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Panel 12, Tuesday May 31, 2011, 2:00 pm-3:30 pm
Moderator: Silvia Mejia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Presenters: Marisol Ramos, University of Connecticut; T-Kay Sangwand, The University of Texas at Austin; and Joel Blanco-Rivera, University of Pittsburgh
Rapporteur: Suzanne Schadl, University of New Mexico
The first presentation, Sharing Archives: The P.R. Civil Court Cases Collection Digital Project, by Marisol Ramos of the University of Connecticut (UConn) offered digitization of the Puerto Rican Civil Court Cases Collection as a solution for colonialist ownership of cultural heritage collections in tenuous political environments. Ramos noted that this collection, purchased by UConn in 2002 (before her appointment), actually belonged in the National Archive in Puerto Rico. Upon its establishment in 1955, it became the repository for all government records from the Spanish period to the present. Even so, and through legal means, these documents were in the custody of UConn when she began working there. Because of strict Connecticut state laws prohibiting the deaccession of materials bought by the state, this 19th century collection could not be returned to Puerto Rico. To make matters worse, the fragility of the documents within this collection prohibited making photocopies to share access with the country of provenance.
In 2007, Ramos became concerned with how best to address the moral and ethical obligation to provide Puerto Ricans access to this collection. She saw it as part of the Puerto Rican national and cultural heritage. As a Puerto Rican who had worked in and collaborated with staff at the National Archive in Puerto Rico, Ramos felt even more obligated to identify a solution to the problem of U.S. universities ending up with collections far from their countries of origin. After offering a snapshot of several cases in which donations, purchases, deaths, and/or other events led to document drains, Ramos addressed the difficult historical relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. In so doing, she situated their relationship within studies of colonialism. Ramos noted that as a political appointee embroiled in this difficult connection, it would be ill-advised for the director of the National Archive in Puerto Rico to formally demand that documents be returned to Puerto Rico. The rotating nature of such political positions would make this endeavor even more complicated.
Ramos proposed intervention from archivists and librarians in the United States holding cultural heritage collections. She then outlined the UConn project, and announced that the Latin American Microforms Project (LAMP) had agreed to help fund the initiative. Ramos noted that once digitized, by May 2012 all of the documents in the Puerto Rican Civil Court Cases Collection would be shared through the Internet Archive. Ramos noted that while this solution did not return documents to their country of origin, it did offer access. It also successfully bypassed University funding politics and spoke to the difficulties of cross national/institutional ownership of cultural heritage collections in a tenuous funding situation and in a complicated political environment.
In the second presentation, Tejiendo la Memoria: Strengthening Collective Memory of El Salvador’s Civil War through Transnational Digitization Partnerships, T-Kay Sangwand (The University of Texas at Austin) proposed a Distributed Archival Model as an alternative to problematic traditional methods of archival possession. She argued that the partnership based model of transnational digitization could empower record and access creators by enabling them to retain, expand, and share access while also learning useful techniques in digital preservation.
Sangwand began by presenting the Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI) at UT (http://www.lib.utexas.edu/hrdi). This program serves as the umbrella under which her primary focus, the Tejiendo la Memoria project, evolved. Sangwand noted that HRDI emerged out of the collective effort in which activists, scholars, and organizations together with the University of Texas Libraries (UTL) began to identify threatened electronic and analog resources for preservation. They sought to save the most fragile records of international human rights struggles and promote their security through archival availability, human rights research and continued advocacy. A generous grant from the Bridgeway Foundation in 2008 led to the establishment of the HRDI, which Sangwand noted currently engages in transnational collaborative projects to preserve and make accessible the historical record of genocide and human rights violations throughout the world.
Sangwand presented UT Austin’s work with the Radio Venceremos Archive at the Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen (Museum of Word and Image) in El Salvador as an example of implementing a Distributive Archival Model. Radio Venceremos traveled with the FMLN during the El Salvadoran Civil War and denounced human rights abuses. Sangwand noted that this medium also became an important means for popular education. After the war ended, Radio Venceremos had 1,270 fragile tapes containing personal testimonies. Needless to say, the Museum Word and Image was reluctant to give UT Austin temporary custody of these important records, and understandably so, especially considering the political history between the United States and El Salvador. UT Austin chose, thus, to use collection development funds in order to send equipment and trainers to the Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen with the express purpose of acquiring this digital collection.
UT Austin employees provided training in digital preservation techniques and metadata standards and Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen archivists began to digitize and describe the collection. Custody never changed hands and each party had the opportunity to contribute their expertise to the project. UT Austin and the Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen agreed to share the digital copies archived in a server at UT Austin. The original Radio Venceremos tapes remained in El Salvador. The funding formula used in this experimental acquisition involved calculating the staff costs of two employees processing this collection over two years’ time. UT Austin agreed to pay 2/3 of the cost while the Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen covered 1/3. Sangwand concluded by sharing a clip of a sole survivor’s testimonial in these audio files.
In the third presentation, Declassification and Accountability for Part Abuses: Transitional Justice in Latin America and the Impact of Declassified U.S. Government Documents, Joel Blanco-Rivera (University of Pittsburgh) argued that transitional justice in Latin America requires and is dependent upon access to government documents from the United States. He suggested and offered several examples in which these documents have played important roles in memory-related initiatives throughout Latin America.
Blanco-Rivera began his presentation by placing Latin American requirements for access to U.S. government documents in an international context. He offered a review of cases and literature including reference to the following international efforts to save threatened records: German state security service records in the early 1990s; Paraguayan information on detentions during the Stroessner regime; records from the Guatemalan national police stored in a police building in Mexico City; and very recently, records from the Egyptian state security police. In this last case, Blanco-Rivera stated that protestors successfully used social media to document their demands for saving records as well as for documenting them. He noted that in all of these cases, saving these documents from destruction led to public outcries and increased availability, as in the case of the Archive of Terror. Knowledge of these documents also prompted heightened demands for declassified U.S. government documents, as in the case of Operation Condor.
Building on literature regarding the importance of archivist activism in Human Rights, Blanco-Rivera noted that it was imperative for archivists and human rights activists to take responsibility for preserving several different kinds of archives including transitional archives of former regimes; archives of human rights organizations; archives documenting life during the period; and archives of declassified governments. He reiterated that archival sources enable societies to address legacies of human rights abuses, to institute truth programs, and to implement government reforms and other transitions. Blanco-Rivera highlighted the importance of truth commissions as the main mechanisms for addressing abuses in Latin America. He also argued that such efforts succeeded only after also obtaining declassified U.S. documents. Blanco-Rivera demonstrated that combining Truth Commission reports with the declassification of U.S. documents increased interest in the contradictions between U.S. declassified documents and local documents. He added that this triangulation often opened the door for even greater demands for the release of additional records.
