Buenos Aires Times

argentina EX-POLICE STATION TURNED INTO MEMORIAL

Vidal, Carlotto inaugurate new remembrance site in La Plata

Formerly the site of a clandestine detention centre, the new memorial site will have an auditorium, a conference room and offices for the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo.

Friday 23 March, 2018
The governor of Buenos Aires province, María Eugenia Vidal, has inaugurated a new remembrance site in the former Police Station No. 5 of La Plata, a former clandestine detention centre.
The governor of Buenos Aires province, María Eugenia Vidal, has inaugurated a new remembrance site in the former Police Station No. 5 of La Plata, a former clandestine detention centre. Foto:Telam-Eva Cabrera

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The governor of Buenos Aires province, María Eugenia Vidal, today inaugurated a new remembrance site in the former Police Station No. 5 of La Plata, a former clandestine detention centre and will lease the property to the Association of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo for 30 years. 

In attendance was the President of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo human rights organisation Estela de Carlotto, officials from the Buenos Aires government and social organisations, as well as Leonardo Fossati, one of the recovered grandchildren who was born in that very station.

The appearance of the Vidal and Carlotto together was notable, considering the human rights leader's frequent criticism of Presdient Mauricio Macri and the Let's Change (Cambiemos) administration's policies.

"Memory has no political party," Vidal shared during a brief speech at the ceremony. 

Both the governor and the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo leader paid tribute to each other in their respective speeches.

In December 2012, judges condemned 23 repressors for crimes against humanity at the site in La Plata and ordered for the provincial Executive Power to decommission the building, relocate the police station and build the remembrance site. 

Police Station No. 5 functioned, between April 1976 and February 1978, as a clandestine detention centre that housed more than 200 people, among them children and at least 13 pregnant women who gave birth in what came to be known as clandestine maternity ward.

A digital archive with all of the birth certificates registered during the last dictatorship will be provided to human rights organisations, allowing for a quicker search for grandchildren using data from doctors or judges that were able to intervene in the appropriation of minors. It’s a demand that human rights organisations have been making to the Buenos Aires provincial government for several years.

Today, part of the building has been remodelled – under the supervision of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology team to protect and preserve evidence – and will now serve as a memorial space with an auditorium, a conference room and an office for the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo.

“This demonstrates political goodwill and we celebrate that,” said Carlotto at the ceremony.

- TIMES

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