María Cecilia Pando

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María Cecilia Pando (born in Buenos Aires on September 9, 1967) is the head of the Asociación de Familiares y Amigos de los Presos Políticos de la Argentina (AAssociation of Relatives and Friends of Political Prisoners of Argentina or AFyAPPA), the relatives and friends of the military, police and civilians who fought against the widespread armed violence from the left and that today are unfairly detained under orders of socialist[1] president Néstor Kirchner who annulled in 2003 the amnesty granted by then president Carlos Saul Menem in 1989 to not only to the security forces, but also for the leftist guerillas who had operated in Argentina.

In a televised address to the Argentinian nation, Menem had explained his decision behind the pardons:

I have signed the decrees so we may begin to rebuild the country in peace, in liberty and in justice. We come from long and cruel confrontations. There was a wound to heal.[2]

On November 21, 2005, Pando participated in a wife's march held in front of the Federal Courts to demand the release of their husbands detained by the new anti-military trials.[3] The march would result in the forced retirement of her husband, Major Rafael Pedro Mercado.[4]"I thought that I lived in a country in a democracy but it is not like that, we are living in a dictatorship", she countered on December 29 in a Radio Continental interview.

In 2010, during the socialist government of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a dozen protesting wives of the detained military and police, chained themselves in for twelve hours at the entrance hall of the Ministry of Defense, demanding a meeting with the Defense Minister Nilda Garré. The wives of the military detainees would release an official statement explaining their actions to the Argentinian press:

Tired of requesting private meetings on repeated occasions, and in the face of the complicit silence of those who have the duty to preserve our military institutions, the AFyAPPA group demonstrates its firm decision to remain chained inside the military headquarters until the requested meeting takes place.[5]

On November 17, 2015, Pando publicly declared herself to be a supporter of president elect Mauricio Macri in the Argentinian presidential elections: "One of the reasons I voted for Macri is because he would not leave somebody out of work just for thinking differently," she announced through her Twitter account.[6]

In January 2016, Pando came out in support of the Minister of Culture of Buenos Aires, Darío Lopérfido who declared that during the Argentinian military dictatorship the disappeared were no where near the often claimed number of 30,000.[7]

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