Mónica Susana Pinus was born in Buenos Aires (Argentina) on 30th January 1953. She studied sociology at the University of Buenos Aires and was an active member of the Peronist Youth, mainly in the western region of Buenos Aires Province.
In 1974, Mónica got married to Edgardo Binstock, who she had met at secondary school. Edgardo shared her commitment to politics and they had two children together.
In March 1975, a year before the Argentine coup d'état, Mónica received two bullets in the leg at the hands of a group linked to the Alianza Anticomunista Argentina (Argentine Anticommunist Alliance, Triple A) while she was painting a slogan on a wall. Severely injured, she went to the local hospital in the town of Haedo, Buenos Aires Province, where she was captured and tortured by the Brigada de San Justo (San Justo Brigade). Within a week, she was put on probation as a political detainee and released.
Mónica gave birth to a daughter in 1976 and a son in 1978. Given the resurgence of repression and the struggles of life in hiding, she and her family decided to leave the country. In 1979, they arrived in Mexico and they settled in Cuba a few months later.
Mónica and Edgardo were originally militants of the Montoneros organisation. In Havana, they were in charge of the house that was set up to look after the children of Montoneros militants who returned to Argentina for the Contraofensiva (Counteroffensive) initiative. Mónica looked after the babies for some time, including her own two young children.
The Contraofensiva (Counteroffensive) was a campaign with political, propaganda, and military dimensions that aimed to strengthen the rising opposition to the dictatorship. It involved the return of guerrilla fighters from the organisation to Argentina. When the militants arrived on Argentine soil in 1979, 40 members were shortly captured and disappeared. In 1980, a second brigade of exiled militants was organised. This time, the majority of people did not even manage to enter the country because they were kidnapped at the border or in various countries across the region.
It is 1980 and the second wave of militants is planning to return to Argentina. It was decided that Edgardo and Mónica would firstly travel to Brazil. Edgardo travelled to Rio de Janeiro and, a few days later on 12th March, Mónica headed for Argentina via Paraguay with fake documents. Horacio Campiglia was one of Mónica's contacts within the organisation and they arrived together at Galeão International Airport in Río do Janeiro.
They had only just stepped off the plane when they were taken aside by Brazilian officers and handed over to the intelligence officers of the Argentine Army belonging to the Batallón 601. Mónica tried to resist and some witnesses remember her asking for help, screaming their names, and denouncing that they had been kidnapped.
The military deployment was carried out as part of the Operativo Murciélago ('Bat Operation'), which aimed to infiltrate, monitor, and eliminate Montonero militants who were organising themselves abroad. This operation formed part of the different repressive acts of Operation Condor and managed to capture, torture, and later disappear 15 people.
The victims were taken to Buenos Aires on the Hércules aircraft of the Argentine Air Force. There, they were sighted in the clandestine detention and torture centre that functioned in Campo de Mayo, one of Argentina's largest military bases. The operation relied on the coordination of the military intelligence services of Brazil and Argentina. Some aspects of the planning were uncovered following the declassification of documents from the US State Department.
The retired colonel of the Brazilian Army, Paulo Malhães, and the lieutenant colonel of the Argentine Army, Eduardo Francisco Stigliano spearheaded the operation.
The capture and disappearance of Mónica and Horacio were investigated by three Argentine trials: 'Plan Cóndor', 'Automotores Orletti II' and 'Contraofensiva Montonera IV (Montonero Counteroffensive I)'. Horacio's case was also investigated by the Italian Condor Trial.