would accept it and we would accept it, but we are convinced that it won’t be like that. -Beyond that whether they militated in the armed fight, or they militated wherever they militated, the objective was the same. So, how could we fight just for one sector? That seemed very selfish to us, it was not in the line of thought of our children. So we decided to be mothers of the 30.000 disappeared. From that point on, we do nothing individually, we don’t carry our sons’ photograph, we took away their names from our white head scarfs and started fighting for all of them. Because they all are our children. -And that day, look… It was May 18th, 1978, he was to be 23 years old in 5 days from there. And well, it was 10 to midnight when Antonio, his friend, was about to leave our house. He said good bye to me and my son was about to accompany him to the door, when we heard a terrible noise, it was our front door being busted down. “All against the wall!” Well, my son stood against the wall over there, his friend stood over here, We stayed next to the dresser and I watched them through the mirror and one of them says to me : “Don’t look at the mirror!”. They pointed a gun at me here, Because I said something… like “I am the head of the house” and they said “You’re no longer the head of this house and don’t look at the mirror!” They aimed at me, they asked my son his name and his friend’s too and they took them out of the room. According to a neighbour who saw, who’s still living next door, they put them into a van My son’s friend resisted around here, he told me that later, and they gave him a kick… I don’t know. And well… they told us not to move for 10 minutes. I asked them to give my son a coat. So I come to this room, which was my mother in law’s bedroom and there was one of them rummaging the drawers… some gold was later missing from my mother in law’s things, and he says to me: “You can’t come in here!” And the one who was with me said: “Let her, she’s taking a coat” If they gave the coat to my son or not… I don’t know. Then the man comes back and says to me: “We are taking him to La Plata city because of drugs” Well… I tell you the house got full of neighbours. Everyone in nightdress, in negligee, in pyjamas the men… The house was full… Well, we asked a neighbour to take us to Villa Galicia police station, here We went… They told us they had nothing to do with this, they told us that it was “the green ones” (military) who took him, that’s how they said it That they couldn’t tell us anything. SANTA CRUZ (HOLY CROSS) CHURCH. BUENOS AIRES CITY. TOWARDS THE END OF 1977, THE MOTHERS DECIDE TO PUBLISH A STATEMENT IN A NEWSPAPER OF NATIONAL CIRCULATION DENOUNCING THE SYSTEMATIC DISAPPEARANCE OF PEOPLE. ON THURSDAY DECEMBER 8, 1977, FOLLOWING AN INFILTRATION FROM THE NAVY, THE MOTHERS MARY PONCE DE BIANCO AND ESTHER BALLESTRINO DE CAREAGA, ALONG WITH OTHER MILITANTS AND NUNS, ARE KIDNAPPED AT SANTA CRUZ CHURCH. IN THE FACE OF THIS FIERCE BLOW, ONE OF THE MOTHERS, AZUCENA VILLAFLOR DE DE VICENTI, URGES HER COMPANIONS TO CONTINUE WITH THE PUBLICATION THE FOLLOWING DAY, AZUCENA IS ALSO KIDNAPPED WHILE SHE WAS ON HER WAY TO BUY THE NEWSPAPER WITH THEIR STATEMENT OF DECEMBER 10, 1977 THEY ALL WERE KIDNAPPED, HELD CAPTIVE AND DISAPPEARED. “-Mothers! We are walking empy-handed And we’re going to the Government House that is located in Plaza de Mayo We have to give them a letter or go in person, somehow, in order to obtain information about each and every person they have made disappear” -Well, that was a great idea. She had the notion and passed it on to the Mothers. She became aware that those tears that we shed every day, they had no effect. She developed a political position. -And besides, Plaza de Mayo was a strategic point, it was right in front of the Government house. Is in that square where historically all manifestations had taken place… So we said: “We’re not leaving this place” GREGORIO DE LA FERRERE, LA MATANZA. BUENOS AIRES PROVINCE. -Well, I do not feel tired. Do you know what happens? that with all that I have in my bones… sometimes I can’t… But I still have the will, I want to go because it seems to me that in that square, between all that youth, there is my son. and they’re all there, the 30.000 disappeared. That is what I think. And I hope no father or mother never ever have to suffer what we have suffered -We decided to come here one day every week… and they chose fridays. And there was a