Last week was The Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice in Argentina. The 24th March is a day to remember the 30,000 people killed, kidnapped and tortured by the Argentine authorities during the period of military rule known as The Dirty War. The 24th March marks the 35th anniversary of the coup d’état of 1976, which brought the military government into power and led to some of the worst human rights abuses in history. This day of remembrance ensures the victims are not forgotten and that the experience is never repeated. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Plaza de Mayo and filled the square and the wide Avenida de Mayo all the way to Congreso. Unlike the memorial days we’re used to in England – usually feelings of quiet sadness and regret, the atmosphere here was more of anger as many peoples family members are still missing and tensions are still running high as to whether the government is doing enough to find them and bring people responsible to justice. The march was loud and full of all sorts of organisations using it as an opportunity to demonstrate their political views.
The debate concerning the Dirty War is still very much alive with the marches every Thursday in Plaza de Mayo demanding justice. The most interesting development is the recently started trial against two former military presidents and their six most loyal supporters. The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo have spent 14 years preparing this case and with nearly 400 witnesses the case is expected to last up to a year. The court proceedings are being televised so that a large audience can follow what happens. This unusual decision was made in the hope that once Argentina knows what really happened, the people will then be able to heal.