for Buenos Aires Province
|Political party||Freemen of the South
Broad Progressive Front
Victoria Analía Donda Pérez (born 1977 in Buenos Aires, Argentina) is an Argentine human rights activist and legislator. She is the first daughter of a "disappeared" person, born in captivity, to become a member of the Argentine National Congress. She was the youngest woman to hold that office.
She was born in 1977, in the notorious clandestine detention center called ESMA in Buenos Aires while her mother, María Hilda Pérez de Donda, was "disappeared" for her leftist activity. Her father, José María Laureano Donda, was also held in captivity during the same time. Both remain disappeared and are presumed to have been killed during that period. She is one of approximately 500 children known to have been born to disappeared political prisoners during Argentina's Dirty War (1976–1983), who were kidnapped and registered under false identities.
After her mother was killed, Victoria was handed over to another family, who raised her but never told her about her biological parents. Her case is particularly unusual because her paternal uncle, Adolfo Miguel Donda Tigel (her father's brother), was a naval officer who was one of the primary individuals responsible for ESMA, and participated in the imprisonment, torture, and killing of her parents.
Recovery of her identity
In 2003, when she was 26 years of age, Victoria Donda discovered her true identity after communicating with the group H.I.J.O.S. (Sons and Daughters for Identity and Justice Against Oblivion and Silence) and the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo.
Despite that, even knowing that her real mother was one of the ESMA disappeared, for a long time she was reluctant to have her DNA tested in order to find out who her biological parents were.
On May 24, 2004, when ESMA was converted by the government into a memorial center, Donda spoke at the ceremony:
I realized that I knew I was born there, but also that I was not sure who my mother was. It was moving but at the same time, sad. I thought: 'This woman had been so courageous to get pregnant, to continue fighting for the same society I'm fighting for now, to withstand torture so I could be born and I'm such a chicken who can't even go and give a small blood sample'. I felt I was not worthy of my parents.—
One week later, DNA analysis revealed Donda's true identity. She was the first "sister" found by H.I.J.O.S. and the 78th granddaughter found by the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Some weeks later, her kidnapper was detained; he is currently on trial, along with Juan Antonio Azic and other prosecuted, for 62 crimes against humanity.
Human rights activism
Before Victoria Donda knew her identity, she had already been interested in human rights and poverty issues, working for a soup kitchen called "Azucena Villaflor", name of a disappeared human rights activist and first president of Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Donda became later member of the Movimiento Libres del Sur.
In 2007 she was elected, as a member of the Front for Victory front on the Popular and Social Encounter list, to Argentina's Chamber of Deputies (Argentina's lower house of Congress), with her term beginning in December 2007.
The documentary film Familia de sangre, directed by Gustavo Bobbio and Daniel Ortiz, tells the story of Victoria Donda.
- Diego Sehinkman (October 13, 2012). "Victoria Donda: "¡Re quiero ser presidenta!"". La Nación.
- "Me di cuenta que sabía que había nacido ahí, pero que no estaba segura de quién era hija. Fue emocionante, pero a la vez fue triste. Pensaba: ‘Esta mina tuvo tantos ovarios para quedar embarazada, seguir peleando por la misma sociedad por la que peleo yo, bancarse la tortura para que yo pueda nacer y yo soy una cagona que ni siquiera puedo ir a sacarme un poco de sangre’. Sentí que no era digna de los padres que había tenido."|Victoria Donda Pérez, por Victoria Guinzberg, COMCOSUR
- La historia de Victoria Donda, or Martín Piqué, Pagina/12, 2006
- Derechos humanos: las Hermanas de Victoria, Página/12, October 29, 2004
- Para Victoria, la nieta recuperada número 78, el hilo de la memoria es de color azul, Causa Popular, October 23, 2004
- Official website of Victoria Donda Pérez, national deputy of the Movimiento Libres del Sur