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Rosario Ibarra de Piedra (24 Feb 1927 – 16 April 2022)

16 April 2022

A Monterrey “housewife”, Rosario Ibarra de Piedra‘s public career didn’t begin until she was in her late 40s. Not that her’s was an entirely an Ozzie and Harriet (Monterrey version) family. Her husband was a Communist, although perhaps something he limited to his leadership of the University of Nuevo Leon Socialist Alumni Association, her son-in-law made something of an international splash in 1972 when he highjacked a Mexican plane to Cuba … ransomed for the release of three Communist political prisoners in Mexico, but was mostly a “stay-at-home” mom to her three sons.

Caricature by Rapé

When her eldest, Jésus, was first accused of belonging to a Communist organization — which was just the family tradition — and then snatched off the street in April 1975, she turned mama-bear: leading and pioneering the demands for answers to the still-chronic (if not worse) problems of “disappearances”) endlessly pushing for justice, not just for those disppeared for political expediency, but all victims of injustice.

In addition to founding, and running “Projeto Eurika!” (the first of many family organized and run organizations to mount searches for the disappeared, and to pressure authorities for answers), she had a second life as one of the more important figures in late 20th century Mexican politics.

Twice presidential candidate (in 1982 and 1988), with not a ghost of a chance of being elected, she used the bully-platform her campaign provided to not just push for answers to the disappearances, but to begin a long push-back against the growing neo-capitalist trend among the elites and political class.

A founding mother of the PRD (initially a dissident liberal-left movement within the ruling PRI) and later the PT (Workers’ Party) she also campaigned for women’s, indigenous, and LGBTQ+ rights, election reform, economic inclusion, and a long list of et ceteras.

Several times a Senator, most recently for MORENA, she was still an active and important voice on the Mexican left up until her death earlier today at the age of 95.

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