Unit 1: Human Rights





Unit 1: Human Rights

Focus: current events, history-overview of the Dirty War (DW), human rights, photography

Student Activities

Lesson 1: Photography Study: Ausencias by Gustavo Germano


BBC In Pictures: Absent Faces (with or without captions)

Lists of photographers and links (Prison Photography)

Recovering, Remembering Returning: “The Wailing of the Walls’ by Paula Luttringer

Lesson 2: Introduction to Human Rights

Video on human rights set to León Gieco’s La Memoria

Lesson 3: Meet Víctor Basterra – Photographer…Survivor

Filmed interview by Marc Rogers, writer for The Argentina Independent

Lesson 4: The Road to Repression A, B – Readings on Background for the Dirty War


Imagining Argentina – Lawrence Thornton

Lesson 4 (cont.): The Road to Repression C


Imagining Argentina (2003) – Movie trailer starring Antonio Banderas, Emma Thompson, and Rubén Blades (directed by Christopher Hampton)


Operation Condor Overview: A Latin American alliance that led to disappearances and death

Democracy Now! Operation Condor Trial Tackles Coordinated Campaign by Latin American Dictatorships to Kill Leftists



Maná – Desaparaciones

Los Fabulosos Cadillacs – Desaparaciones (en vivo)

Ruben Blades – Desaparaciones from Buscando América (with slideshow dedicated to the events that occurred during military dictatorships)


El Secuestro – Fernando Botero

Guernica – Pablo Picasso


“It was not unusual for Argentine citizens to disappear for committing such ‘subversive’ acts as teaching modern math or setting up cooperative farms for poor peasants. As more and more people vanished, a feeling of great fear swept over the country, and most Argentines felt powerless to stop the horrors that they suspected (or knew) their government was responsible for.”

Lawrence Thornton, "Imagining Argentina" (1987)

“Human rights violations do not just happen. They reflect particular choices made by specific individuals. To the world, these choices can appear quite puzzling. It is not altogether clear why human rights abuses are even committed, especially in the face of intense international and domestic scrutiny.”

Sonia Cardenas, Human Rights in Latin America: A Politics of Terror and Hope

“What is it that leads certain individuals to inflict unimaginable pain and suffering on others? Why do neighbors and former classmates torture and sexually abuse people they used to run into at their local grocer? How do people decide to mutilate bodies or throw them from helicopters into the sea?”

Sonia Cardenas, Human Rights in Latin America: A Politics of Terror and Hope

A favorite quote of Glenn Mitoma from the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut:

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home, so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Such are the places where everyman, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.”

Eleanor Roosevelt in a speech on the 10th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1958)