Questions & Comments:
Pamela Graham (Columbia University) asked Sangwand how prevalent the UT Austin model is. She wanted to know if there were other institutions doing similar things and she asked Sangwand if the cost sharing formula UT Austin has used addressed ongoing preservation and maintenance costs. Sangwand stated that she was not aware of any other academic organizations doing something similar but that non-governmental organization were involved in like practices. As for the storage and maintenance costs, she noted that the UT Austin director was supportive of the project as an acquisition and not worried about storage right now. The point was to build an infrastructure for this process to continue in the future. There was an inaudible interjection from the audience on other collections or documents in Mexico.
Ana María Garra asked Blanco-Rivera about his familiarity with a case brought in the U.S. in 1973, which was developed from U.S. documents. He noted that he was familiar with that case and added a few additional examples.
Adrian Johnson (UT Austin) asked Blanco-Rivera if civil judgments help people pursue criminal cases, sort of as a means to ameliorate the reality that a civil conviction rarely results in payment. He wondered if it would be possible to use such a case to revoke citizenship. Blanco-Rivera responded that receiving money was never the end goal. Recognition was most important.
Suzanne Schadl (UNM) asked Ramos and Sangwand if they had to maneuver restrictive bureaucratic funding (such as not recognizing museums as vendors or refusing large reimbursements) to purchase documents in order to get them back to where they belong or to use collections development funds for digital acquisition. Both noted that they had very little difficulty, just increased paper work and communications.
Johnson (UT Austin) asked Ramos if she had any contact with the Puerto Rican Archives since they put this collection into the Internet Archive. He wondered if they were using it. Ramos noted that they were still in the beginning processes of the project and that it would not be live until May 2012.
Adán Benavides (UT Austin) asked Sangwand how feasible it would be to continue these kinds of agreements and how selective they could be in this process. He wanted to know about the long-term sustainability of these projects after the case. Sangwand noted that the library was dedicated to preservation and maintenance costs for these collections, not unlike they would be for other acquisitions. Graham (Columbia University) added that Mellon grants were offering funding for figuring out how to do archiving metadata.
Panel 9, May 31, 2011, 11:00 am-12:30 pm
Moderator: Pamela Graham, Columbia University
Presenters: Sarah B. Van Deusen Phillips, Center for Research Libraries; James Simon, Center for Research Libraries; Pamela Graham, Columbia University; Alex Thurman, Columbia University; Tessa Fallon, Columbia University; Christian Kelleher, University of Texas at Austin
Rapporteur: Bridget Gazzo, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library
The first presentation was “The Human Rights Electronic Evidence Study” by Sarah B. Van Deusen Phillips and James Simon.
The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) Global Resources Network is currently engaged in a two-year project supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to examine how human rights organizations use digital technology to document human rights abuses. Simon opened this presentation by explaining that the project grew out of an interest in determining what happens to human rights documentation when the paper trail becomes digital, including management of materials that are born digital and the use of the new media. CRL is engaged in the project to study and assess current practices of human rights organizations, to ascertain how adequate these practices are for advocacy, and to track the chain of evidence.
Van Deusen Phillips provided details, explaining that they assessed documentation practices and technologies in Mexico, Rwanda, Russia, and the United States. The study is designed to assess the state of current available technology; to identify challenges in the collection and preservation of documentation; to identify best practices for metadata acquisition and preservation; and to encourage and support collaboration between human rights organizations and libraries and archives. She presented findings on Chiapas, Mexico and Kigali, Rwanda, noting that a pattern of documentation and collection emerged. In Chiapas, the documentation is created within small grassroots groups, on paper or orally; these small organizations share information among themselves and pass it on to mid-size professional organizations that consolidate and digitize the information; and the mid-sized organizations forward it to large national and international institutions, such as governments, courts, universities, libraries and the media. Van Deusen Phillips noted problems in Chiapas with the preservation of paper and VHS tapes, problems stemming from moisture and mold. Although she was granted access to the offices, archives, and staff of the small human rights organizations, across the board in Chiapas the staff was unwilling to let her take photos. Van Deusen Phillips documented what she saw by sketching each evening while the images of the kinds of documents and how they were organized were still fresh in her mind. She described canalseisdejulio, the mid-size professional organization in the Chiapas case study. Canalseisdejulio is a media collaborative in Mexico City that has been in operation for about 25 years and has produced over 50 documentary films about human rights and counter-political movements.
Van Deusen Phillips described the study in Kigali, Rwanda, where she was allowed to take photos. The document situation was very much the same, perhaps more organized. Ibuka is a genocide memorial site and activist group that advocates for the civil and human rights of survivors. It is also an umbrella organization for a number of other groups focusing on gender and legal rights, and HIV treatment. It has three primary objectives: genocide memory, justice, and survivor needs. Individuals in Rwanda and in other countries submit documents to Ibuka’s regional offices. Regional offices send consolidated information and copies of documents to Ibuka’s Kigali main memorial center. The Kigali center distributes the information to the national and international media and shares information with other groups. The Kigali Memorial Center Archive provides access to archives for activism and research.
CRL will convene an advisory group to: assess the adequacy of documentation practices for supporting downstream purposes; evaluate standards of metadata, provenance, and legal requirements for electronic evidence; compile best practices; and create tools to support the collection, maintenance, and long-term storage of electronic documentation.
The link to the study is here: http://www.crl.edu/grn/hradp/electronic-evidence
The second presentation was “Collecting the Human Rights Web” by Pamela Graham, Alex Thurman and Tessa Fallon.
Graham began by defining the Human Rights Web (HR Web) as basically everything about human rights on the internet: reports, articles, books, journals, testimony, blog posts, multimedia, and social media. The project has been able to capture all these different kinds of content, except social media because of its proprietary nature. Graham added that all the content they are capturing is open-access and non-licensed. She then explained why they are collecting the HR Web. First, it has high research value. In some cases, digital has replaced print, so it is to maintain the current level of collecting. In other cases, it is to expand the scope and range of collecting, and finally, some content is ephemeral and at risk. They began with a planning grant in 2008, and are presently halfway through a 3-year grant from the Mellon Foundation. They are looking into web archiving other content areas. Content selection is an open process so they can better source the ideas from out in the field. They are collecting materials from NGOs, national institutes, bloggers, and both established and at risk sites. They are not archiving content from counties with archiving initiatives, and they are coordinating with similar web collecting programs to avoid duplication.
