Monday, November 18, 2013

Espacio Memoria y Derechos Humanos

On Friday, I had the opportunity to visit the Espacio Memoria y Derechos Humanos (Space of Memory and Human Rights) of Buenos Aires.
From the outside, the compound of buildings seems like any other collection of official-looking buildings of vaguely colonial style in the city. However, after learning the awful history of this institution, the overwhelming importance of what it represents became clear. 

The Ex Esma ( Escuela Mec├ínica de la Armada) was a naval institution that was turned over to the municipality of Buenos Aires in order to be used as a clandestine detention center. This mean that over 5,000 people were involved in the process of illegal detention,very often resulting in torture and murder. The Desaparecidos (the disappeared ones) were kept in small rooms, hooded so that they could not see and not given any information about where they were, all because of their leftist ideology. From 1976 to 1984, they were detained and denied basic human rights. The legal process is still continuing as well (which is why I couldn't take pictures inside). It was a very interesting, heavy tour that showed me a side of Argentina that I hadn't realized existed. 

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