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News > Latin America

Argentine Mother of Disappeared Wants Justice for Berta Caceres

  • Nora Cortiñas is co-founder of the Mothers of the Plaza of Mayo in Argentina.

    Nora Cortiñas is co-founder of the Mothers of the Plaza of Mayo in Argentina. | Photo: EFE

Published 18 March 2016

Nora Cortiñas has long fought for truth and justice for the disappeared in Argentina, and is now is on a mission for justice in Honduras after Berta Caceres' murder.

As Honduran Indigenous movements and supporters mourn and honor murdered leader Berta Caceres, an Argentine mother of the disappeared has traveled to Honduras along with other international human rights defenders to demand justice.

Nora Cortiñas, co-founder of Argentina’s Mothers of the Plaza of Mayo, is one of 12 members of the International Mission for Justice for Berta Caceres spending five days in Honduras to meet with various social groups and reiterate demands for an independent investigation and an end to corporate projects on Lenca land.

The Grandmothers and Mothers of the Plaza of Mayo have a long history of fighting for truth and against injustice in Argentina. The organization, founded in 1977 to find children kidnapped and disappeared during Argentina’s dictatorship-era Dirty War, has identified 120 missing grandchildren.

Many grandmothers searched for decades before being united with their grandchildren. The organization estimates there are still hundreds of Argentine children of the dictatorship era, now adults, who do not know their true identities or families.

Cortiñas, a social psychologist and economics professor, lost her son to forced disappearance in 1977, but does not have a known missing grandchild to search for. She has traveled around the world in solidarity with other family members of the disappeared to raise awareness about demands for justice for historical human rights abuses while highlighting the economic relations underlying Argentina’s dictatorship and widespread disappearances.

RELATED: 'Berta Lives!' Indigenous Groups March for Justice in Honduras

The Argentine activist also visited Honduras in the wake of the 2009 coup against President Manuel Zelaya as part of an international mission that slammed the coup regime and army for violating human rights, including by attacking, beating, and threatening peaceful protesters.

Cortiñas is now part of a group of 11 other international observers from Mexico, El Salvador, Spain, Mexico, and the United States, who will be in Honduras until March 20 to demand justice for Caceres.

Berta Caceres' daughter Olivia Zuñiga protests March 17, 2016.

Indigenous and environmental leader Caceres was murdered in her home on March 3. Her family and supporters have demanded an independent, internationally-led investigation into the case. Their calls have not been answered, and human rights defenders have reported Honduran authorities are conducting an irregular, manipulated investigation.

Family members requested that independent forensic experts oversee the autopsy, but Honduran authorities immediately disregarded this demand and conducted the autopsy without observers.

The International Mission for Justice for Berta Caceres has expressed support for the demands of the victim’s family, including calls for an end to all unwanted extractive projects on Lenca territory.

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