Recognized in 1980 for his contribution to the establishment of Peace, Justice and the defense of Human Rights in a non-violent way in Argentina.
The Nobel Peace Prize 1980, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, an active reference for the defense of Human Rights, president of the ecumenical Christian organization, Service of Peace and Justice (Serpaj) and detained for more than a year during the last Argentine dictatorship (1976-1983), this Friday turned 90 years old.
On the day of his birth, the head of Serpaj was congratulated by countless institutions and people, including the Nobel Prize committee and the president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, who sent him a big hug on his birthday.
Recognized in 1980 with the Nobel Prize for his contribution to the establishment of Peace, Justice and the defense of Human Rights in a non-violent way in Argentina and Latin America, Pérez Esquivel received this award on behalf of the peoples of America:
“I feel excited and at the same time committed to redoubling my efforts in the fight for peace and justice. Since Peace is only possible as the fruit of Justice, that this true Peace is the profound transformation of non-violence that is the force of Love “He then expressed.
The son of a Galician immigrant and an Argentine of Guarani descent, Pérez Esquivel was born in Buenos Aires on November 26, 1931. He was the third of the four children the couple had.
When his mother passed away, economic difficulties prompted the father to return to Galicia to work as a fisherman and be able to send money to his children.
At the age of 3, Adolfo became a ward of the Spanish Board of the Argentine capital, later he lived a period with his maternal grandmother Eugenia and finally returned with his family to the Buenos Aires neighborhood of San Telmo, where he finished his studies at a Franciscan school. , training that profoundly influenced his thinking
Despite financial difficulties, he managed to study architecture, devoted himself to the plastic arts, taught and is the author of several books. He is married to Amanda Guerreño, whom he met during his studies and with whom he has three children.
First years of struggle
In 1974, together with various ecumenical Christian groups, he created the Peace and Justice Service in Argentina and Latin America.
A few years later, he participated in the formation of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights, an organization that played a fundamental role in registering complaints and testimonies from relatives of the disappeared or victims of State terrorism in Argentina.
In 1976, with the aim of designing programs for the development of native communities and other needy groups in Latin America, he began to travel to different countries.
Arrest in the dictatorship
April 4, 1977 He was detained by the Argentine dictatorship, he was imprisoned for 14 months during which he suffered torture and survived a “death flight”. Due to international pressure, he was released in 1978, when the country was celebrating the World Cup.
On the horrors he experienced in those years, he said: “I do not hold hatred or grudges, what we are looking for is truth, justice, reparation for the damage done so that it never happens again.”
After the Nobel Prize
After the Nobel, Pérez Esquivel was a member of the executive committee of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights of the UN, he also participated in various international missions and conflict resolution campaigns.
He is president of the Honorary Council of the Latin American Peace and Justice Service and of the Provincial Commission for Memory, the International League for Human Rights and the Liberation of Peoples, based in Milan, and a member of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal based in Rome.
In 2020, on the 40th anniversary of the award, the Casa Rosada paid tribute to him and Pope Francis dedicated some emotional words to him: “Thank you, Adolfo, for your testimony in the beautiful moments but also in the painful moments of the country. For your word, your courage and for your simplicity ”.
At 90, Pérez Esquivel continues his work for Human Rights at the Fundación Servicio Paz y Justicia and actively participates in the “Children’s Village for Peace Project”, a program that assists minors in precarious social situations. (I)
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Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Argentine Nobel Peace Prize winner, turns 90 | Culture | Entertainment