Week 9: The History of the Argentinian Dictatorship
Such an impactful and terrible moment in the history of Argentina is the Dictatorship from 1976-1983 and the thousands of lives lost or the thousands disappeared during this time.
To learn about the history of the dictatorship our group went to the Center for Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (Grandmas of Playa de Mayo), an NGO dedicated to recognizing the work of the grandmothers of disappeared babies during the dictatorship. Though absurd to imagine, during the dictatorship, over 500 babies born to detained women in concentration camps were taken from their mothers from police officers or members of the military and raised by leaders of the dictatorship. The grandmothers dedicated themselves to finding the babies who were kidnapped so they could help reunite them with their families.
Another atrocity we learned of were the number of women raped during the period of the dictatorship and the abuse of military towards all people in regards to the violation of human rights.
This Thursday we went to el Plaza de Mayo to participate in the weekly march of las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, which is a group of women who lost a child doing the dictatorship and have met every week to walk in a circle around the monument in Plaza de Mayo to remember their children. There was an interesting divide that we observed. There were two groups of marchers: one is the original group of las Madres del Plaza de Mayo which is a general group of mothers who protest the lives lost during the dictatorship, and the other group is similar except they accepted money from the government as a compensation for the lives they lost at the hands of the government. Accordingly there is a social divide between the two groups, and the politically associated group that accepted money from the government is better resourced and has banners, organized chants, and more.
We also visited one concentration camp where prisoners were held in Buenos Aires during the dictatorship and I could feel the death and depression in the air; it was horrible. I also learned of the flight of death (Vuelo de Muerto) in which detained individuals were given a shot to make them unconscious for the flight, which the staff told individuals would take them to a better camp, and they would dump the unconscious people into the sea from the plane to kill them and hide the bodies. It is an extremely bleak reality but it is important to remember and retell so that it never happens again. #NeverAgain
The symbol of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo