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Colgate University

Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2014

Program Name

Argentina: Regional Integration, Development, and Social Change

Abstract

After the fall of a repressive government, there is often a discussion or an attempt to repair the damage done to society by the repressive regime. Argentina for the last thirty years has been facing this discussion. The last dictatorship, a totalitarian military dictatorship, in Argentina took place between 1976 and 1983. With the return of democracy at the end of 1983, the process of healing society began, albeit in a rather limited form due to fear of sparking the military into revolt once again. In the 1990s, the discussion was almost entirely swept under the rug by the Menem administration. In 2003 the discussion reopened when Nestor Kirchner lifted the impunity laws protecting the military, and in 2004 he made the project of memory and commemoration of those affected by brutality part of the political agenda. The process had already begun in the roots of society, where social movements and individuals were struggling to piece together the puzzle of the systematic repression used by the last civil-military government of Argentina. One large piece of this puzzle is the network of Clandestine Centers for Detention and Torture (CCDT), concentrated in urban and industrial centers, but could be found all across the country. In total there were over 500 of these centers which were utilized to obtain information and dehumanize individuals of the militant groups who were active in that time period. After the civil-military government fell, the centers were left in disuse, or returned to their function from before the dictatorship. For those survivors and individuals who knew the history of these places, this was unacceptable given the crimes against humanity which had taken place there. They began the recuperation of several of these sites as places of memory. Eventually the national government also began to take part in this recuperation, and made memory a formal part of public policy. However, there is more than one way to create a memory site, and the unique histories, uses and characteristics opened up spaces for debate as to how, why, and for what these spaces served. It is here that one will find the ex CCDT of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires known as Virrey Cevallos. The dialogue amongst political actors involved in the recuperation of this site is unique, largely due to the relative youth of the process, the lack of information about the site, and the unique involvement of neighborhood organizations. In Virrey Cevallos, the National State, the city government, social organizations, and individuals have all been involved in the process. The following work seeks to explore the particularities and dialogue amongst the actors involved in the recuperation process of Virrey Cevallos, and its impact on the site as a site of memory.

Disciplines

Civic and Community Engagement | Counseling | Criminology and Criminal Justice | History | International and Area Studies | Latin American History | Latin American Studies | Legal Studies | Military History | Organization Development | Other Political Science | Place and Environment | Social and Behavioral Sciences

 

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