Argentina: Thousands Protest as Body Is Found Near Site of Activist’s Disappearance

HeadlineOct 20, 2017

In Argentina, thousands of people marched to the Plaza de Mayo in the capital Buenos Aires on Thursday demanding justice and answers about the disappearance of indigenous rights activist Santiago Maldonado. On Thursday, a body was found in the river close to the site where Maldonado disappeared on August 1 during a protest against the eviction of indigenous people from lands claimed by the Italian clothing company Benetton. It is not yet known if the body is Maldonado’s. Eyewitnesses say Argentine security forces beat and arrested a person around the time of Maldonado’s disappearance.

The case has stoked painful memories of the military dictatorship of 1976 to ’83, when U.S.-backed security forces tortured activists and disappeared an estimated 30,000 people. This is Nora Cortiñas of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.

Nora Cortiñas: “If President Mauricio Macri wasn’t interested in human rights before, Macri is president of all Argentinians now. He won with votes, not with boots, so he has to govern for all Argentinians. And Argentinians need to know that human rights are part of the government and are part of the state. So this is what we are asking, that they respect human rights.”

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