Argentina: March 24th. Strong presence in Plaza de Mayo

By Pablo Vasco, CADHU-MST

Wednesday March 24th woke up with a story in several newspapers, besides the allusions to the 45th anniversary of the coup. Documents recently disclosed by the embassy of the United States in Buenos Aires ratified what everybody already knew: a month before the coup, the embassy warned Washington that the “military government will incur in human rights violations” and the Department of State expected “a military government for an extended period of time and of an unprecedented severity.” The documents also inform on the visit to our country, before the coup, of a republican senator and a former deputy director of the CIA to meet with the high commanders of the military.

In other words, the USA clearly knew about the coup, they encouraged it and did nothing to prevent it and later supported the genocidal dictatorship. They were culprits, just like the IMF that financed it. They wanted to cut from the root the rise of the workers’ and popular struggle, an strategic objective they shared with the PJ in office during that time, the opposing UCR, the business owners as a class, the union bureaucracy and the Catholic  Church.

From the preparations to the Plaza

Needless to say that all the preparatory talks, invitations and dissemination of the call were growing in strength as the date of the 24th approached. From each neighborhood we made the plan of guests, the calculation of the cost of the buses, the preparation of the flags, banners and drums.

On the 24th itself, at three in the morning, we had to go to the Plaza to debate with officials and police agents: a light installation in front of the Casa Rosada forced us to move our box to the other side of the Pyramid, facing the Cabildo, which made our space a bit smaller. Later we found out why: that unforeseen installation was so that Alberto Fernández could make his tweet of the 24th with showy images?

But no light effect could, can or will ever be able to hide the forcefulness of the political reality. The political, trade union and human rights sectors close to the government called for planting trees instead of mobilizing. In other words, they demobilized. We, on the other hand, planted our presence in Plaza de Mayo, our square.

Absence with notice, militant presence

The argument of the government is weak, very weak. Because it seems that there is no pandemic to open the whole economy due to business pressure, there is no pandemic to open all public transportation and travel crowded, there is no pandemic to start classes no matter what, there is no pandemic even to open the Rosada to hold a massive funeral… but it turns out that there is a pandemic just at the time of taking to the streets on March 24th?

It is almost childish. In contrast to this absence from an honorable date such as March 24th, which generated discontent in sectors of the sympathizers of the Frente de Todos, from the Encuentro Memoria, Verdad y Justicia we decided to call for a march. We discussed the slogans, the document, the organization, everything. Moreover, for the first time in 45 years, the Buenos Aires government denied us the stage and the sound system, so the expenses were much higher. But when there is political will, obstacles are overcome. And that is why on the 24th we packed the Plaza.

Huge march and rally for Memory, Truth and Justice

The columns were forming on Avenida de Mayo and San José. Already the march of the 23rd in La Plata predicted a large turnout, not only of the organizations but also of many comrades independently, ignoring the official call not to march.

30,000 present! said the EMVJ’s banner at the head of the huge column, together with the main slogans: “Common jail for the genocides, no house arrest” and “Against impunity, the austerity measures and the repression of yesterday and today”. After the leaders, among whom were our comrades Cele Fierro, Alejandro Bodart and Vilma Ripoll, came the human rights organizations -among them our CADHU-, the social and trade union organizations -among them the CICOP and the LATAM aeronautical workers-, followed by the political parties of the left.

The MST was first in the joint column of the FIT Unidad, together with the PO, Izquierda Socialista and the PTS. Our party, the youth and Teresa Vive built a more than outstanding and very combative participation, with several thousand militants, sympathizers, relatives and friends. With the portraits of our murdered and detained-disappeared comrades of the PST held high, waving non-stop, we walked all the way down Avenida de Mayo. ALE nurses carried signs with the faces and names of their colleagues who were victims of the dictatorship.

Before the act, with her figure on the big screen, dear Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Founding Line such as Norita Cortiñas, Elia Espen, Mirta Baravalle and Elsa Pavón were present with their heartfelt words. Already in the square, groups such as the collective of former political prisoners, the National March against the Gatillo Fácil and fighters such as Sergio Maldonado, Santiago’s brother, joined the unitary act of the Encounter. Once the historic square was full of people and after 5 p.m., we read the consensual political document that we reproduce below. The cry of 30,000 people present, now and forever, resounded again and again.

On March 24, 45 years after the genocidal coup, as our banners confirmed, we were where we had to be: We planted our presence in the Plaza.