Draped in lush trees and surrounded by stately buildings, Buenos Aires’ Plaza de Mayo might look like a place to check out monuments or stop for a relaxing rest. But each Thursday, one of Argentina’s most famous public squares fills with women wearing white scarves and holding signs covered with names.
They are the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, and they are there to bring attention to something that threw their lives into tragedy and chaos during the 1970s: the kidnapping of their children and grandchildren by Argentina’s brutal military dictatorship.
For decades, the women have been advocating for answers about what happened to their loved ones. It’s a question shared by the families of up to 30,000 people “disappeared” by the state during Argentina’s “Dirty War,” a period during which the country’s military dictatorship turned against its own people.
The Dirty War has been over since the military junta gave up power and agreed to democratic elections in 1983. Since then, nearly 900 former members of the junta have been tried and convicted of crimes, many involving human rights abuses. But the chilling legacy of Argentina’s Dirty War lingers on—and until the mystery of the country’s missing children is fully solved, the mothers and grandmothers of the desaparecidos will keep fighting for the truth.
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