Thurman covered the stages of permissions and harvesting. They use a standard permission request form available in English and 5 other languages. They request permission and, if they receive no answer, they wait a few weeks and place another request. If they do not receive an answer to the second query, having made a good faith effort, they proceed with capturing the content. For harvesting, they use Archive-It, a web archiving service, and for preservation they copy the content and structure of the website into a WARC (Web Archive) file. The WARC files are stored at the Internet Archive and in Columbia’s Fedora repository. They cannot capture password protected sites, and they preserve only the form and content of sites, not their functionality. They begin their harvesting process with an initial site assessment, in which they anticipate what will be able to be captured, and crawl scoping, in which they define the domain. They run a test crawl and then re-scope to pick up what was missed and to block unwanted material. Then they do the actual capture and review for quality control. Fallon explained that they provide access through Columbia’s OPAC, through Archive-It, and through WorldCat.
The third presentation was “Preserving Human Rights Archives and Cultural Patrimony: Strategies of the Human Rights Documentation Initiative” by Christian Kelleher.
Kelleher began by explaining that the Human Rights Documentation Initiative makes an effort to address the entire life cycle of electronic records. The 2007 conference at Columbia University caused the University of Texas at Austin to create their Human Rights Documentation Initiative, and he showed a website for the Initiative, that brings together a lot of the materials they have created and collected in the course of their human rights programming. They, like Columbia, also use Archive-It, and use procedures similar to those at Columbia to catalog the material. They have created a thesaurus, and they catalog the web resources using their own thesaurus terms. On their web page, they have a link out to both the live URL and the archived URL. He pointed out that there are two distinct categories of materials on the web. Although website resources are well-served by harvesting, the individual documents within a website are not served by this method of capture. He makes a strong distinction between the categories, giving the example of a list of publications on the website, Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo, in Guatemala. The Initiative has developed another project through which they download each individual publication and place it in the University of Texas digital repository, where it is then cataloged and/or made full-text-searchable. This treatment allows for more detailed information and refined control over individual publications. Another example of this is with another group called Equipo Maíz in El Salvador. They want to have a lot of control over the materials they have. On their website, they have publications that are only available electronically. While investigating what to do with a broadside from the site called Página de Maíz, the Initiative found out it had not been cataloged. They cataloged the title in the University of Texas OPAC and linked it to their digital repository, so it is now full-text searchable and fully discoverable.
Kelleher then described the non-custodial archiving program. They partner with organizations, but they do not collect their archive. Rather, they work together to preserve it, make it available, and to promote the organization’s activities. This model preserves cultural and historical patrimony of the original materials. An example of a partner organization is Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen, in El Salvador, where they have a great historical archive, including the files of Radio Venceremos, along with its original recordings of rebel radio broadcasts. In the partnership efforts, the Initiative is jumping over the mid-level professional organization of Van Deusen Phillips’ model to work directly with the specific actors in the realm of human rights documentation. The best example of a non-custodial project is their work with the Kigali Genocide Memorial. The Initiative’s recently launched website for this project is the best resource for original documentation of the Rwandan genocide. As an example of a beneficial partnership, the URL for the Kigali Genocide Memorial (http://genocidearchiverwanda.org.rw/) points to a server on the University of Texas at Austin, but the material appears to come from Rwanda. A software tool called Glifos, developed in Guatemala, uses a wiki structure to provide access, which allows the cataloging to be done in Rwanda. The material can be digitized and cataloged in Rwanda, in the Rwandan language, by staff of the Kigali Genocide Memorial, and then the hard drives are brought to Austin to be loaded on the server.
In this case, the Initiative works with the non-custodial partner, the Kigali Genocide Memorial, as the mid-level professional organization, who then in turn extends the Initiative’s efforts and training in Rwanda to other human rights organizations. Training and collaboration are very important parts of their programs. The partner organizations are able to gain legitimacy by throwing around the name of the University of Texas, allowing them to gain support within the national and international community which allows them to preserve, catalog, and make available the materials they already have, but also allows them to create new archival materials, do new testimonies, and collect materials from different organizations. Kelleher then showed details of the website for the Kigali Genocide Memorial site. Through the partnerships, they not only support the digitization of the documents, but also support the organizations that are creating the original documents.
Questions & Comments:
Adán Benavides (University of Texas at Austin) asked the first question of Van Deusen Phillips. He asked if she thought her inability to take photographs in Mexico was due to the cultural aversion to photography since it is very common in many situations in Mexico not to be allowed to take photographs. In addition, culturally, for many indigenous groups, taking a photograph is perceived as taking their soul. Van Deusen Phillips replied that she thought it was more an issue of concern about her. She was on site for only ten days, not really enough time for them to get to know her and to build trust. She had relied on being introduced to the archives staff by a trusted local person. Although he was able to get her into the archives, it was still a situation of artificial trust, so it was somewhat limited. Benavides said in his experience sometimes the suspicion on the part of the administrators is that the photograph would be misused, and probably to denigrate their work. Van Deusen Phillips said yes, they had plenty of reasons to be concerned. How were they to know she would not share it with the federal government of Mexico, or with the opposition? For similar reasons, they have a fear of digital documentation. They worry that, if the information goes on the web, who is going to use it, and where, and why? Simon explained that their intent on that project is to get as specific information as possible, such as specific case studies or types of documentation, but it is a real challenge to get that kind of data, especially considering how far removed they now are from the events of the day. The protective role of the mid-level organizations to provide a buffer so the small groups are not instantly squashed sometimes means they can see a piece of paper or an archive, but not copy it.
Graham asked Kelleher how they have gone about building trust in the partnerships with the non-custodial part of the project. Kelleher noted Graham’s earlier observation that the human rights organizations do not have records management skills. He explained that is what the non-custodial model provides. The Initiative works for the non-custodial organizations. Kelleher clarified that the Kigali Genocide Memorial made the decisions about what to include in the archive and what to make available online. They have another partner that has decided to have nothing online. The Initiative is working with them in the short-term to help them manage their resources, and they have a written agreement to make the material available down the road. In the short-term, the Memorial does not want anyone to know about the materials of the one partner that has decided to have nothing online because it would be dangerous for the people involved. Kelleher explained that with all their partners, they do what the partners want.
Fallon asked Kelleher how he presents the Human Rights Initiative to administration as a function of the university library. Kelleher answered that it is a real challenge, especially when the issue is funding. He points out that in some cases it is an opportunity to expand their funding. They have a foundation that has funded their efforts with the Kigali Genocide Memorial that is not a supporter of library programs, but rather is a supporter of human rights programs.
Kelleher then asked the group from Columbia what changes they would like to see in Archive-It and what they think is lacking in the tool. Fallon said she would like to see changes to the way Archive-It groups crawls. It does not provide a sufficient level of management within the tool. Thurman added that the California Digital Library (CDL) has a competitor tool called Web Archiving Service. With this tool, it is very easy to put together all the crawls of any given site and to compare the crawls of the site. Fallon concluded by saying that the Archive-It interface is not as user friendly as the CDL tool.
