By Emily McGranachan
During the military dictatorships in Argentina and Chile thousands of people were illegally detained and disappeared by military forces. Out of desperation and despair mothers, grandmothers, and other loved ones of the disappeared began to gather, demonstrate, and eventually demand justice in both countries. Mothers and grandmothers of the disappeared are best known from the work of Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo and Las Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo in Argentina. In Chile, La Agrupación de los Familiares de los Detenidos/Desparecidos is the best-known family organization. For decades they have relentlessly brought attention to the crimes of the military regimes and have demanded the safe return of all the disappeared. While at first glance these two countries and different groups have many similarities, the methodologies, ideologies, and trajectories of the groups are divergent and at times oppositional. Though the years, however, the human rights discourse that is a fundamental identity of the organizations and the members has remained central.
The varied reactions, adjustments, and development of similar organizations that formed for the same reasons raise questions as to why and how the groups differ. How do members of the groups explain their mission and methodology of women-led organizations of family members of the disappeared during and after the transition to democracy? What roles do the makeup of the organizations and the frustrated reconciliation processes play in the ways the groups reacted to the transition to democracy? Through the publications, testimonies, and writings of the core members of the groups, this paper examines the paths of three major family of the disappeared organizations and their very different trajectories over the past several decades.
Read Here: No Justice No Peace
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