Mothers of Argentina's Disappeared March to Keep Memory Alive

"Do not give up, do not negotiate, do not be silent, do not forgive, do not forget, and always fight" —the slogan for mobilizing Argentine human rights defenders. 

The Mothers and Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo gather Thursday for the "March of the Resistance" in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They march for justice for those disappeared during Argentina's dictatorship.

RELATED: Grandmothers Of Plaza De Mayo Celebrate 41 Years Of Fight

"Despite our canes and wheelchairs ... we continue and will continue standing up [for our rights] because we are not alone," Taty Almeida, 88, one of the founders of the movement, said according to El Periodico.

The Mother's annual event will be supported by political organizations, workers' unions, and student associations that will mobilize themselves under the slogan "do not give up, do not negotiate, do not be silent, do not forgive, do not forget, and always fight."

Since 1997 the mothers and grandmothers of the victims of state-sponsored terrorism gather in the Plaza de Mayo, a square facing Argentina's presidential palace that has always been an important meeting point for political activism.

Ayer se cumplió 41 años de la desaparicion de Azucena Villaflor de Vincenti Madre de Plaza de Mayo, desapareció el 10 de diciembre de 1977. Fue la fundadora del Movimiento Madres de Plaza…

"41 years have passed since the disappearance of Azucena Villaflor de Vincenti, a mother of Plaza de Mayo who disappeared on Dec. 10, 1977. She was the founder of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Movement."

The "March of the Resistance" is accompanied by cultural activities which aim to remember thousands of Argentines who disappeared amid a "Dirty War" against leftist social and political organizations.

"To have memory, to obtain justice, and to know the ultimate truth ... (Governments) sometimes want to erase our memory. ... We are offended when they distort the number of disappeared", said Estela De Carlotto, one of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo.

According to the non-governmental organization Madres y Abuelas, 8,754 cases of disappearances have been formally filed and 30,000 cases were not reported during the last Argentine military dictatorship (1976-1983).

After 41 years of continuous searching for the disappeared, which even resorted to elaborate studies into DNA, the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo discovered the true identities of 128 of the 500 infants snatched from their parents and given to other families.

"We are getting the truth little by little ... Where are the hundreds of victims who were murdered and thrown into the sea or buried?," De Carlotto asked and stressed that "we will not aim to solve everything. [However] we already have relays, we have the disappeared's children, our grandchildren."

 
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Argentinean Auto Industry Shrinks 19 Percent in November

Buenos Aires, Dec 7 (Prensa Latina) The auto industry in Argentina shrank nearly 19 percent in November, compared to the same period in 2017, while wholesale sales to the domestic market also decreased.

According to a recent report from the Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ADEFA), quoted by several news websites, wholesale sales plummeted 57.9 percent compared to the same period last year.

The national production of vehicles was 36,808 units in November, 4.8 percent less than in October and 18.6 percent below the same month in 2017, ADEFA said.

The report states that in wholesale sales, the sector sold 33,095 vehicles, a volume that was 11.1 percent below November's record and 57.9 percent less compared to November 2017.

Finally, the Association stated that with a total of 633,398 vehicles marketed between January and November, the sector recorded a year-on-year decrease of 20.2 percent compared to total wholesale sales.

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BREAKING: Missing Argentine Submarine Found

On Thursday, Argentina remembered the crew members from the ARA San Juan submarine, one year later.

SoThe Argentine navy has announced that the missing ARA San Juan submarine has been located deep in the Atlantic, one year after the vessel disappeared.

RELATED: One Year Later: Relatives of Argentine Sub Crew Seek Justice

Early Saturday the navy said the vessel was detected 800 meters below waters off the Valdes Peninsula in Argentine Patagonia. The submarine has been missing for one year.

The submarine, which disappeared with 44 crewmen aboard, was found by a remote-operated submersible from the American ship Ocean Infinity and is a "positive identification."

Argentine ARA San Juan submarine crew. Photo: Ezequiel Salas
South African Seabed Constructor vessel from Ocean Infinity found the lost submarine.

The vessel was discovered just two days after families of the missing sailors held a commemoration one year after the sub disappeared, on Nov. 15, 2017.

On Thursday, Argentina remembered the crew members from the ARA San Juan submarine. Relatives of the crewmen had expressed disappointment with President Mauricio Macri's Administration, indicating that they were still awaiting some concrete answers about the fate of their loved ones.

The #MinisterioDeDefensa and #ArmadaArgentina inform that on the day of the date, having investigated the point of interest No. 24 reported by Ocean Infinity, through the observation made with an ROV at 800 meters deep, positive identification has been given to # AraSanJuan

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Argentina's Largest Labor Union Begins 36-Hour Strike Against Macri’s Austerity

Argentina’s largest labor union, which boasts membership from 20 percent of the country’s workforce, strikes against Macri’s austerity measures, bringing Buenos Aires to a standstill.

Argentina’s largest labor union, the CGT organized a 36-hour strike across the country starting Monday, the second strike Argentina has faced within a month. Previously, on Sept.12, public sector employees and employees from educational institutions walked out of their jobs to protest the austerity measures of the Mauricio Macri government.