Panel 6, May 31, 2011, 9:00 am-10:30 am
Moderator: Fernando Acosta-Rodríguez, Princeton University
Presenters: Corina Norro, Archivo Nacional de la Memoria de Argentina; Margarita Vannini, Universidad Centroamericana; Graciela G. Barcala de Moyano, Academia Nacional de la Historia; Daniela Fuentealba, Museo de la Memoria; María Luisa Ortiz, Museo de la Memoria
Rapporteur: Tracy North, Library of Congress
Corina Norro began her presentation “Los Archivos Audiovisuales: Aportes para la Memoria en Construcción” by lamenting that there is not enough money or political will in Argentina right now to preserve cultural heritage. However, she enthusiastically reported that the Archivo Nacional de la Memoria is attempting to preserve audiovisual materials. She explained that the Archives are for citizens. They are important so that no one will forget. All of history is written; this audiovisual documentation is equally as important for history.
In 2007, Argentina created the Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos with the idea of capturing the memories of the victims and perpetrators of the atrocities. The goal is to collect the many stories and experiences of all of those involved in the Dirty War. Corina made the important point that there is not just one story, but rather a diverse group of experiences. The Archive is attempting to collect stories in all formats: images, videos, oral history, etc., in order to trace the trajectory of culture throughout the Dirty War. They are collecting movies, music, radio and television broadcasts so that scholars and citizens can dissect the recordings to analyze censorship or other influences of media production during the time period. For example, they are trying to recover broadcast recordings from the 1978 World Cup which they suggest covered up the truth about what was really happening in Argentina in the midst of the Dirty War.
Margarita Vannini followed with her presentation “Memoria e Imagen: Los Archivos Audiovisuales del Instituto de Historia de Nicaragua y Centroamérica de la UCA.” According to Vannini, the Instituto de Historia has a collection of photographs to promote and disseminate information. Vannini talked about the notion of circulating information through books, journals, and photographs as a way to broadcast the cultural patrimony of the country. The goal is to share the experience with future generations. Vannini explained that Nicaragua has experienced a tumultuous political history for the past 50 years (e.g., Somoza, Revolution, Sandinista, neoliberalism, Post-Sandinismo, etc.). She explained that small museums have taken on the task of attempting to preserve the memory of the nation. In working for a more just society, they are collecting and saving images of murals in public places (e.g., plazas and other central locations). They are also trying to capture music from the different periods of their recent political turmoil.
Vannini noted the ending of a decade of the Nicaraguan Civil War and the election of Violeta Barrios de Chamorro to the presidency in 1990. She ran her campaign and took office with a peace and reconciliation platform. The Instituto de Historia is not attempting to erase the memory of the Sandinistas and the revolution; rather, the goal is to preserve the memory and cultural history of the nation: to recover the thousands of burned books; to remember the changed names of the schools, etc.
Graciela Barcala de Moyano next followed with her presentation “Clasificación Temática de Archivos Orales Sobre Derechos Humanos: Aportes para una Metodología.” Barcala de Moyano began by noting that the archivists and librarians who are cataloging the memory of the nation are working today for future generations, 20-25 years from now. They want to simplify the recovery of memory and the cataloging and preservation of oral testimony and audiovisual resources. They are seeking to develop common terms through a linguistic examination of the resources. Barcala de Moyano made the point that we use words today to describe past events but these words are different from the words that were used during the actual time period being described. She explained that the cataloging process must be objective. She discussed the unique challenge of cataloging oral history. For example, there is not a unique title for each testimony. The people who are speaking out and telling their stories are not well-known; rather, they are family members of the disappeared, so chances are there are not established authority headings for their names. With the cataloging rules constantly changing, the goal is to standardize the thesaurus so that common terms are applied across collections for future searching and access to the collections.
In their joint presentation, “Difusión y Acceso Público del Patrimonio del Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos Mediante su Centro de Documentación”, Daniela Fuentealba and María Luisa Ortiz discussed the importance of the Chilean exile experience of 1973-1989, and described the urgent need to collect, organize, store, and provide access to the vast array of resources created by Chilean exiles which are dispersed throughout the world in many formats (mostly music, some fine arts, graphic design, and photography), languages, and themes. Most of these materials are held by the exiles themselves, whether they live in Chile or in the country of asylum. The findings indicate that there was no systematic attempt to identify, collect and provide access to resources about the Chilean exile experience.
The artistic output of Chilean exiles covered many different avenues. For example, there was an abundance of literature – poetry, fiction, and non-fiction – being produced by Chileans abroad. Film and theater production have also proliferated among Chilean exiles. The films served as an educational post-dictatorship tool to show young Chileans what life was like during the Pinochet dictatorship. In addition to the primary sources (for which more research is needed to bring together and catalog all of the rich production), some valuable secondary sources also attempt to investigate and explain the massive Chilean exodus during the dictatorship and its role in shaping the history of the nation. Ultimately, there is an urgent need to attempt to identify, collect, and make available the production of Chilean exiles in all formats, languages, and themes in order to create a more comprehensive view of Chilean history during the dictatorship (1973-1989), and the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos is the ideal venue to collaborate in undertaking this significant activity.
Panel 14, May 31, 2011, 2:00 pm-3:30 pm
Moderator: Richard Phillips, University of Florida
Presenter: Carlos Gutiérrez, Cinema Tropical
Rapporteur: David S. Nolen, Mississippi State University
This panel featured a screening of the film Nostalgia por la Luz, directed by Patricio Guzmán. Carlos Gutiérrez from Cinema Tropical presented an introduction to the film itself and answered questions before and after the screening. Gutiérrez began by explaining that Cinema Tropical was founded in 2001 and is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Latin American cinema. As part of this mission, Cinema Tropical is involved in distribution and promotion of films, including activities like publicity campaigns, film festivals, and film series (like the one held at the University of Arizona each year). He introduced this film by mentioning Guzmán’s earlier film, The Battle of Chile. Gutiérrez considers Nostalgia por la Luz to be a film essay on theoretical ideas of memory. It was financed by Guzmán himself. Chris Moore (Sol Productions) asked how to order the film. Gutiérrez answered that it could be ordered through the Icarus Films website. Paloma Celis Carbajal (University of Wisconsin, Madison) asked if Cinema Tropical also covered European cinema as well. Gutiérrez responded that Cinema Tropical only works with films from Latin America, which includes films from Brazil but not from the English-speaking Caribbean.
The film focused on the themes of the preservation and study of the past as represented by images and people associated with the Atacama Desert. Guzmán began by discussing the widespread popular interest in astronomy throughout Chile, and how the region of the Atacama has attracted astronomers from around the world because its environmental and atmospheric conditions provide a uniquely suited place to study the night sky.
