Translated by Jenny Atlee for COFADEH
24th October 2022
COFADEH, the Committee of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras, and its founder, Berta Oliva de Nativi, have appeared in The Violence of Development website elsewhere. In fact Martin Mowforth interviewed Berta for the website in both 2010 and 2016 The two interviews can be found at: https://theviolenceofdevelopment.com/berta-oliva-2/ and: https://theviolenceofdevelopment.com/berta-oliva/
We are grateful to both COFADEH and Jenny Atlee for their permission to include the article in The Violence of Development website.
Tegucigalpa: On National Human Rights Day, a public celebration was held at the Honduran National Congress in which the Minister of Human Rights led various activities including the presentation of a draft of the Program of Memory, Truth, Reparation, Justice and Non-Repetition for the Reconciliation and Refoundation of Honduras to representatives of human rights organisations and the Legislature.
A request was also presented to the Mayor’s Office for the Central District to change the name of the Plaza la Merced in the centre of Tegucigalpa and rename it as the Plaza of the Disappeared as part of the effort to rescue historic memory. For over 40 years mothers, children, grandchildren and spouses of the disappeared have come to the Plaza on the first Friday of every month to hold vigil, demand truth, justice and to ask the perpetrators where the detained and disappeared in Honduras are.
The public announcement of the Program of Memory, Truth, Reparation, Justice and Non-Repetition for the Reconciliation and Refoundation of Honduras by the Ministry of Human Rights was presented as part of the actions required in the sentence from the International Court of Human Rights in the case of Herminio Deras versus Honduras. COFADEH was the legal representative in this emblematic case.
Among those present for the event were Luis Rolando Redondo, President of the National Congress; President of the Commission for Justice and Human Rights, Jari Dixon; the Minister of Human Rights, Natalie Roque; Attorney General, Manuel Díaz Galeas; the Ambassador of Argentina in Honduras, Pablo Vilas; and the General Coordinator of COFADEH, Berta Oliva.
“To be here as witnesses of honour on National Human Rights Day in Honduras, is a very moving experience. I want to say to the mothers of this Plaza, ‘The people embrace you’. This is how our struggle for democracy began in Argentina. Next year marks 40 years of having recovered democracy that was interrupted in 1976,” said the Ambassador from Argentina, Pablo Vilas.
He added that “two days ago, on October 22, we commemorated the day for the right to identity in Argentina. In 2014, the Government of Nestor Kirchner passed the law that was reinforced and accompanied by our grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo who began the search for their family members 45 years ago. We continue to search for our brothers and sisters, our aunts, uncles, parents and this is why another of our statements is that the detained and disappeared are present now and forever. This is why we are here, because memory is active, memory is not a paper, memory is something we struggle for and it continues. We are here to represent the government of Argentina in this stage of the re-foundation of Honduras because this is where they developed Plan Cóndor for the Central American region.
Honduras and the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo is an example for future generations.
“Dear Berta, the struggle of our mothers, the struggle of our grandmothers is assured with this next generation of young women and men who are committed to the present, the past and the future of our America. Our grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo continue to be our guides. Every Thursday they hold vigil at the Plaza de Mayo; some in wheelchairs, some with canes but they are a symbol of struggle. They remind us that just because we have a cold doesn’t mean we don’t show up; that a Pandemic doesn’t mean we retreat from the streets. Their legacy is present and it will be the future.”