Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How do you photograph people who have disappeared? Photographic renderings of Operation Condor

image courtsey of Joao de Carvalho and NYT

There is a haunting collection of photos in the Lens section of New York Times, titled Tracing the Shadows of Operation Condor, which focuses on the abuses of Operation Condor, a program involving right wing dictators in Latin America and the USA government to eliminate their leftist opponents in Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia and Argentina during the 1970's.

The photos are the work of João de Carvalho Pina, a young Portuguese photographer, who spent five years documenting the abuses of Operation Condor. These pictures come mainly from Argentina and Chile.

As well as photographing physical locations where the murders and torture occurred, Mr Pina has documented the survivors and their families.

“My goal is to create a visual memory of what this period was, the places of the disappeared and the survivors and the families, and to show people that this actually happened,” Mr. Pina said. “There are hundreds of thousands of people affected by it.”
The photo above is of Veronica de Negri who was kidnapped, tortured and raped by Chilean soldiers. She went into exile to the USA with her son. When her son was 19 years old he returned to Chile where he was tortured and burnt to death by the army.

I have written before on this blog about Operation Condor* and US involvement in Condor and the overthrow of the Allende government in Chile.

*Operation Condor was a military alliance between Chilean dictator General Pinochet and right wing governments in Latin America, who with covert American support, organized kidnappings, torture and political assassinations of their political opponents and leftist dissidents. It was Pinochet and his allies, who with American support, bought terrorism to Central and Latin America and to the USA.

Operation Condor was used by the USA as a"laboratory"for extending US hegemony through the support of right wing regimes, the sponsorship of coups to overthrow democratically elected governments, propping up dictators, sponsoring death squads and supporting paramilitary insurgencies.

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