woman, whose daughter had been taken, and said: “No, fridays I think are witch days. Let’s change it”. So that’s when we arrived to thursdays. And every thursday at the same time we were there present. -“Don’t do anything, wait! that after the Football World Cup (1978) they’re going to let them all free”. So I waited for a few months… and one day I went to Plaza de Mayo. I stood there and looked… and… there was a woman that I never saw again… she was older… She told me: “Come, march with me”. She asked me whom I was missing and she showed me a photograph of his son. And at first I used to see her, then I didn’t see her anymore. She told me: “You have to bring a white scarf to put on your head”. So, I had here a scarf, square, very nice, pink… I dipped it in bleach, it became white… it was very small, and I said: “I won’t buy a peace of fabric for such a little time, this is not going to last” I put on that white scarf… and the months passed and I added my son’s name to that scarf… -And well, and I felt… I can’t say relief but it was some kind of support. I said “I’m not alone, I’ll come to Plaza de Mayo and we will do things together”. And well, … I already liked then, being there with them… -I bought one of those white scarfs that you may use to go dancing and I put it on my head and I arrived to Plaza de Mayo with it and I sat in a bench and one Mother came to me, I never knew her name and I never saw her again, because back then there were a lot of us and we didn’t speak much to each other. She said to me: “And you, whom are you missing?” Because I was crying… I told her: “My daughter”, I was sitting in a bench and she told me: “hey, we’re not here to cry, you hear? We’re here to fight so get up, come on” And so I started to walk… and I’ll be grateful to her for the rest of my life, because that was a general change in me… Instead of being a weeper, I became a fighter and I ow that to those words she told me with such force, this mother whom I never even knew her name. (“Go away, go away, go away, go away”) -“Mothers of terrorists”… and so, while we walked… -I believe that what united us was that, not knowing about politics. ( 10th ANNIVERSARY OF THE MOTHERS – PLAZA DE MAYO, JULY 30, 1987 ) Eventually, we did, we learned a lot… we learned a lot we learned over time. -We didn’t calculate how many would come, or who would be there, nothing. We just did the Act that we considered was right to do. -And they all came. That’s why I tell you that it wasn’t a planned thing at all. It was happening according to the circumstances. (“Which media are you?” – “Channel 9″) -Well, more or less, because you just came out of a police patrol… and Why are you filming at us if you just came out of a police patrol? If you came out of a police patrol then go film the police, do not film us. Go away! -But, do not touch me… I am not touching you -Alright, but… You are filming me… Go, go… Go film your bosses, go. Unfortunately you have a lot of them… “Due Obedience” Go away… Go away “due obedience” -Also, if they wanted us out, that’s because we were annoying them, and that was our goal. -They asked me if I was afraid… I don’t know if I was afraid, all I wanted was to find him. Fear? No… I don’t know where fear was. -… was going to paint to a square. This is to publish ideas without prior censorship. We’ve always did this and we’ll continue to do so. I am the Mothers’ lawyer. Any problem talk to me. -Killing is also forbidden! -Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me! -Don’t touch the girl! -But leave her alone, how could you take her away ? -Are you taking us away? You’ll have to take all of us with you! All together! All in one! This had a very special strength All Mothers together here! -Motherfucking bastards! -But many Mothers, they took them away from inside the cafes, from the bathrooms because many mothers didn’t approach too much, but they stayed near on Avenida de Mayo, at the cafes. They took them from there. -They don’t want to say why they’re taking her! There’s our lawyer here and they don’t say a word! They’re kidnapping her! -We left the march, and each would go home, and it seems that they, undercover, were following us. -A big guy came and stood next to me… I looked at him and I pushed him, So he pulled up his coat and showed me that he had a gun. The homeland is made by working and you do not work! Workers make the homeland, not you! PLAZA DE MAYO, JULY 9, 1990. Even if you try