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SPORTS | 20-03-2024 15:56

Boca and River pay tribute to disappeared club members

Football being one of the standards of identity, both clubs shared the initiative to raise the flags of memory, truth and justice.

In a month dedicated to memory and days away from a new anniversary of the coup that marked the arrival of Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship, Boca Juniors and River Plate are heading onto the pitch to pay tribute to their disappeared club members.

Boca handed out seven membership cards to the relatives of members who disappeared during the era of state terrorism little more than a year ago, and this year, they are adding two more members. At any rate, the list is not final. Even though a club human rights department has not been institutionalised, there are leaders within the club working on relations and fostering actions to redeem the memory of their victims.

One of the two members being paid tribute this year is Daniel Lázaro Rus, missing since July 15, 1977. 

Alejandro Veiga, a leader within the club running human right-related events, recalled a touching moment: “When we liaised with Daniel’s family, they brought us the membership card. It was immaculate, very well kept, and the fee up to date. He’d paid up [his dues] to July ’77. This means he was a member until the day he disappeared.”

A rally will be on Thursday (March 21) at 7pm at the next to the Filiberto Room, at La Bombonera stadium. Among those in attendance will be reporter Gustavo Veiga, the author of the book: Deporte, desaparecidos y dictadura (“Sports, disappeared people and the dictatorship”).

River Plate’s initiative will be its first linked to the restitution of membership cards. For two years now they have studying cases and comparing them with the club’s records. 

To date, they count 15 disappeared members (14 male and one female). As is the case with their crosstown rivals, the list is not final. 

“We’d been working on each of their stories, bringing their links with River closer,” said a spokesperson from the Millonario Human Rights Department.

A ceremony will take place Tuesday (March 19) at 7.30 pm at the Monumental Stadium’s auditorium. It will be attended by the victims’ relatives and human rights leaders.

This is not the first time Boca and River have shared actions related to human rights. Some two years ago, they signed an agreement with the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo human rights group to cooperate and intensify the search for grandchildren whose identities were stolen during the dictatorship era.

Then-club presidents Rodolfo D’Onofrio, of River, and Jorge Amor Ameal, of Boca, met with the NGO’s leader Estela de Carlotto. Two months ago, the clubs again supported a fundraising campaign launched by the Grandmothers on their social networks for their work.

With this year’s events, Boca and River join a long list of Argentine clubs which over the last four years have restored membership cards to disappeared members. They include Banfield, Huracán, Deportivo Morón, Ferro, Rosario Central, Argentinos Juniors, Racing and Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata.

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Claudio Gómez

Claudio Gómez

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