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  • Taty Almeida, Founding member Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Founding Line

    Taty Almeida, Founding member Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Founding Line | Photo: Wikipedia

Published 3 April 2019
Opinion

Taty Almeida whose son was disappeared in 1975 was given an honorary doctorate by the UNA for 'her struggle to seek truth and justice but without revenge.'

World renowned human rights activist and founding member of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Founding Line is now an honorary doctor from the National University of the Arts (UNA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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Lidia Estela Mercedes Miy Uranga, or Taty Almeida as the activist is better known, was given a Doctor Honoris Causa from the UNA for her "long career in the dissemination and promotion of the defense of human rights and fundamental work in the consolidation of the collective memory of Argentine and Latin American society."

Almeida is one of the founders of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Founding Line, a group of women who, since the late 1970s, have sought justice for the killings, tortures and estimated 30,000 forced disappearances of dissidents against the 1976 Argentine military overthrow of Isabel Peron and subsequent dictatorship that lasted until 1983.

Almeida and the other women were the mothers and grandmothers of those killed or disappeared. Her son, Alejandro Almeida, taken in 1975 when he was 20 years old and has never been found.   

"I am very grateful and with a full heart," Dr. Almeida said Monday to the press.

She was honored in a March 29 ceremony attended by over 700 people, including politicians, social movement and union leaders, and artists.

"It was so nice to see from the stage those white scarves, like mine,” Almeida told Pagina 12 newspaper. “We breathed love, affection and strength," the activist said.

"It was a very special moment. Of course, I dedicated it to my three children, especially to Alejandro and the 30,000,” referring to those disappeared by the Triple A, or Argentine Anticommunist Alliance, a far-right, paramilitary death squad. Alejandro, Almeida says she later found out, was a member of the Marxist group, Revolutionary Army of the People, when he was taken.

“I remembered the Mothers, a lot of whom, for health reasons, could not be (at the ceremony) and those who are no longer,” said the honored 88-year old activist.

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“With what we are living under (President Mauricio) Macri and company, this was a hug for the soul," said the Mother. Current Argentine president Macri (2015-present) has ushered in an economic recession that has sent 32 percent of the population into poverty and the peso into record lows against the U.S. dollar.

"It was very emotional" said Victor Giusto, dean of the folklore department at the UNA that recognized Almeida. Giusto said they wanted to give the honorary doctorate to the Mother because "of her story and, above all, her struggle to seek truth and justice without revenge."

This was Almeida’s second honorary doctorate after she received one from the National University of Cordoba in 2017.

The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Founding Line broke away from the Mother of the Plaza de Mayo in the early 1980s for practical purposes, but both groups are known for wearing a symbolic white scarf and peacefully protesting in the Plaza de Mayo to demand the return of their children and to end impunity for the members of the former dictatorship.

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