RELATED: Macri: We're Telling Everyone About Argentina's Great Future

The strike began with an event at the Pueyrredón Bridge, which will be headed by Barrios de Pie, the Clasista y Combativa Current (CCC), and the Confederation of Workers of the Popular Economy (CTEP), in addition to the CTA Perón (Workers' Central).

Social organizations will then join the mobilization that will end with an act at the capital's Plaza de Mayo. They, together with a fraction of the Autonomous CTA, will cut the entrance to the city of Buenos Aires from Avellaneda, which will bring the city to a standstill.

"The message to the government is to listen to the voice of the people. On Tuesday, there will be a forceful stoppage for the government to change economic policy. In the speeches, they say that we are doing well, but proof that this is not the case is visible to everyone, "said Carlos Acuña, one of the three general secretaries of the CGT.

President Mauricio Macri signed a US$50 billion deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that is supposed to reduce Argentina’s debt. But since the announcement of the deal in June, the Argentine peso has devalued 30 percent against the US dollar.

Macri claimed that austerity policies will help the fiscal condition of the country but workers have experienced 34 percent inflation since last year without any wage increase.

CGT warned that if labor strikes do not sway the government, it can expect growing protests in the next months. If that also doesn’t work, the CGT will call for an indefinite strike to force Macri to negotiate with workers.

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'My Worst Fears Came True': Cristina Fernandez Shows How Police Stole, Damaged Items in Her Home

In a video released on Sunday, Senator Cristina Fernandez shows how investigators damaged and stole items from her Calafate home in an August raid.

Former President Cristina Fernandez released a video Sunday from her Calafate country house condemning last month’s raids made on her three homes in connection to the ‘Bribery Notebooks’ corruption case against Fernandez.

RELATED: Argentine Teacher Tortured, Her Flesh Carved With Threat

"This house three weeks ago was more than raided. (It was) literally taken by the people that (Judge) Bonadio sent here," the current Senator said in the video in front of her Calafate home.

In late August Judge Claudio Bonadio ordered search warrants for the three Fernandez homes, one of which is located in Calafate and another in Buenos Aires, to look for information in connection to alleged payments Fernandez received in exchange for political favors and public works contracts during her presidencies (2007-2015).

In her video, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK) denounced the raids saying they were not carried out to "gather information" but were actually "another chapter of humiliation and persecution" against the Citizens Unity coalition leader.

The former president went through her home detailing how for three days officials drilled dozens of holes in the walls of the home, removed stones and took an original painting.

In the video, Fernandez said she tried to mandate protections of her belongings in the house, but those were denied by her fellow Senators who narrowly voted on Aug. 22 to allow the searches to take place.

“My worst fears came true. … What I thought would happen really happened," Senator Fernandez said referring to the items stolen from her house she says have nothing to do with the investigation against her. “They came to find, God knows what, millions of dollars, I do not know," stressed the former president.

"They broke everything, took personal items in the house that have nothing to do with the investigation. In Buenos Aires they did not let my lawyer in, people who were then intoxicated,” added the former head of state referring to the cleaning staff of her Buenos Aires home suffering from “dizziness, itchy throats, and eyes, and difficulty breathing” immediately after the home was raided nearly a month ago.

Fernandez added that the current situation in Argentina "is very disturbing.”

RELATED: Argentina: New Supreme Court President 'Too Close to Executive'

She said the government (under President Mauricio Macri) is “violating rights and constitutional guarantees," and denounced the torture against the Buenos Aires teacher who last week was hooded and tattooed with ‘no more pots’ written in Spanish on her stomach.

"What happened to the teacher in Moreno (Buenos Aires) is very serious because it is a kind of harassment, persecution, and intimidation of against policies that question what is happening in Argentina."

Last Wednesday three male attackers scratched out the words ‘no more pots’ (olla no) on the stomach of teacher Corina De Bonis with a sharp object as she was walking home from work. De Bonis was a part of a group of Buenos Aires teachers who were feeding kids hot meals as the Cambiemos-lead government initiative to drastically cuts education funds, subsidies in social spending trying to plug its deficit.  

The case against Fernandez emerged after Argentine newspaper La Nacion published photocopies of eight notebooks belonging to Oscar Centeno, the driver of Julio de Vido, federal Planning and Public Investment Minister between 2003 and 2015 during the Kitchener and Fernandez administrations.

According to the newspaper, the driver kept records of alleged bags of money business executives gave to the Kirchner administration. CFK has repeatedly denied the claims of corruption.

In the video, Fernandez condemned Macri’s "borrowing policy."

In June the administration took on a US$50 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan hoping it would stem the country’s down-spiraling economy as the peso devalued to 40 to the dollar and inflation rests at 35 percent, after hovering between 25 and 30 percent for a year.

Bloomberg analysts predict inflation to hit 40 percent by year’s end bringing Argentina into a full-blown recession.  The government "has gutted the state in the most sensitive areas and that must change," said Fernandez from Calafate.

