Hebe de Bonafini

Hebe Pastor de Bonafini (born 1928) is an Argentine activist, one of the founders of the Association of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a protest organization of Argentine mothers who lost their children during the Dirty War, the persecution and suppression of terrorist groups by the military regime (self-styled "National Reorganization Process") that ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983.

Bonafini was raised in La Plata, Buenos Aires Province, and attended school through the eighth grade. She married, worked as a seamstress, and raised three children. Her oldest son, Jorge Bonafini, disappeared in 1977, followed by another son.

As president of the Mothers Association since 1979, Bonafini has spoken out in defense of her conception of human rights, both in Argentina and abroad, gaining international recognition; she received the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education in 1999.

Following the return to civilian rule in 1983, Bonafini demanded an immediate accounting of all of the desaparecidos, like her sons.

The Mothers Association split in 1986, and Bonafini has generally been identified with the more radical faction, choosing to justify the methods undertaken by dissident people during the last dictatorship.

On the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Bonafini defended the actions of the airline hijackers saying "I felt that there were many people in that moment who were happy and felt that the blood of so many in that moment were avenged... because the NATO bombings, the blockades and the millions of children who die of hunger in this world, that was due to this power that those men attacked, with their own bodies. And everyone knew it."

In 2005 she generated more controversy by saying Pope John Paul II would soon "rot in hell" as he "had committed sins.

In December 2006 Argentine President Néstor Kirchner received Hebe at the Government House, as head of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.


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