Estela de Carlotto, the leader and founder of the Argentine human rights group Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, met privately this Sunday in Mexico City with the parents of the missing 43 Ayotzinapa students.After the meeting, de Carlotto, who earlier this year found her grandson 36 years after his disappearance, expressed support for the relatives of the missing students and regretted that such things occur even under “constitutional governments.”
“The ‘They took them alive, we want them alive’ slogan is a fair claim that everybody must maintain. We defended that claim for years; it is a correct political stance,” said de Carlotto during a press conference.
On the night of Sept. 26, police in Iguala, Guerrero state, shot at several buses used by the Ayotzinapa students, killing three of them and three civilians. According to authorities, the police then “arrested” 43 students and handed them over to the Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors) drug gang.
According to Mexico’s attorney general, the gang is controlled by the former mayor of Iguala and his wife, who were arrested by police in Mexico City, where they were hiding. They are accused of being the masterminds behind the violent incidents of Sept. 26-27.
Hilda Hernandez, mother of Cesar Manuel Gonzalez, one of the missing students said of de Carlotto, “She told us is that we have to be strong; she also told us how she has gone through a similar situation and I think that is why she understands us better.
“She asked us not to give up and we are going to listen to her. We will not be quiet.”
Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo was created after the Argentine army took the power in a 1976 coup. Hundreds of activists and opposition members were illegally arrested and disappeared by the army during the dictatorship.
Detained activists who were pregnant or had babies were disappeared and their sons were handed over to other families.
Since then, Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo has located 115 missing grandchildren. This year, Guido Carlotto, grandson of Estela de Carlotto, was located by the group and reunited with his grandmother.