The Madres de la Plaza de Mayo

Essay by briannacarter21University, Master'sA, April 2011

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The Madres � PAGE �4�

The Madres de la Plaza de Mayo have represented social movements for the advancement of human, civil, and political rights in Argentina, and even internationally, for over three decades (Basco, 2006). The first movement began as a response to the military regime in the mid-1970s, after a history of political turmoil in the country (Hernandez, 2002). Today, the madres, translated as "mothers" in English, continue to fight for human rights throughout Argentina.

Juan Domingo Peron was Argentina's governmental leader beginning in the mid 1940s. He created a strong state for the Argentinian citizens and promoted human rights, especially for workers. He not only recognized unions, but also increased wages and enforced labor laws. Peron was very successful in the beginning of his term. He gained the support of many, particularly the women who were given the right to vote in 1947. However, toward the end of the 1940s, economic issues depleted the economy and political instability increased.

An uproar amongst the civilians occurred and in 1955, the military intervened and forced Peron to leave (Hernandez, 2002).

The military regime restricted human rights. They crushed workers' strikes and eliminated price controls on primary products. Additionally, wage contracts were abolished and supporters of Peron were jailed. Students and workers revolted against the regime in 1969, calling for a socialist revolution. The reaction was that of imprisonment, concentration camps, occupying workplaces, breaking strikes, and freezing wages. Finally, in 1973, the regime allowed for new elections. Peron returned to rule, but died in 1974, leaving his wife in charge. Because she had no political experience, instability increased and she resigned shortly thereafter due to threats from the regime (Hernandez, 2002).

Power and control was turned over to a military coup after Peron's death. The leaders of the coup...