In a conversation between the director and an astronomer, Guzmán introduced the idea that astronomers are primarily concerned with the past because they are observing light that has traveled over time from distant places in the universe. He also used this conversation to express the belief that the present is actually the sensory perception of the recent past because there is always a time-lapse effect when observing light.
The film highlighted the connections between archaeologists and astronomers. Both groups attempt to reconstruct the distant past from the evidence they find in the present. The Atacama Desert functions as a gateway to the past for both groups: astronomers take advantage of the unique geography to study the origins of the universe and of mankind, while archaeologists are able to study the remains of past civilizations because of the preservation of artifacts caused by the extremely dry desert conditions.
Guzmán used this theme to note the difficulty of the past for Chile. While astronomers and archaeologists work to uncover the distant past, Guzmán asserted that the recent past in Chile is mostly hidden and least considered.
From that point on, the film shifted to the stories of Chileans impacted by the Pinochet regime’s repression, transposing their stories with the archaeological and astronomical research into the past. One segment of the film told the story of political prisoners learning about astronomy while at Chacabuco, the largest prison camp used by the Pinochet regime. The prisoners initially had the opportunity to observe the stars and study astronomy, but were then banned from doing so by the military because of the fear that escapees would attempt to use the constellations for navigation in the desert. One prisoner explained that the study of astronomy simply gave him and his fellow prisoners a sense of freedom. The film identified these men who survived their experience in the camps as transmitters of history.
Another prisoner, who was an architect, explained how he memorized the details of the layouts of five camps that he was in during his time in captivity. He measured the distances by pacing, and then made drawings at night by candlelight. Each morning, he would tear the drawings into shreds and throw them away. By repeatedly drawing and re-drawing the layout of the camps, he memorized them and then re-drew them while in exile in Denmark. When these camp layouts were published, they provided a shocking testimony of the abuses of the camps. Guzmán stated that this man and his wife embody a significant metaphor for Chile: memory and forgetting. The former prisoner remembered what he suffered in the camps, but his wife forgets more and more as she suffers the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
The film reported that the commission charged with investigating the human rights violations that occurred under the Pinochet regime concluded that approximately 30,000 Chilean citizens were tortured by the government. The commission also estimated that as many as 30,000 other victims did not come forward. Guzmán commented that the survivors are continually terrorized by the presence of those responsible in the general population, unprosecuted and unpunished for their complicity.
In another exchange with one of the astronomers, the question of searching for the past is raised again. This time, the astronomer observed that his search for the past allows him to rest well at night, while the search for the past carried out by the women of Calama likely does not allow the same peace of mind for them. He asserted that Chilean society is comfortable with his searching, but is not comfortable with the searching of the women, who continue to walk through the Atacama Desert in search of the remains of their loved ones or others’ loved ones—victims of the violence carried out by the government against its own citizens.
In a series of emotional interviews, several women recounted their searches for the remains of their own family members and the discoveries of remains of other victims that they have made. Guzmán referenced a whale skeleton that he saw in a museum as a boy and contrasted its place of honor in the museum with the anonymity of the remains of the victims of government violence that remain unburied and without a monument to honor them. The remainder of the film focused on the efforts of these women and others to search for the remains of victims and to commemorate the lives of those who disappeared.
The film concluded with the idea that memory is the key to being able to live in the present. Those without memory cannot live anywhere.
Questions & Comments:
Daisy Domínguez (City College of New York) asked if women were leading the drive to locate those killed by the Pinochet regime and bring people to justice because so many men had been killed. Gutiérrez responded that many Chilean men had been involved in those efforts as well, but the women whose male relatives had been disappeared had really taken the lead publicly.
Paloma Celis Carbajal (University of Wisconsin, Madison) asked how Cinema Tropical works with institutions of higher education on the specifics of screenings (such as logistics, funding, and speaker arrangements). Gutiérrez answered that the specifics are done on a case-by-case basis. He mentioned that the French government has a well-established system for offering reduced prices for films to universities to encourage them to organize film packages for tours. He said that Cinema Tropical is looking for ways to work more with librarians and other university organizations for screenings. Celis Carbajal responded that for many libraries, buying the institutional copy is seen as the best way to facilitate this kind of thing because costs beyond that (such as honorariums for speakers) become an issue due to limited library budgets. Gutiérrez suggested that filmmakers and university officials could work together to alleviate some of those issues, such as creating touring circuits where groups of universities collaborated, as well as bringing in local foreign consulates to help with certain aspects of the planning and expenses.
May 30, 2011
9:00 am-10:30 am
Nerea A. Llamas, SALALM President 2010-2011, University of Michigan
Joseph Holub, SALALM Local Arrangements Co-chair, 2010-2011, University of Pennsylvania
David C. Murray, SALALM Local Arrangements Co-chair, 2010-2011, Temple University
H. Carton Rogers, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries, University of Pennsylvania
Ann Farnworth-Alvear, Director of the Latin American and Latino Studies Program, University of Pennsylvania
Jonathan LeBreton, Senior Associate University Librarian, Temple University Libraries
Peter Kornbluh, National Security Archive:
Forensic Archivists and Active Archives: Advancing the Cause of Human Rights in Latin America through Archival Investigation
Rapporteur: Gabriella Reznowski, Washington State University
Nerea Llamas opened the session by thanking the sponsors and welcoming special guests to SALALM LVI. Llamas introduced Peter Kornbluh, recognizing his contribution to the preservation of memory in its various forms. Works Kornbluh has authored include: The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962, The Iran-Contra Scandal: the Declassified History, and The Pinochet File, among others.
Kornbluh began his presentation at the historic Warwick hotel by paying tribute to the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, recalling his boyhood visits to his grandmother’s home on 21st and Walnut Street. He introduced the topic of “Human Rights and Archives,” explaining that every archive has the potential to become a “moving monument” to history. Kornbluh challenged us to take this a step further, to ensure that they are active monuments: “How do we actively and aggressively build and apply archives to rewrite and reshape the present and advance the concept of truth, justice and dignity that is at the heart of the human rights issues we care about?”
Kornbluh’s talk centered on the idea that we can all be “activist archivists,” ensuring that the documents we collect and preserve are used to advance the cause of human rights. This theme is central to the work at the National Security Archive (NSA), where they are committed to freedom of information and human rights issues. Sharing an acronym with the National Security Agency, Kornbluh jokingly explained, “We refer to ourselves as ‘The Archive’ rather than the NSA, which of course is a very secretive organization.” He acknowledged that because the ‘National Security Archive’ has a sinister ring to it, people sometimes confuse the NSA with a secretive, government agency. Kornbluh held up a t-shirt that read: “Documentos o Muerte!” (Documents or Death!). Kornbluh explained this was the assertive, almost revolutionary slogan of his organization.
