CSUN Students Interview a Member of the Madres of the Plaza de Mayo
(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Aug. 4, 2008) More than three decades ago, the Madres of the Plaza de Mayo became the only group who dared to confront the military dictatorship in Argentina. Since then, the Madres have held weekly protests in the Plaza de Mayo demanding answers and justice in what has become a unique battle for human rights. Students participating in the Historical Field Studies trip to Buenos Aires had the rare opportunity to interview one member of the association, Mercedes de Meroño (Porota).
Porota answered students’ questions and talked about the Madres’ struggle for justice, their opposition to the death penalty and the need for young people to work towards equality and redistribution to create a better society for everyone. When asked about the Madres’ role in Argentina’s political scenario today, Porota replied that they seek to maintain the ideals of their children alive by fulfilling their dreams of free education, universal healthcare, subsidized housing, and dignified work. To accomplish this goal, the association has been sponsoring a number of different projects such as an independent university, a public radio and a cultural center. The association is also working on a more ambitious project called Sueños Compartidos (Shared Dreams) that is currently building affordable housing for low income families with resources obtained from donations and the organization’s bookstore and craft store. Men and women work together to build their own homes in what she called a “gender blind project.” So far, 24 homes have been finished but the goal is to build hundreds more all over Argentina. Besides houses, the project has also opened a daycare center, emergency clinic, communal kitchen and is sponsoring literacy and training programs. Porota proudly showed students a handmade bench made in one of the workshops and spoke about the significance of a project that besides material benefits is restoring back the dignity to thousands of Argentines who for many years had nowhere to live and relied on public welfare and charity to survive.