I find it difficult to imagine a world where “surveillance and torture” equals “peace and security”, but sadly, even more than sadly, this was the reality for many people in certain Latin American countries. As the reading highlights, there were many, many accounts of the government killing, kidnapping, and torturing their own citizens. In the sections about how word got out to the rest of the world about these injustices, I found it a bit funny how governments exiling people almost worsened whichever regimes they ran. The people were able to share first hand accounts of what was really going on in their respective countries and by attempting to silence the people, they were only given more of a voice. These people were not exiles, but the story about the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo in Argentina although extremely tragic was also inspiring. The law prohibited protest yet the women continued to call attention to and demand back their missing children. The movement made the missing people into a personal issue rather than vague and viewing those who were missing as “simply statistics”- they had a life and connection to the community. However, after increased global scrutiny the government framed the women as crazy and as terrorists, but groups still sympathized and believed them. Others did not.
The United States once again involves itself in Latin America and once again their actions anger me. I cannot believe that anybody would support what was going on in Argentina or choose to turn such a blind eye to the evidence of human rights abuses taking place. Although we have learned in previous weeks that the United States supported other far right administrations in Latin America. Reagan’s comments particularly upset me, one reason being that he only mentions incarceration even though people were also being tortured and killed (-although I’m not completely sure of what information was known at the point, but I’m sure it was enough to not be in support of the Argentinian government).
What I found really interesting was the connection of these regimes, the United States, and the drug trade in Latin America. Due to lack of support from authoritarian regimes, many propped up by the United States, disadvantaged people were forced to find other means to provide for their communities and one of these ways was through the drug trade. Some of the “drug kingpins” were able to build and fix hospitals, schools, etc. even though they also commited/still commit large acts of violence, contributing to/creating a dangerous environment. The USA then gave money to governments like Mexico for example which was then used to buy weapons and military equipment to combat the drug trade. However, it remains quite unsafe for many people. This simplifies/condenses a complicated issue with many levels, but it seems like the root of the problem goes back to the marginalized being neglected.
Why do you think some people/groups chose not to believe the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo and other people who gave testimonies?
What benefits do you think the USA got out of supporting Argentina and their involvement in the drug trade, as it was a different situation from the UFCO for example?