Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Military Dictatorship – A Dark Chapter in Argentina’s History

There are planters just like this one throughout the province of Cordoba, and there's a strong message behind them. Every photo... every planter represents an individual who went missing in the 70s during the dictatorship. 

In this neighborhood, Luis Canfaila was abducted on 10/12/1975.

Luis Canfaila - Cordoba Argentina
In the early 1970’s, a military dictatorship swarmed through every province in Argentina and its neighboring countries.  Their goal was to end any idealism or dissident movements that could prove a threat to the governments of that era. The dictatorship considered knowledge to be dangerous as it could have potentially opened young people's minds to rebellious thoughts like freedom and democracy. They dismantled laboratories to suppress scientific knowledge. They even burned libraries and bookstores to do away with general knowledge altogether. They regulated what could and could not be taught in schools and universities too. 
Translation: For this, and other crimes, those responsible are being judged. Participate in federal court hearings. The tribunal is located at Concepcion Arenales and Paunero. Attendance is a right.

Anyone that the dictatorship found to be against the government was hunted down. The militia broke into the homes of suspected dissidents. They searched for books and papers containing insurgency or idealistic topics. Then they’d abduct their target, and the families would never see or hear from them again. Of course, not all of those who were abducted were taken from their homes. Several protestors rallied out in the streets, only to have their clothes stained by the riot patrols and later picked off one by one.  

The abductees were subjected to unspeakable torture. Electrodes were attached to the genitals of men and women as a form of abuse. The militia often used these techniques with no true agenda other than for perverse pleasure. Women were gang raped. Those who became pregnant were kept alive until they gave birth. Then the babies were taken from them. It is said that the militia got rid of their captives by either hacking them to pieces and disseminating them everywhere, or burning them alive. Some were allegedly weighed down and thrown off planes while they were still alive. 

The province of Cordoba honored those that have disappeared by posting photos, and the date of their disappearance in Plaza San Martin. 
The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo are a group formed by the mothers of those whose voices were forever silenced. To this day, these mothers gather at Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires every Thursday afternoon for the right to know what happened to their missing children, and perhaps to be reunited with them if they survived.  The military dictatorship came to an end in 1983. It's believed that over 30,000 dissidents were abducted throughout South America. To this day, the whereabouts of these people remains a mystery. 

Many of us use Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr to voice our personal or political opinions, but we forget that in some parts of the world, freedom of speech was a crime.  

In some parts of the world... it still is.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Nueva Cordoba, Argentina - Video Tour

Happy New Year! Okay, so I'm nine days late. But I also bring a very late Christmas present. It's a video tour of Nueva Cordoba to kick-start 2013.  

Now, downtown and Nueva Cordoba are practically within walking distance of each other, but it has a more modern theme, which makes it the ideal spot for expats.    
You’ll find hotels, cultural hostels like Catre Diem, Irish Pubs, American style restaurants, international restaurants, Paseo Del Buen Pastor, which was once a women’s prison now turned cultural center.  You can even go to Casa De Buenos Aires, a museum/tourist building that has all forms of information on the capital of Argentina.

The shopping mall, Patio Olmos is on the border of Nueva Cordoba. Aside, from McDonald’s and Burger King, you’ll also find the HOYTS Cinema, Yenny bookstore, a bowling rink, arcades, a private hospital, toy stores and an assortment of clothing stores, all in the mall! So, if you're ever in town, take a stroll through Nueva Cordoba.