The thorny issue is in the foreground. The brothers Schoklender[1] worked with Hebe[2] since they left prison in 1995.

Sergio was attorney of the Foundation Mothers of Plaza de Mayo and director of “Shared Dreams”, the Foundation’s project to build houses. Sergio Schoklender resigned his position in early May 2011. He was denounced by MPs who started an investigation for embezzlement and money laundering.

He declared he was leaving the Institution due to a “personal project”. He described the charges as “attempts to discredit” the association Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and the government. But, as a nightmare, each day brings new and indisputable data. The protagonists wander, contradict themselves…

The unknown Meldorek Company

Meldorek Company  built up, in partnership with “Shared Dreams” and with public funds, thousands of houses especially in the Federal Capital (Buenos Aires), Tigre and Chaco. The company is accused of defrauding the state and of money laundering.

Schoklender said on TV that the Meldorek’s owners were friends, but he would not name them. However on May 29, 2011, he stated to the Argentinean newspaper Clarín “I am not the owner of Meldorek. I work for them; I charge them and collect my fees”. A few days later, amid the scandal, the state of Buenos Aires revealed in the Gazette that Schoklender was the main Director of Meldorek. The lies ended when it was revealed that he owns 90% of the company’s shares. The remaining 10% belong to his private pilot since, by the way, Meldorek has two aircraft and a luxury yacht.

Hebe has also contradicted herself. She dismissed the first suspicions about Schoklender, although later she had to acknowledge the bitter truth. Mothers may have been misled, said Minister of Justice Randazzo, adding that he had to investigate deeply up to the last consequences. From now on the lawsuit will be overseen by federal Judge Oyarbide, so the government will have a chance to blame Schoklender and absolve the others who are involved and are also guilty.

The Rightists rejoice

In an act in Chaco, on June 1st, former President Duhalde said: “The ones who killed the mother are killing the Mothers”[3]. He said that Hebe “is not an example for anything.” In a different tone, a typical representative of the right, the journalist Mariano Grondona, did not waste the opportunity to defend, in a veiled way, the military dictatorship. In face of Mother’s prestige, most of those who are Rightists do not dare to be upfront as Duhalde does. Grondona takes advantage of Shoklender’s case to denigrate the struggle for human rights, but under a hypocritical claim of fighting against genocide.

Hebe: a Cristina’s soldier

Hebe fired Schoklender saying the following: “I am a Cristina’s soldier”.

Regarding our admiration for the heroism of the Mothers and the reassurance of having always been along with many organizations and thousands of fighters in the struggle against impunity of the past and the present, we make a few questions…

Are Sergio and his small group the only corrupt ones? What did silence the Mothers? Shall we think that they had already achieved their political goals; that it was no longer necessary to fight for human rights and against impunity? Are we supposed to think that to a “partner government” the Mothers should give their support? Shall we conclude that the task was, at most, to give Justice a hand? That they could substitute for the government in the task of resolving the basic human right to housing, then it was worth swallowing some “negligence”? 

With all due respect we think the Mothers took a wrong turn. Their unconditional adherence to the government puts them under a political and economic system whose raison d’être is making profit. Accepting to be placed, in addition, as intermediary managers between the government and private companies submit them to the bourgeoisie power, which is used to buying one’s heart and mind and to corrupt and destroy whatever no longer serves them.

Return to the struggle 

The route traced by Hebe leads to bury the Mothers’ struggle.

It’s the same course that led her to abandon Julio Lopez (political activist who disappeared in 2006) or to inform on those involved in the Park Indoamericano’s occupation (low-income neighborhood of Buenos Aires) so that police repression could fell on them.

The struggle of the Mothers cannot end in this way. We need them to fight back, to abandon the way in which Hebe and the Kirchnerism put them.

We also need that Nora Cortiñas and the Mothers – Founding Line (a split of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo) do not hesitate, as it happened on March 24, when they sided with the government, which a few days ago called them “bastards” for reporting repression against the Toba people (or “quom”, an indigenous ethnicity of Formosa state). We need them to resume the flags that have made them giant: the fight against the dictatorship impunity and against the democratic regime impunity that succeeded it, the same bourgeois dictatorship that, under other forms, is still in force.