to cover us, we’re here! Even if you place a thousand militars in front of us, we’re here! Even if you don’t like it, we’re here! Even if you try to hide us away, we’re here! And if you kill us, we’ll still be here! “MOTHERS’ HOUSE” BUENOS AIRES CITY -I was much yonger than now when my fight started… the Mothers liked me and they lovingly called me “Juanita” -Well, Juanita was the first woman who opened her house to me, gave me her bed… I was living in La Plata city. She didn’t know me, she didn’t know at all who I was. She told me: “Come to my house” so I used to stay there, I bathed there… She used to make meetings at her house -We could do it at home… I remember that… the paraguayan Mother, who died, told us once: “One day I’ll come with a big saucepan of paraguayan soup for the Mothers to know. We’re going to eat and discuss later”. And it was an unforgettable lunch, indeed. -She used to prepare tea like a bourgeois old lady, tea with cake, chocolate… tea, coffee… and with Azucena, we had to run! Azucena lived in Avellaneda and I lived in La Plata, we wanted to be back home before nightfall, and it was always getting late because of Juanita’s teas. And one day I told her: “Well, Juanita, you want to show us your nice cups? I’ll open this beautiful cupboard that you have, and we’ll show all the cups that you have…” -At the end of those meetings, which extended for several hours, we looked at the streets, checking the corners, to be sure that there was nobody waiting for us… So that in my house… these walls could tell you… -From now on you’re making tea and coffee, only when we’re leaving… no cake and cake… … Let’s get ahead! When we arrive, let’s do what we have to do, the document, the letter, the preparation, the idea of… -Because this is another one… -A little flyer, small, simple, with the date, with the schedule, with the address… to take in their diary… What do you think, Maria Rosario? -What Juanita is asking for is a program…, and I tell you that: let’s do a program, but not with those features of… a formal program, you know? -And if we do it like those cinema flyers and we put inside, instead of the film schedule, we put the things we want to say, “Appearance alive”, “Genocides to Jail” and all that? -I think it’s much better… -All like this as stuck like this ? …and in the middle the (main) information and on all the sides all the precepts, like this? -It’s alright. -A political message and a program. “ARMED FORCES, ANSWER FOR THE DISAPPEARED DETAINEES”
“NO TO THE MILITARY COURTS”
Thousands of women detained disappeared. MOTHERS’ HOUSE, NOVEMBER 1990 -Cowards actions, really, and this is not the first time, and it won’t be the last. We’ll be seeing them, in their permanent demonstrations. Terrible. -Is like Elsa here just said, isn’t it? It looks like they wanted to erase us. -When I arrived, I said : “oh, they’ve erased us” -Just like in Nazi times, they paint your house to mark you, to point at you, just like Nazism. -We’ve passed through this during dictators’ times. Ironically with a constitutional government, we are living the same moments and the same actions. -And Camps, Camps… -And look over there, well written, hey? : “Whores” -And you see here? : “Whores”. Is the same that they wrote in our house at Uruguay street. -We, that… at that moment yes, you know… I’d be lying if I tell you that when they say that I don’t feel like I want to go out and insult them and hit them… We should pay no attention to them, because that’s what they want. They want us to react, and to feel bad… So the worst thing we could do to them, is to pay no attention to them. -What to do… -Ok, until tomorrow. -Until tomorrow. -Get well, take care. -Bye bye. -Careful, Elsa. FINAL REPORT OF THE MILITARY JUNTA
T.V. NATIONAL BROADCAST
APRIL 28, 1983 “…consequently, it should be definitely clear, that those who appear in lists of disappeared, and that are not in exile or clandestines, to legal and administrative purposes, they will be considered dead, even when it can not be specified so far, the cause and circumstance of…” -But they really wanted us to think that, that our children were dead, that all was ended… Death is the end. If TV says they’re dead, they are dead. It was very hard. So we said: “No. Our sons are never going to die, because of what they did to them”. And that’s how we started. A constant fight with the other Human Rights organizations, all the time, all the time… “An ecomonic compensation, a corpse, a posthumous tribute and that’s it. Be satisfied, what else do you want?” And then you have to accept that they died in a “confrontation”? No, sir! There’s no room for a debate like that! That’s why we do not accept death. -One second, let me give you something. -OK. -Tell us a bit about the context of this photograph. Well, the dictatorship had just delivered its last document and we, the Mothers, decided to make our own document, to refute theirs. and it was raining so heavily. But it was pouring rain like it’s raining now, you know ?