26 April, 2017

The Living Disappeared — The California Sunday Magazine

The Living Disappeared — The California Sunday Magazine:

In March 1976, almost seven months before Jorge and Stella were detained, Argentina’s armed forces overthrew the president, Isabel Perón, and launched what they called the National Reorganization Process. The previous years had been chaos. Perón was under the thrall of a shadowy police agent and astrologer known as “the warlock.” Government-backed right-wing paramilitaries murdered hundreds of dissidents. Armed leftist groups set off bombs and kidnapped, and in some cases killed, executives and police. Even many moderates thought the military would restore order and stability. The press was strictly censored, so few realized that the country had been seized by a uniquely ruthless regime that saw itself as waging a third world war in Argentina for the future of “Western and Christian civilization.” The dictatorship sought to impose a new social and economic order. To do so, it branded a huge swath of society as “subversive” and targeted it for annihilation. By the time the dictatorship fell in 1983, as many as 30,000 people had disappeared. Some were armed revolutionaries — though historians now believe this group was neutralized within the first year or so of the dictatorship —  while others were students, activists, union members, disability rights advocates, and priests and nuns who followed liberation theology. Countless more were people whose names were simply in the wrong address book.

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