The Reappeared: Argentine Former Political Prisoners

By Rebekah Park | Go to book overview

1
“The Battle of the Panties”

Argentina’s history of state terror is infamous: during the most recent military dictatorship, which lasted from 1976 to 1983, thirty thousand political dissidents were kidnapped, tortured, and “disappeared”1 in secret concentration camps. The victims became known as desaparecidos (the disappeared). In response to the fact that their children were sucked up2—as if the earth had opened up and swallowed the person whole—desperate families, who faced dead ends or death threats from state authorities, formed human rights organizations in search for their missing children. It took until 2005, for trials against former military officials to resume after a period of impunity, and these families’ persistent demands for justice have made Argentina a world leader in human rights, focusing attention on the violation of forced disappearances. Since the return to constitutional rule in 1983, Argentina sought to recover from its disgraceful legacy of human rights abuses through a variety of means, including not only through the formation of a truth commission, but also through ongoing trials, monetary reparations, and memorials. Although Argentines do not use this term,3 this recovery process is known in English as transitional justice.

Many scholars have written about this “Dirty War”—as the military juntas labeled it—and about human rights more generally in Argentina (Guest 1990; Brysk 1994; Abregú 2000; Vezzetti 2002; Robben 2005), as well as about the transitional justice efforts (Acuña and Smulovitz 1995; Jelin and Kaufman 2000; Ageitos 2002; Feld 2002; Novarro and Palermo

-1-

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The Reappeared: Argentine Former Political Prisoners
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • 1 - "The Battle of the Panties" 1
  • 2 - "They Disowned Us Twice" 23
  • 3 - Suspicion and Collaboration 44
  • 4 - Solidarity and Resistance in Prison 71
  • 5 - Life after Prison Still Feels like Imprisonment 108
  • 6 - Post-Transitional Justice 145
  • Epilogue 156
  • Notes 161
  • Glossary 165
  • References 169
  • List of Former Political Prisoners 175
  • Index 177
  • About the Author 183
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