Friday, November 25, 2022 | 8:15 a.m.
The ashes of Hebe de Bonafini, last president of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Association, were scattered in the Plaza de Mayo, in a massive and emotional ceremony in which political, social and trade union leaders participated, as well as cultural leaders.
As is the tradition every time one of the members of the Association dies, Bonafini’s ashes were placed in a hole dug in the perimeter garden surrounding the Pirámide de Mayo, at which time he was accompanied by other members of Madres, in the midst of a fervent applause that spread to the rest of the historic square.
The square exceeded the expectations of the Mothers who called to participate in their traditional round of Thursdays to honor the memory and legacy of who was its president since 1979, Hebe de Bonafini, who died last Sunday at the age of 93.
Shortly before 3:30 p.m., the van that usually transported Hebe and the rest of the members of the Association entered a Plaza de Mayo full of flags and photos of the human rights leader, where they were received with applause and displays of affection. by a crowd, among which was the Buenos Aires governor, Axel Kicillof, and the leader of La Cámpora and minister of Community Development of the province, Andrés “Cuervo” Larroque, among other leaders from different sectors.
Among those present it was possible to see the singer Teresa Parodi, Father Paco Olveira, from the Group of Priests in Option for the Poor; the former Minister of Economy, Amado Boudou, the trade unionist Daniel Catalano (ATE-Capital), and the Buenos Aires Minister of Labor, Walter Correa.
With this act, Hebe once again took part -as she has done every Thursday in recent decades- of the historic round of the Mothers, number 2328, which this time had to take place in the peripheral streets of the square due to the enormous presence of young people and columns from political, social, and human rights organizations, militants, leaders, and officials of the Frente de Todos (FdT).
“Let’s continue with the fight so that once and for all we can build that just, free, sovereign, equitable and egalitarian Homeland; comrades, let’s continue on the path,” asked Sara Mrad, sitting from a stage, one of the five Mothers who this afternoon fulfilled the Hebe’s wish that his remains rest in the Plaza de Mayo.
Also, the historic militant Demetrio Iramain urged Bonafini to “vindicate and defend”, asked not to “invent a Hebe to measure” for each one and called to “fight like her” and to materialize the last call of the president of Madres: ” A town against the judicial party, on December 19 and 20″ against the magistrates who “want to imprison Cristina (Fernández de Kirchner) and want to leave us without the dream of being happy again.”
“We are not going to allow that with Hebe’s mandate that we are going to carry out,” he assured while the applause followed one another, as well as the songs and slogans: “Mothers of the Plaza, the people embrace you.”
Bonafini, in a video that the association published on its social networks last Sunday, had expressed that: “The day I die they don’t have to cry, they have to dance, they have to sing, have a party in the square because I did what what I wanted and said what I wanted”.
Shortly before 3:30 p.m., the white van with the legend “Not a step back” took the Mrad mothers to the Pirámide de Mayo; Josefa Fiore (91 years old); Visitation of Loyola (98 years old); Carmen Arias; Irene de Chueque, accompanied by Iramain.
Amid applause, hugs and songs, the women were received there by Governor Axel Kicillof; the Buenos Aires minister Andrés Larroque; and the Secretary for Human Rights, Horacio Pietragalla Corti.
Later, in a simple and emotional ceremony, Bonafini’s ashes were placed – along with a rosary that Pope Francis had given him – at the foot of one of the bushes in the small garden surrounding the Pyramid, where white roses and a jasmine plant
“Hebe did not leave, she is with us,” he said later with the tenderness of his 98 years in the voice of Visitación de Loyola, from the stage, in front of a moved crowd that replicated one of Bonafini’s mottos in his gestures: ” Love with love is paid “.
Thus, Bonafini’s legacy was crystallized, not only in the massive participation of the round, but in the flags and banners, which from early on populated the square with words like “Thank you”, “Hasta la victoria siempre” and “Hebe, beautiful brave”.
Bouquets of flowers were hung on the bars and the entire perimeter of the bars around the Pyramid also captured with photos different moments in Hebe’s life, many with Néstor and Cristina Kirchner and also accompanied by young militants.
But, in addition, in the conviction of the speeches of her companions: “Politics is not a way to get a position, but to build a project where the distribution of wealth is in the town, where life is life, where we guarantee that the children are happy”, as Chueque, one of the speakers, said.
Together with Azucena Villaflor
Bonafini’s remains rest in the Plaza de Mayo, as do those of Azucena Villaflor de Vicenti, the first mother, whose ashes remain buried at the base of the Pyramid of May, the same place where the women in white kerchiefs lived 45 years ago. began their fight for human rights against state terrorism.
On April 30, 1977, at the height of the civic-military dictatorship, a group of women led by Villaflor de Vicenti gathered for the first time in the center of the Plaza de Mayo and since then they have never stopped doing so.
Bonafini was born in the city of Ensenada on December 4, 1928 and in 1942 she married Humberto Bonafini, with whom she had three children: Jorge Omar, Raúl Alfredo and María Alejandra.
At the beginning of 1977, his eldest son Jorge Omar was kidnapped and disappeared in La Plata, and in December of that same year his other son, Raúl, suffered the same fate.
In addition, the following year his daughter-in-law, María Elena Bugnone Cepeda, Jorge’s wife, disappeared.
In front of the mothers
Hebe María Pastor de Bonafini began her work as president of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Association in 1979 -after the kidnapping and disappearance of the first owner, Azucena Villaflor-, an entity in which she stood out for the fight for human rights, against the impunity of those guilty of crimes against humanity, together with the vindication of the revolutionary militancy of the detained, disappeared and murdered.
Hebe not only vindicated the struggles of her own children, but promoted the collective claim of the Mothers: “They are all our children.”
She continued her struggle alone even after the death of her husband, which occurred in September 1982.
As head of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Foundation, he promoted the growth of that institution. He promoted the creation of a national university institute, a newspaper, a radio, a cultural center and a bookstore. In addition, they manage the cultural center of the exESMA.
These milestones coincide with his ideas that human rights should be combined with social rights. Hand in hand with that conception, he never hid his political preferences that were expressed in his intransigent positions in the face of inequalities.
After the arrival of Néstor Kirchner to the presidency in 2003, for the first time he made public his adherence to a government that he embraced until December 2015 when Cristina Kirchner left the Casa Rosada.
During the more than 12 years of Kirchner governments, the association interrupted its historic “Resistance marches” that it had staged every year since 1981.
Bonafini, a central figure in the democratic recovery, was also on the streets defending democracy during the carapintadas uprisings against former presidents Raúl Alfonsín and Carlos Menem, and was a fervent opponent of the pardons in favor of genocidal persons granted by the latter.
Together with the Mothers, he was in the Plaza de Mayo on the days of December 19 and 20, 2001, facing the repression of the government of the radical Fernando de la Rúa against the demonstrators, where there were dozens of deaths.
She was a great defender of the Audiovisual Communication Services Law and other public policies promoted by the Kirchner governments.