Every last week of May the world commemorates International Week of the Disappeared. The observance was first initiated by the Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of Disappeared-Detainees (Fedefam) in 1981. teleSUR honors the disappeared by excavating the dark history of the state terror tactic, exposing how it is still used today, and shining a light on ongoing resistance and efforts toward truth and justice.
Operation Condor was a covert, multinational “black operations” program organized by six Latin American states (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, later joined by Ecuador and Peru), with logistical, financial, and intelligence support from Washington. The militaries’ use of “disappearance” was central for carrying out covert counterinsurgency wars and provoking terror.
Read more or watch teleSUR’s “Imaginary Lines,” below.
During the Salvadoran Civil War (1979-1992), an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 civilians were disappeared, the vast majority victims of the military regime’s “dirty war” against Salvadoran civil society. The scars left from this trauma are still a festering wound that continues to plague Salvadoran society. None of the death squad members, army units, intelligence networks or intellectual authors of these crimes have ever been prosecuted. Read more
Hundreds of political opponents of the 1980s U.S.-backed regime in Honduras were kidnapped, tortured, and assassinated by the CIA-trained death squad — Battalion 316. However, disappearances aren’t just a tragic reality of the past. In the wake of the 2009 U.S.-backed coup ousting democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, forced disappearance, torture, and targeted assassinations re-emerged as state terror tactics to intimidate and repress a broad-based resistance. Read more
Canada’s living legacy of colonialism and institutionalized racism explains the crisis of violence against and disappearances against Indigenous women. Racism in Canada is killing Indigenous women and girls. State actors are involved in the sexual abuse and violence against Indigenous women and girls. And the problem is getting worse, not better. Read more
Interviews from Quito - Maria Fernanda Restrepo
On January 8, 1988 Santiago and Andres Restrepo Aresmendi drove to the airport in Quito to see off a friend. It was a trip from which the 17 and 14-year-old boys would never return. Twenty-seven years later, their family is still searching for answers. Maria Fernanda Restrepo was 10 years old when her brothers were forcefully disappeared. She went on to produce the award-winning and immensely popular documentary on the case "With My Heart in Yambo", in reference to the lake where the brothers' bodies were believed to have been dumped. In today's program, host Reagan Des Vignes interviews Maria Fernanda Restrepo on her personal journey in uncovering the truth, the historical context, the significance of the case, and the film's importance and impact. See the video below.
Colombia’s ‘False-Positives’ Scandal
In late 2007 young men began disappearing from the streets in Soach, Colombia, a poor district on the outskirts of Bogota, and their bodies turned up in mass graves a year later. Authorities claimed they were guerrilla fighters, but their families knew otherwise. The discovery of the bodies gave rise to what became known as the "false-positives scandal", civilians being killed and reported as guerrilla casualties. See the video below.
Imaginary Lines – Operation Condor
Host Michael Fox interviews John Dinges, author of "The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents." Dinges, who was a correspondent in Chile in the 1970s and is currently a professor at the Colombia University Graduate School of Journalism, explains the dynamics of the brutal, "bone-chilling" extralegal repression. See the video below.