The dirty war wasn’t sitting on anyone’s agenda, not even on the president’s agenda, until four years ago. The truth commission we have now exists thanks to pressure from the organized victims’ groups and assemblies. The idea, the project, the negotiation, the force came from the victims, and anyone who’s familiar with this process would consider it absurd to suggest, as some have, that this project aims to rehabilitate the military.
I see this as the beginning of a broader process, a ladder to allow us to build the foundations for a new culture of human rights. By that I mean rights for everyone, from the poor to the LGBTQ community and all of those who have been seen as “other.”
The essential idea: to expand the concept of rights to people who don’t even know that their rights have been violated, who saw what happened to them as a normal part of life.
We can tell them that if you were displaced or assaulted due to your religious orientation or for speaking another language or just because you were poor, you have rights. You can organize, you can demand reparations. The right to truth and justice exists for you too, and not only for the circle of victims active on the Left and well aware of their rights.
Just to mention one case: the 1972 operation in the town of El Quemado in Guerrero. The army came in, tortured eighty men, and took them prisoner. But what happened to the women? They were raped, they were forced to marry, in some cases forced to have children and in others to take birth control pills.
The women have also been victims, but until now they’ve been erased. What happened to them? What happened to their children? Here we are broadening the concept of victim, not only focusing on what is obvious but ensuring that our narrative includes the wives, the mothers, the daughters, the sons.
Your investigations may reveal that the United States played a larger role in the dirty war than previously known. Do you have any concern that the commission’s revelations could affect bilateral relations?
What happens happens, and we’ll say what has to be said. The dirty war connected transnational networks of repression. This is what Operation Condor has taught us. We don’t yet have a clear picture, and that’s why our project will include a search of US archives using the Freedom of Information Act.