Maud Daverio de Cox, the Argentine author, human rights defender, and wife of former Buenos Aires Herald editor Robert Cox, passed away on December 1 at the Buenos Aires Swiss Hospital at the age of 92.
Born into a wealthy family in Buenos Aires in 1933, Daverio de Cox married Robert after he came to the country from the UK in 1959 to work at the Herald. The couple had five children: Peter, Victoria, Robert, David, and Ruth.
During the dictatorship, Cox reported for the Herald on the killings, forced disappearances, and other crimes against humanity committed by the dictatorship. Daverio de Cox was adamant on going with her husband to track down reports of barbarities, using her social status to support her husband and advocate for an end to the killing.
She was particularly horrified by the St. Patrick’s Massacre of three priests and two seminarians on July 4, 1976. In his book Dirty Secrets, Dirty War, her son David quotes her diary entry: “I was sickened by those murders. I was indignant. I decided at that moment I would stand by my husband on whatever he had to do.”
Soon, the family came into the sights of the regime. Their son Peter, 14, received a threatening letter that purported to be from the Montoneros revolutionary group but which they knew to be from the dictatorship. Shortly afterwards, Daverio de Cox survived an attempted kidnapping.
The family went into exile, settling in the United States. There, she studied comparative literature at the University of South Carolina, going on to become a professor of French literature at the University of Charleston.
Daverio de Cox wrote several books dealing with topics including Argentina’s last civic-military dictatorship, exile, and the city of Buenos Aires. Salvados (Saved), originally published in 2001, was re-published in 2021 to mark 45 years since the coup. In the work, Daverio examined the behavior of intellectuals and the middle class during the dictatorship and their decision to turn a blind eye to the atrocities being committed.
Argentine writers and journalists have expressed their condolences following Daverio de Cox’s passing.
“Don’t how you did it all, the kids, the books, the friends, the magic, the lives you saved, Ireland, Argentina, the US, the Boyles and Swifts, the endless energy, the joy and love, nothing was too much for you,” wrote author Uki Goñi, who was a reporter at the Herald during the dictatorship. “May the road rise up to meet you, Maud Cox, may God hold you in love.”
“Tears for the departure today of Maud, wife of Bob Cox,” wrote journalist and writer Ceferino Reato. “Intelligent, cultured, sensitive, and brave. Bob’s guide in the years of lead, defender of the human rights of all.”
Daverio de Cox is survived by Robert and four of her children.