Kornbluh explained that the NSA is the leading advocate for freedom of information and transparency laws, at home and abroad: “We have our church of the ‘right to know’ and we preach the gospel of the ‘right to know’ around the world.” Kornbluh stated that they take seriously those words that are so ironically and misleadingly engraved in the foyer of the Central Intelligence Agency: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” He continued, saying: “Freedom, true democratic participation, and accountability are all predicated on access to information.” Quoting Justice Louis Brandeis, Kornbluh referred to the philosophy espoused by the NSA: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
Proceeding with his talk, Kornbluh presented a slide of a censored document related to Augusto Pinochet, stating: “This is what gets us going in the morning at the NSA: the censorship of history.” Much of the work of his organization is to uncover and pursue the text under the blacked-out part of such documents, as he asks: “Why do we have to have censorship like this?” Kornbluh further went on to describe the mission of the organization, as it works with key advocacy groups around the world to advance “freedom of information” laws. The NSA is responsible for establishing Sunshine Week in the U.S., also bringing the concept to other countries. His colleague, Kate Hill, was instrumental in drafting Mexico’s “freedom of information” laws, organizing the monitoring agencies that oversee them. Additionally, the NSA runs training programs on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for the press, media programs, and reporters. The NSA is currently involved in providing training to the families of human rights victims in Chile, so that they may pursue documentation under the Chilean “freedom of information” laws.
Continuing, Kornbluh explained: “We’ve pushed and advocated for a special designation for the millions of pages of still secret U.S. documents that relate to human rights and oppression, a designation that would facilitate their expeditious declassification.” A slide showed the first pages of the November 23, 1997 proposal put forth by Congressman Tom Lantos, H.R. 26535: “The Human Rights Information Act” presented during the 1st session of the 100th congress. This act would expedite the release of all documents since 1944 that contain information about human rights violations. The CIA and FBI opposed the law, and it failed to pass. While other countries, such as Uruguay, Peru, and Guatemala adopt similar legislation, it is unfortunate that the U.S. is falling behind: “We work in a global arena now in archives, and other countries are adopting ‘freedom of information’ laws that have specific clauses for the expedited declassification of human rights documentation so that governments cannot hide these atrocities.”
Aside from advocating for the freedom of information around the world, the NSA is a repository for declassified documents. As Kornbluh explained, the organization has hundreds of boxes filled with papers, from which it publishes electronic briefing books, such as the forthcoming Fifty Years of Cuba Relations, also making its digital collections available through their website. The NSA has targeted documents related to Latin America, the history of nuclear war, terrorism, presidential decision making, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. NSA staff have made over 40,000 FOIA requests generating the declassification of over 700,000 documents. The organization has also been instrumental in generating the declassification of documents and pushing for collections at presidential libraries to be opened to the public through Mandatory Declassification Review requests. Kornbluh explained that if the NSA drew only on U.S. archives, this would be “informational imperialism.” The organization therefore conducts research in other archives around the world, including Library and Archives Canada, the British National Archives, and the Brazilian National Archives, in addition to an increasing number of archives in Latin America, which have started to yield “impressive and vast numbers of docs on human rights.”
Kornbluh urged the propagation of “investigative librarians” in a field where we generally have a passive, “build it and they will come” orientation toward users: “It is in the building of these archival collections that we all bring the creativity and interests that we have to accumulate groups of unique records.” At the NSA, Kornbluh explained: “We proactively build our collections on Latin America and human rights with very specific usages in mind so, and very specific and clear strategies for the dissemination of the information, so it will have a maximum impact on the cause of human rights, through the media, into the hands of the courts and the families of victims that need them.” Kornbluh described his role as that of a “forensic historian,” the crime scene investigator of human rights atrocities in Latin America where the “autopsy” on human rights crimes is performed by “exhuming” the secret records of the vaults of the organizations like the FBI and CIA.
Another role Kornbluh highlighted is the targeting of key collections of documents related to human rights investigations in order to advance truth, justice, and dignity in Latin America. In order to accomplish this, Kornbluh advocates for the aggressive and special use of the FOIA through familiarity with the types of documents that each agency generates and the variety of reporting addressed by each department. The NSA is familiar with the operations of the State Department, the FBI attachés, the Defense Intelligence attachés, and the types of meetings and minutes that are generated by each group. Another method used to obtain documents is through “discretionary declassification,” pressing presidents and leaders to decree the declassification of relevant documents on key cases in order to advance the cause of human rights.
Kornbluh took the remainder of the time to illustrate some of the agency’s work.
1. Freedom of Information Act work
Much of the agency’s FOIA work is geared toward Truth Commissions related to Latin America. There have been a few cases where the NSA had foreknowledge of the establishment of a Truth Commission. For example, they have already started doing FOIA work in the U.S. related to an upcoming Brazil commission. Another example involves Peru, where the NSA had two years lead time to prepare 200 FOIA requests related to Alberto Fujimori.
Kornbluh showed a Defense Intelligence Agency document confirming that Fujimori gave the order to raid and execute prisoners at a Japanese residency where MRTA guerillas had taken hostages. Fujimori gave the order that no member of the hostage takers was to be taken alive, even if they were to surrender. The document confirms that two members did in fact surrender, were executed, and their bodies arranged in such a way as to appear that their deaths occurred during a “shoot out.” This document was instrumental in Fujimori’s trial, as it illustrates that he was capable of an explicit human rights violation. The NSA played a significant role in the Fujimori trial, giving the judges and prosecuting attorneys 21 documents that were used as evidence in Peru. Further to the Fujimori trial, Kornbluh showed the slide: “Counterterrorism plan: secret annex for extrajudicial assassination,” a document confirming that a secret, extracurricular, extrajudicial assassination program would be set up against those Fujimori considered to be terrorists.
Another FOIA example relates to the Defense Intelligence Agency “Biographic Data Reports” containing lists of where specific Guatemalan commanders were posted. The NSA also obtained “Order of Battle Documents” from which they were able to develop a database of major massacre locations and the corresponding commanding officers related to the atrocities. The database was used in helping the U.N. Truth Commission to establish connections between commanders and massacres. Kornbluh also presented a CIA Intelligence Report used by the U.N. Truth Commission showing that Rios Montt gave specific authorization for “carte-blanche” repression in the indigenous regions of Guatemala. Documents also illuminate the U.S. role in counter-terrorism campaigns, condoning operations that were tantamount to massacres, tortures, and bloodshed.