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Amid Economic Convulsion, Argentinean Gov't Announces Changes

Buenos Aires, Sep 3 (Prensa Latina) In the midst of an economic convulsion hitting Argentina, with a mega-devaluation of the peso that impacts social life, today eyes focus on the measures to be announced by the Government, together with possible changes in the Cabinet.

Much has been speculated this weekend on the busy ins and outs at the presidential Residence of Olivos, where last Saturday, Mauricio Macri summnoned several officials, among them governor of the capital, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta and that of the province of Buenos Aires, Maria Eugenia Vidal.

Meanwhile, today the minister of the Treasury, Nicolas Duvjonem, summoned a press conference where he will announce a package of fiscal measures, while it is also talked of possible changes in the Executive, among them the post of foreign minister which could be assumed by former Minister of Economy, Alfonso Prat-Gay, according to local news media. Dujovne will be in charge of announcing the measures that, according to speculations could include the application of retentions to exports, which already generates strong rejection from agricultural workers and to boost even more asdjustments to the State's structure.

The minister will also go tomorrow to the United States to meet director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, looking to fix an advancement of the loan extended by the IMF last June for 50 billion dollars.

Also over the weekend circulated news about the possible closing of 12 ministries, among which those of Science and Technology, Culture, Energy and Agribusiness, which would pass to be secretaries of State, together with changes in half of Macri's cabinet.

In the country tension is everywhere, above all among many citizens affected by the drastic rise of the U.S. currency on Thursday, from 34 to 42 pesos, who hurried to withdraw their savings in that currency with the ghost hovering of the so-called 'corralito' that exploded into a great crisis in 2001 which many still remember. In a race against time and the 2019 budget debate around the corner, the Government looks to calm down the situation and will try by all means to reduce the fiscal déficit and prices, while looks point again to what happens at the banks and financial entities this Monday that is quite agitated.

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'Education is a Right!': Argentine Students, Teachers Mobilize En Masse Against Education Funding Cuts

Hundreds of thousands marched in Buenos Aires in defense of public education and to demand better salaries and increased budgets.

Hundreds of thousands of Argentines marched in downtown Buenos Aires  Thursday in defense of the public education system and to reject cuts announced by President Mauricio Macri’s administration amid the country's ongoing International Monetary Fund-backed austerity measures.

RELATED: Argentina: Professors, Teachers Protest Against Budget Cuts

The march took place during the fourth week of a strike by workers at national universities. In the days leading up to the march professors and students held classes in public spaces and organized occupations of universities across the country to shed light on the current crisis in the Argentine higher education system.  

“We didn’t come only for the salaries, but also for the funding of public and free university education,” Monica Pipino, a professor at the National University of Rosario, explained in an attempt to counter the narrative advanced by government officials, who claim the conflict is based exclusively on wages.

Last month, Macri’s government announced a US$99 million (over $3 billion Argentine Pesos) in cuts to the public education sector and a halt in infrastructure projects. This announcement aggravated the demand for salary increases that respond to the increasing rate of inflation.

@fedelopezclaro Marcha por la educación Universitaria
Foto @fedelopezclaro

 

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Evo Morales Rejects Militarization of Bolivia-Argentina Border

On August 17, the Argentine Government set up a military base in the border city of La Quiaca, near Bolivia, framed in the plan for a reform of the Armed Forces.

On Thursday, Bolivian President Evo Morales rejected the militarization of the Bolivia-Argentina border that President Mauricio Macri has ordered. The Bolivian president said that the Argentine Government seeks to intimidate and frighten the Bolivian people, but noted that this action does not scare them.

RELATED: Bolivia's Evo Morales: 'The US Is An Interventionist State'

Morales said that Argentina's move aims to rattle Bolivia. "They will try to scare us; We are not going to be scared, we are a united people, with social forces. They will try to intimidate us, they will not be able to," he said during a Public event in Chuquisaca, Bolivia.

The president said that he does "not agree with what Argentina did these last days, militarize the border with Bolivia, in La Quiaca, in front of Villazon." 

On August 17, the Argentine Government set up a military base in the border city of La Quiaca, near Bolivia, framed in the plan for a reform of the Armed Forces which is promoted by the country's executive to carry out internal security tasks. However, the Argentine Ambassador to Bolivia, Normando Alvarez, confirmed that an Argentinian military base will be installed in Abra Pampa, Jujuy Province, 70 kilometers away from the border with Bolivia.

Social and other media reports claimed that the United States had planned to open a military base in Argentina, near the border with Bolivia, in order to fight against drug-trafficking and terrorism. But, the Argentinian Government has denied the allegation.

"No, they are inventions; why do we need the United States military if we have professional military forces that can calmly develop their task," the ambassador remarked.

"NATO and U.S. military bases are synonymous with theft, synonymous with looting, confrontation, war. We have profound differences with the capitalist system, with North American imperialism, but for that we need unity. If we are united nothing is going to stop our process of change," Bolivian President Morales commented.

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