The Reappeared: Argentine Former Political Prisoners

By Rebekah Park | Go to book overview

5
Life After Prison
Still Feels Like Imprisonment

I could deal with being physically tortured, but what I couldn’t deal with was having been separated from my daughter [Ceci] and my husband,” said AEPPC member Alicia Staps. “It was very painful for me to not have been able to see Ceci during all of those years. To see her after she had gotten so big, walking and talking. She no longer recognized me” (Staps, November 2008). When asked about the lasting consequences of their imprisonment for their lives afterward, ex-presos’ answers were similar to Alicia’s in that they spent little time directly discussing the trauma they suffered from torture. Instead, they spoke at length about their broken relationships and about their disappointment that their lives turned out differently than they had imagined.

As discussed in chapter 4, ex-presos avoided speaking about their torture experiences even if they suffered from the aftereffects. Speaking about torture would have undermined their identities as activists and reinforced their images as helpless victims. However, it is also the case, as I will argue in this chapter, that ex-presos held a broader understanding of what constituted a violation. Violations were not limited to what happened in prison, but also included the secondary effects that impacted them over the course of their lives. For this reason, prisoners did not necessarily feel liberated once they were released from prison.

Ex-presos repeatedly said that they suffered from secuelas de terrorismo del estado (effects of state terrorism). The labor activist, Juan Villa, who also worked to oversee the provincial census of political prisoners for the

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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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