… unbearable, You can see in this picture that you’re showing me, that there’s water from there (Plaza de Mayo) to the Government House (Pink House), it was like a river. to tell you that I lost my shoes that day, the water took them away. PLAZA DE MAYO, APRIL 28, 1983. This photograph became known world-wide because we were… soaked! but we did not move from there. When the journalists started to arrive and they took refuge under the covered galleries, we read to them our document, and our document was very strong. So almost… Our document came out just before the one that the militars were reading. So it was a very important day for us. But at that time, at the begining they didn’t let you bury the bodies… You couldn’t do a wake… From the funeral home to the cemetery. And it was the police who would carry the coffin, they didn’t allow the family to do it. And so, some Mothers decided to accompany the grieving mother, and the police dropped the coffin on purpose all the way… -It was known, you know? That one Mother received a coffin filled with stones… things like that… and another Mother, they let at her front door a little box with bones. -They said: “This is what is left of your daughter”. “Do you know what happened to me yesterday? I received a box by mail containing by son’s hands”. It was brutal. They did all kind of stuff to us in order to keep us demoralized, depressed, to keep us from coming, to make us cry… -It seemed that these things, so baleful… were not going to touch us, because there was the feeling of the love that interposed between those facts and the feelings of a mother that has hope. That it was not fulfilled, we couldn’t make it. But the effort was huge. Always walking, and walking, asking, having interviews, day and night… but the commitment of the military was ironclad, inhuman, sadistic, vile… and they accomplished what they wanted. That’s why there’s no forgiveness for any of them… Pardon? They deserve nothing but jail for the rest of their lifes. They have to purge all this and they have to receive the condign punishment for all they did. -Every stitch is remember them… every stitch is remember them, remember all we have done. The “appearance alive”, so many times, singing with such a strength… “Appearance alive and punishment to the guilty” “Now, now is imperative, appearance alive and punishment to the guilty!” So many times… -“Now, now is imperative, appearance alive and punishment to the guilty!” PLAZA DE MAYO, JULY 28, 1987. -“Our children, who will be permanently alive as long as their mothers live, as long as their friends, sons, daughters and comrades live… They’re not going to die because of the Government’s decree. They want to set some kind of endpoint law, that’s the commitment they have with the military murderers! We will not let this happen, we’ll not accept it! The Mothers, each time more strongly, stronger every day in this square, without giving up, we’re going to keep claiming! There will be no exhumation that makes us shut up! 10th ANNIVERSARY OF THE MOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO – APRIL 30, 1987. Each dead they want to exhume, has to be transformed into thousands of white scarfs shouting in this square “Appearance alive” for the defense of life!” -“I come very occasionally to the capital. That’s why I can’t resist… (“NEITHER HUNGER NOR MILITARS” – ACT AGAINST MENEM’S PARDON – JUNE 21, 1990) …the impulse to turn my face that way, seeing the presidential pennant, on the mast (at the top of the Government house) and talk directly to the President of the Nation, and say to him… Mr. President, I come from a distant province of the country, just like you. I come from that devastated Northwest that served as hunting zone to the genocidal Luciano Benjamín Menéndez, the one you just pardoned. I bring with me, tight against my heart, all of the 3.500 disappeared of my province. I