March 24 is Argentina’s Day of Memory and Justice to honor those disappeared during that country’s military dictatorship.
Latin America was once notorious worldwide for its brutal dictators, but Argentina today, unlike most other countries, places great emphasizes on remembering its victims.
The formal recognition by the state acknowledges the need to remember its military dictatorship in order to promote ongoing justice efforts for the families of the victims, as well as to educate and warn future generations Never Again.
Dictatorships linked to the U.S.-backed Operation Condor
But while Argentina’s efforts at reconciliation for its victims are noteworthy, almost every Latin American country has experienced similar dictatorships and atrocities, and many of them — including Argentina’s — are linked by the U.S.-backed Operation Condor, which aimed to obliterate any opposition and secure the U.S. “backyard.”
After the Second World War, throughout Latin America, popular and nationalist governments came to power whose aim was to industrialize their countries and raise the quality of life for their citizens.
However, the world was divided by the Cold War and the U.S. regarded Latin America as its backyard, which meant any policies resembling socialist or communist ones had to be quashed.
Right-wing dictators installed – 50,000 disappeared
Argentina, Guatemala, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay all had right-wing military dictatorships installed; all of them sharing the aim of ending communism in Latin America. The United States implicitly or actively backed all of them.
Argentine human rights organization the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo is one of the forefront forces in awareness raising when it comes to the dictatorship. On Argentina’s Day of Rememberance for Truth and Justice, led a march, while in 2014 they led calls for Spain to release classified documents relating to the dictatorship.
Babies abducted from political prisoners
The group’s focus is the emotive subject of the babies abducted from political prisoners and assassinated activists, who were handed over to wealthy families that could not conceive. The organization has so far reunited 116 stolen people with their birth families, and continues its search, appealing to anyone who has doubts about their heritage who was born during the dictatorship.
In this landscape, the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo are not only relevant to Argentina’s current landscape, but the organization provides support to families in other countries that have suffered the enforced disappearance of loved ones.
International Day of Enforced Disappearances
The U.N. International Day of Enforced Disappearances is marked each Aug. 30. While Latin America’s wave of military dictatorships may technically be a thing of the past, Operation Condor’s legacy and lessons of how to disappear people lives on.
A new factor in enforced disappearances is linked to drug traffickers. Mexico and Colombia are two countries facing growing concerns over the number of disappeared people.
Source: Remembering Latin America’s Disappeared TeleSUR