A slide showed a CIA diagram related to the 1954 coup operations against Arbenz, illustrating “The Conference Room Technique,” or “how to assassinate a room full of Arbenz officials in less than 20 seconds … and blame the communists.” This was found in the appendix to a manual on assassination which detailed every conceivable way to kill a person, including a section on blunt instruments. Kornbluh published the first four documents as “op-art” in the New York Times “op-ed” page, characterizing it as one of the most chilling documents he has ever read that was generated by tax-payer dollars. The declassification of these documents resulted in so much publicity that Clinton felt compelled to apologize for them when he was in Guatemala in 1998. Characterizing the incident, Kornbluh stated: “This is an issue of memory; this is an issue of accountability. Changing the framework of relations, addressing a horrid history, in the hopes of generating changes in the future.”
2. Emerging Latin American archives
Increasingly, in-house documents from Latin America are becoming instrumental to the work conducted by the NSA. Kornbluh showed a slide of a Chilean intelligence report from a DINA operative and bureau chief in Buenos Aires, Enrique Arancibia Clavel. Clavel operated under covert cover as a banker, but coordinated collaboration between the Argentinean Secret Police and the Chilean Secret Police. The document confirms that Clavel had been given a secret report by the Argentine Intelligence Batallion 601 confirming that between 1974 and 1976, 22,000 people died or disappeared due to Argentine military actions. This is still the only official acknowledgment from an internal Argentinean military source that confirms these deaths.
On some occasions, documents are given to NSA members by sources from inside Latin America. Kornbluh presented a slide of the Guatemalan “Death Squad Diary,” a leather-bound log book recording 8 months of efforts by the Guatemalan secret police during 1983. This was literally handed to Kate Doyle in Guatemala, as Kornbluh stated: “Even military sources sometimes have pains of conscience.” Kate Doyle published the article “Looking into the secret archives of Guatemala’s bureaucracy of murder” in Harper’s magazine and the log book became instrumental in prosecuting Guatemalan human rights cases.
Kornbluh cited the most important archival find in recent Latin American history to be the national police files in Guatemala. A photo showed a rat-infested abandoned armaments depot in the middle of Guatemala City, where some 50 million pages of documents were found in rotting bags. The materials were sifted through and are now being used as evidence in human rights trials. Related to this find, Kornbluh presented a slide that honors four police officers involved in the kidnapping and death of Edgar Fernando García, a student leader and trade union activist captured by Guatemalan security forces in 1984. As a result of this document, the officers were sent to trial, found guilty and sentenced to 40 years in prison. The documents illustrate that García’s capture was an organized political abduction orchestrated at the highest levels of the Guatemalan government. The documentary film Granito focuses on this incident, as a group of women, including colleague Kate Doyle, bring cases from Guatemala to the Spanish courts. In the film, Fernando Garcia’s daughter talks about the impact these documents have had on her, as she is able touch and feel them. She herself has become a human rights investigator, sifting through the documents in the archive. Kornbluh explained that the value of his work is driven home when the families of the victims come to the NSA to touch the photos of their loved ones, placing mementos in the archival case containing the documents: “The community has come to this activist archive.”
Another slide related to the “Archivo del Terror,” a major Latin American find in Paraguay. Upon finding this abandoned police station, a human chain was formed to transfer 700,000 documents to a car for transport to the Supreme Court building. Found among the documents was the original set of invitations that brought Paraguay into Operation Condor.
Kornbluh said: “We live in a global world, and one archive is not enough; we now look at many archives to build an investigative story.” To illustrate this, Kornbluh presented a slide with mug shots found by NSA colleague Carlos Osorio in the Mexican Police archives. The photos are of two Argentine secret police agents arrested in Mexico City in January of 1970. Osorio found corroborating documents in Paraguay, Argentina and the United States, to uncover “Operation Mexico,” an Argentine secret police rendition program to find and capture Monteneros living in Mexico City. Through the program, the agents captured “Tucho” Valenzuela, his wife, and two children, telling Valenzuela that he will identify other Monteneros, or risk losing his family. Valenzuela escaped from his captors and brought the story to the Mexican police who then found and arrested the Battalion 601 agents, taking the resulting mug shots. In the spirit of counter-terrorism, the Mexican police return Valenzuela to the two Battalion members and deport everyone back to Argentina. Since the operation had been blown, 14 people held at a detention center were executed to cover up the case, including Valenzuela’s wife. The children were adopted by military families, and finally reunited at the 2010 trial where the commanders were ultimately convicted.
3. Discretionary Declassification
Presenting a slide of the British warrant for Pinochet’s arrest in October of 1998, Kornbluh explained that documents are obtained by pushing presidents and leaders around the world to approve discretionary declassification. Kornbluh recalled the NSA’s ability to pressure the Clinton Administration on discretionary declassification of documents from Chile, resulting in the release of 24,000 items, including an internal diagram of the structure of the Chilean secret police. A slide entitled, “CIA Reports on Repression in Chile Ties Pinochet to Abuses,” shows that General Manuel Contreras took his orders from Augusto Pinochet, and Pinochet alone. Another slide shows Kissinger’s attitude toward Pinochet, when in a September 29, 1975 meeting with Admiral Caravajal, he complains: “I have read the briefing book my staff has prepared for me on this meeting, and it’s nothing but Human Rights.” Although Pinochet was never convicted, Kornbluh feels that these documents ensure that you still have a verdict of history.
Questions & Comments:
David Block (Cornell University) asked the only question: “In the context of your present work, what do you make of Wikileaks?”
Kornbluh replied that Wikileaks is essentially a techno-media organization that accepted almost 700,000 documents from U.S. Army soldier Bradley Manning and placed them on a network. What sets Wikileaks apart is the magnitude of the documents, and the use of technology to distribute them. The NSA has a different modus operandi than Wikileaks. For the most part, the NSA does not deal in leaked materials, but rather advocates for transparency with regards to government information. However, Kornbluh recommended that we compare Julian Assange’s reception to that of Bob Woodward: “Nobody is talking about prosecuting Bob Woodward, and nobody should be talking about prosecuting Assange either.”
Panel 15, June 1, 2011, 9:00 am-10:30 am
Moderator: Marisol Ramos, University of Connecticut
Presenters: Jared Marchildon, Libros Latinos; Gustavo Castaner, International Monetary Fund, Archivists without Borders, Spain; Irene Münster, University of Maryland; Mark Grover, Brigham Young University
Rapporteur: Barbara Alvarez, University of Michigan
The presentations on this panel documented the struggle against political oppression in Mexico, Spain, Argentina and Chile, and described efforts to preserve memories of that oppression.