bring them with me and they live in every manifestation of the Mothers of Tucumán.” -“Camila… I wanted you to keep walking just like you have been doing since the first day with me. For many reasons. You felt the same. You gave birth to your son, you love him, …you lost him, you claim for him and I do the same…” But she would say to me: “Juanita, tell me the truth, Am I going to see my son before I die? What do you think? What do you think, Juanita? I can’t suffer any longer. I realize that I have nothing more to give”, she confessed to me. That was so hard… and she died the next day… that is so hard… and in that way many Mothers have left… And that’s very painful because they were comrades in fight. Real fighters. But strength, life… it goes away and they couldn’t have the joy of seeing their children one last time… “Bring the Radical Government, for them to see, that we the people do not change our minds, we don’t want pardon nor endpoint laws”. -What could I tell you?… Cota was a fighter little old woman neat, dressed up, she used makeup three times a day. She never missed a single meeting. She was not well. She was in a nursing home. I used to visit her. One time she told me: -“Would you bring me photographs of Plaza de Mayo?” -“Yes, of course”, I said, “how many do you want?” -“Well… bring me six or seven”. and I brought her the photographs and she told me: -“Bring me something to stick them on the wall”, so I brought her glue. and she glued them all over the wall here like this, and she used to lay on her bed and spent her time watching those images… And so she died. Looking at the images of Plaza de Mayo. PLAZA DE MAYO – JANUARY 26, 2006 “APPEARANCE ALIVE OF THE DISAPPEARED – MOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO” -“Videla came and went, and we continued. Viola came and went, and we continued. Galtieri came and went. Bignone came and went, who handed over the shreds of power. Then Alfonsín came and went, and now you will come and go. We sincerely wish that you go with your term in office finished. And we will continue resisting. We’re not only here at Plaza de Mayo. We are the Plaza de Mayo! We are its plants, its air. We are what is breathed here”. “… A FLAG THAT SAYS THANK YOU MOTHERS, FOR ALWAYS BEING THE EXAMPLE IN THE POPULAR STRUGGLE, FOR 2000 THURSDAYS, FOR NOT SELLING THE BLOOD OF 30,000 FALLEN, THAT WILL ALWAYS BE HERE. COME ON THE MOTHERS, WITH STRENGTH GO TO THE FRONT, LIKE ALL THE PEOPLE ASK … COME ON THE MOTHERS … ” -Every thursday they (the mothers who died) are with us. We don’t forget them. My niece knows… I want my ashes to rest there (in Plaza de Mayo), next to my companions. -All this must never happen again, but can not be forgotten. This fight must not be forgotten. That’s why we have to keep going. IN 2004, AFTER 27 YEARS OF STRUGGLE, FOR THE FIRST TIME THE MOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO HAVE THE POLITICAL SUPPORT OF THE NATION’S PRESIDENT IN THEIR CLAIM FOR JUDGEMENT AND PUNISHMENT. NÉSTOR KIRCHNER REMOVES THE MILITARY LEADERSHIP, OPENS A POLITICAL TRIAL AGAINST SUPREME COURT MEMBERS, AND DECLARES INSANABLY NULL THE LAWS OF “DUE OBEDIENCE” AND “FULL STOP LAW”, LAWS THAT FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS GUARANTEED THE IMPUNITY OF THE GENOCIDES AND THE DECIDED IMPOSITION OF A NO-MEMORY POLICY REGARDING CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY. MOST OF THE CIVILIANS RESPONSIBLE, THAT COVERED UP, PROMOTED AND BENEFITED FROM THOSE CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES AND FROM THE NEOLIBERAL POLICIES BROUGHT BY THE DICTATORSHIP, HAVE NEVER BEEN JUDGED, AND TO THIS DAY, RESTS OVER THEM A MANTLE OF IMPUNITY AND SILENCE SUSTAINED BY DENSE PLOTS OF BUSINESSES, POWER AND OBLIVION. THE MOTHERS STILL MARCH EVERY THURSDAY AT PLAZA DE MAYO. DIRECTED BY
RICARDO SOTO URIBE PRODUCED BY
MATÍAS EZEQUIEL CEBALLOS REBEQUI SCRIPT
RICARDO SOTO URIBE MOTHERS INTERVIEWED : AZUCENA DE TAJÁN, CELIA DE PRÓSPERI, ELSA DE MANZOTTI, EVEL DE PETRINI, HEBE DE BONAFINI, JOSEFINA DE FIORE, JOSEFA DE PALUDI, JUANA DE PARGAMENT, MERCEDES DE MEROÑO, ROSA DE CAMAROTTI. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS TO : ALL AND EVERY ONE OF THE MOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO, FOR
THEIR PREDISPOSITION, TENACITY AND INEXHAUSTIBLE ENERGY. ALL THE INTERVIEWS WERE MADE DURING 2014 AND 2015. “THEY ALL ARE OUR CHILDREN”
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA.