Trudeau's emotional visit to Argentine memorial renews focus on human rights
Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, November 18, 2016 3:28PM EST
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Nora Patrich stopped at the spot on the Parque de la Memoria that bears her late husband's name. At her side was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
She described her husband and how she brought her grandchildren to this spot to hear of a man they would never meet. Before long, she stopped talking, her eyes welling up with tears. Trudeau put a hand on her shoulder.
Patrich lost her husband and six other family members before fleeing Argentina with her then two-month-old daughter, eventually settling in Canada.
She said the monument is a reminder to world leaders like to Trudeau to protect and defend human rights.
The Parque de la Memoria was built for the some 30,000 victims of Argentina's military junta "dirty war" where political opponents and those demanding democracy were tortured and killed. Some were thrown from helicopters into the river along which the memorial is built.
Patrich said the junta tried to wipe out a whole generation of people because of their political beliefs.
Speaking of the dead, which includes pregnant women and children, Patrich said they continue to have a voice through the monument.
"It's like they keep on speaking. They (the junta) killed them, but they didn't really kill them. They're still alive. They're still struggling for a better world."
Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez fled with his family from Argentina when he was eight. His father was tortured and imprisoned repeatedly before a bombing at the family home cemented his decision to leave the country.
It was the first time Rodriguez visited the memorial, a place he said he didn't want to visit for years.
"It's very, very emotional. I know that a lot of people here were with my father at the time. He was tortured and imprisoned many times. That's why we left for Canada."
Rodriguez said his father told him he could do anything with his life, except get into politics.
Rodriguez didn't listen, saying he did so to change the world. Speaking of his father, Rodriguez said, "That's what he wanted to do here in a way."