Argentinien: Mirta Susana Clara

The photos of the prisoners humiliated by the Americans in Iraq remind me of my husband tortured in 1976, when the Argentinean military tied him up and took him on parade.

— Mirta Susana Clara

After six years in prison, Mirta Clara, her daughter and son, and the rest of society, slowly, began to become familiar with each other again. Her husband had been killed by the Argentinean military regime (1976-1983). Through her professional specialty, psychology, she tries to construct inclusive policies to help the people excluded by society. Some of them have been affected directly or indirectly by genocide, others have been excluded by unemployment and its consequences, the greatest of which is poverty.

“I am hereby writing to you in order to question the procedure and resolution by which a member of the military forces, accused of participating in the death convoy, which executed 22 young people on December 13th, 1976, is allowed to continue occupying his post as military attaché in Italy. This is of great concern to me.” That was the beginning of the letter sent in October 2003 to the Argentinean Chancellor. The letter was signed by Mirta Clara. In a deserted place in Chaco, a province in the North, Mirta and her husband, militants of the Montoneros guerrilla group, were arrested and imprisoned, separately, in October 1975. In prison, she gave birth to a son. Their daughter, almost one year old, was rescued by relatives. Mirta's husband was one of the 22 people assassinated. Mirta recovered her freedom in November 1983. It was not easy for the three of them to recognize each other. Mirta Susana Clara had been awarded a degree in Psychology, in 1970, and once she was free, she combined her professional work with her fight for human rights. “We are a team of specialists in mental health dependent on the Public Health System. We meet around 10,000 families each month.” Past and present: “With our companions in Switzerland and Spain, we are working to build a place for ex-political prisoners. It will be a place to recover the historical memory of what has happened.” “A letter puts an end to impunity,” was the headline on the front page of the newspaper ‘El Diario de la Región–The Journal of Resistance,’ in Resistencia, the capital of the province of Chaco, on October 11th, 2003. It went on saying: “Yesterday, President Kirchner ordered the military attaché in Italy to return to Argentina.” Today, this person is imprisoned in the same place where Mirta's husband was tortured.

Municipal Government of Buenos Aires Lanas National University