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Kirchners’ policy has destroyed the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo

The result of eight years of intervention of Nestor and Cristina Kirchner in Human Rights.

Many comrades ask: Didn’t Hebe de Bonafini know what happened with Schoklender²? Didn’t she know about the yachts, airplanes, the mansion and Ferrari? Why did a human rights organization dedicate to building homes? Didn’t Cristina Kirchner know what was happening either?

The current crisis of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo can be explained by the eight years of human rights policy that began with the Kirchner couple coming to power, declaring themselves as “sons” of Hebe and the Mothers. They raised the banner of Human Rights, promoted the repeal of the impunity laws, the pardons and judgments of some of the repressors, and helped the search of the grandchildren of disappeared people. Nilda Carre, a former guerrilla fighter, was appointed as minister of Defense and then Security. 

Hebe and her branch of the Mothers declared that the Kirchner government was their government and that the long March for Judgment and Punishment had triumphed in the political arena and now it would continue only in court. So Hebe and her group helped the Kirchners convince millions of people that this is the government of the human rights. Unfortunately, other human rights organizations such as the Grandmothers of Estela Carlotto did the same.

Cooptation and business

The political support of Hebe to the government broke with the historical independence of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo who had never supported, nor did them subordinate to, any government. The Kirchners had a policy of removing portraits of dictators, opening museums, carrying out some trials of a few well known repressors and granting offices, positions, high salaries and huge allowances to those who supported their Human Rights policy.

Under Nestor and Cristina’s governments, the slow genocide of young people continued, with reported cases of police abuse, followed by impunity for repressors and Julio López’s disappearance. Thousands of fighters were sued and imprisoned.

While Hebe supported this policy of trampling on human rights on behalf of their defense, she began to receive major and billionaires subsidies that corrupted the structure of an organization that had as one of their banners to refuse to receive compensation offered by the state.

The nearly 800 million of pesos (US$ 193 million) from public funds to be handled freely by the Foundation for building houses, without public tender or state control, pushed an organization originally devoted to Human Right struggle to the building of companies like Shared Dreams and to manage it in partnership with private enterprises.

The Kirchners managed that the leadership of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo worked implementing the “Model K”[4], which includes cooperatives with poor working conditions, without the right to unionize, the same as the mayors of the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires and governors who respond to the PJ [Partido Justicialista or Peronist Party, Kirchner’s party].

A liar investigation

All the government propaganda mechanisms are now geared to show that the Schoklender are the only ones guilty of fraudulent use of the millionaire funds. For the government the Schoklender, with their swanky yachts, planes and Ferrari are the only ones guilty of stealing thousands of humble families’ dreams of home ownership. But no theft, no illegal maneuver, no fraudulent behavior of the Schoklender would have been possible if Hebe and her branch of the Mothers haven’t supported the government, if they haven’t blessed the Kirchnerism, if they had not created the Shared Dreams Foundation and if they had not accepted the free management of public funds.

The Schoklender, in the whole sense of the word, were nothing but corrupt foreheads of a policy of supporting a government that favors big businessmen and multinationals. But it was the policy of Cristina Kirchner that left a huge stain on the flag of “human rights” and unfortunately, it was Hebe and her group at the Mothers who have contributed to stain it by renouncing to their political independence from government and by accepting that the capitalist “business” turned to be the center of her Foundation.

Translated by: Wilma Olmo Correa

[1] Sergio Schoklender: lawyer and former prosecutor of the Foundation of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, was charged along with his brother Pablo, of diversion of public funds and embezzlement involving the Foundation.

[2] Hebe Bonafini is a leader and a founder of the Association of Mothers of Plaza de Mayo.

[3] Schoklender Brothers, Sergio and Pablo, were arrested at a young age, accused of killing their own mother.

[4] Model K – or “Kirchner Model”, referred to the political pattern of governing implemented by Cristina and Nestor Carlos Kirchner in their presidential terms.