Sam McFarland


Azucena Villaflor, a poor Argentine woman with little education did more than any other person to place the problem of “disappearances” on the world’s agenda. In 1977, Villaflor led in creating the Mother of the Plaza de Mayo to protest the Argentine’s dictators disappearing of thousands of its own citizens. A person is “disappeared” when a government or its agents kills that person, hides their remains, and denies any knowledge of their whereabouts. Thousands were disappeared by Argentina’s dictatorship between 1977 and 1983; thousands of others have been disappeared around this world. The work Villaflor stated led to the creations of the United Nations’ International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances and to the universal condemnation of disappearances. Here is the story of Azucena Villaflor, of the movement she launched, and of the results it achieved.