“ASARO” , the opening talk by Jared Marchildon gave an account of the presenter’s trips to Oaxaca in January and May 2011, where he went to meet the Asemblea de Artistas Revolucionarios de Oaxaca (ASARO) artists and purchase their prints. Delivered in English and Spanish, with strokes of vivid, visual language, the presentation painted the picture of the life of the ASARO collective, its members Lalo, Yeska, Baltasar, Pacheco, Mario Guzmán, and the creative process that happens in their studios and on the streets of Oaxaca, where they use stencils and graffiti art to express their political resistance. As Marchildon explained, the group formed itself in 2006 when a teachers’ protest turned into a general uprising involving one third of the Oaxacan population. A Japanese artist working at the Instituto de Bellas Artes taught the founding members of ASARO techniques of art protest he had learned in Japan and other countries. ASARO prints and graffiti painfully depict the social and political oppression, the poverty, the submissive state of women, the government’s abuse of power, and promote revolutionary ideals and human solidarity. Yeska and his fellow artists descend from the surrounding hills upon the city to imprint their political message upon the walls. They disguise, hide their spray cans and stencils, and evade police to aid la rebellion through unnerving and denouncing images. The other favorite medium of the ASARO collective are woodcut prints. Many of them are exhibited in Mexico and abroad and many are purchased by collectors and art vendors. The ASARO Blogspot page (http://asar-oaxaca.blogspot.com) features exhibits and works of individual artists, as well as publications and videos about the collective.
The following presentation, “Breaking Down the Wall of Silence: The Archives in the Battle for Retrieving Spain’s Historical Memory,” delivered by Gustavo Castaner, addressed the difficulties of recovering the historical memory of Franco’s regime. According to Castaner, Spain is often referred to as a model transition from dictatorship to democracy. In fact, this transition was achieved through an agreement with the dictator’s followers that guaranteed impunity for them and their crimes. The price of this agreement was silence. A look back after 30 years reveals that Franco’s regime, which was sustained for nearly 40 years, was much more dire than other dictatorships. Thousands of victims of Franco’s brutal repression still lie in forgotten mass graves without any recognition.
In 2007, the Law of Historical Memory was passed in Spain. This law condemns Franco’s regime and prescribes the removal of its symbols from public spaces. It recognizes the victims of violence on both sides of the conflict and ensures the assistance of the government in discovery, identification and exhumation of the bodies buried in mass graves. Archives are a crucial tool for the retrieval of the forgotten memory. Franco’s government kept exhaustive records that are vital to the research of this historical period.
Franquistas practiced a total war and dehumanization of the enemy, the same tactics that were used in the Spanish-Moroccan War (1909-26), such as the use of poison gas, mass executions and rape, and attacks on the civil population. The best known case was Badajoz, where Franco’s troops shot some 2,000-4,000 people in the bull-fight ring after taking the city. Francisco Espinosa Maestre documented in his book the bloody advance of ¨the column of death¨ that executed 10% of inhabitants of each village they had entered. The gang rapes were common, and the franquistas promised white women to the Moors fighting on their side.
Franco’s regime used war edicts as legal instruments in the first year of the war. The deaths of victims were recorded in civil registries as “application of the war edict.” In the following years, court martials took over the legal procedures of the repression. Ironically, people were condemned for aiding the rebellion where, in fact, the military were those who rebelled by organizing a coup d’état. The Law of Political Responsibilities, passed in February 1939, allowed the imposition of penalties such as total disqualification, banishment, exile, total or partial loss of assets and loss of nationality. By September of 1941, the regional tribunals initiated 229,549 such cases.
The violence on the Republican side mainly happened because the government lost control. In Madrid and Barcelona, the anarchists and union members got weapons and started their own revenge. It was estimated that the leftists killed some 85,000 people, but it turns out that a lot of victims were counted more than once. The latest studies account for some 130,000 victims of Franco’s regime.
Franco had an obsession about freemasonry and communism. Special military units searched for documents and collected them in a center in Salamanca. In Barcelona they collected 165 tons of records during five-month search. In Salamanca, 400 tons of records of institutions and organizations were gathered and members of the tribunal produced 3 million index cards with information on specific individuals. Many civil servants lost their jobs, and half a million people were in prison at the end of the war.
In conclusion, Castaner noted that since 2000, the Association for Historical Memory fights to recover the historical records and to exhume mass graves. However, the process is difficult because information is very fragmented and dispersed across the country and it is also difficult to manage and understand for non-experts. The Law of Historical Memory is not applied to its full extent. Resources are not there and the government is not very helpful. Amnesty International Spain published a report called Disaster of Archives and the Privatization of Truth. The latest scandal is the publication of the new Diccionario Biográfico Español in which the entry on Franco is written by his past supporter, and calls him “authoritarian,” without any allusion to the fact that he was a repressive dictator.
Irene Münster‘s presentation, “Memorializing Memories,” took the audience to Argentina under the rule of the military junta of 1976-1983. Based on personal memories, her paper gave an account of the fate of some publishers, bookstores, libraries and community organizers that were active during those turbulent times. When the junta took power, Münster was 20 years old and worked at the Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano under the leadership of Marshall Meyer, a young American rabbi.
With absolute impunity, the junta organized a systematic plan to persecute and repress thousands of people in more than 300 clandestine detention centers around the country. Fifteen thousand to thirty thousand people disappeared and 70% of the victims were under the age of 35. Fifteen percent were Jews. The junta aimed to subdue all areas of cultural activity and to impose on the population their moral principles and conservative authoritarian ideology. The Ministerio del Interior enforced censorship, took control of publishing houses and destroyed books. Operación Claridad established in academic centers identified subversive books and teachers who used them. Students and professors alike were pressured to report on each other. Many writers went into exile, others spent time in prison and were tortured, and some disappeared. “Dangerous” books and their authors were registered on a black list. Publishers and bookstores suffered from censorship, books were confiscated and burned, and their owners or vendors were detained or disappeared.
EUDEBA, created in 1958, shortly became the biggest publisher of Spanish language books. In 1974 it was taken over by the Peronist party. In 1976, 15 of its titles were banned and taken to the basement. In February 1977, four military trucks loaded some 80,000-90,000 volumes that subsequently were destroyed. In 1978 the police discovered thousands of books, magazines and encyclopedias of Marxism stored in a warehouse. In August 1980 the police burned 1.5 million books on a vacant lot of land. Witnesses were brought to testify that the books were burned and not stolen. The leftist newspaper La Nueva Presencia was attacked with explosives in 1981.
Marshall Meyer started to fight for human rights against the system, the junta and the Jewish establishment. He spoke to the press and to the community. Soon, he and those who worked with him started to receive death threats almost daily. Every Friday, Meyer went to prisons to provide comfort to Jews and non-Jews alike. He was subjected to the same humiliation as the prisoners. However, he brought back documents and letters to families. The papers needed to be hidden in case of inspection by the authorities. The chosen place was the library, between the huge volumes of Jewish law. This collection, hidden for seven years, is now at the Duke University, Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.
Most of the human rights organizations worked to denounce violations committed by the military and offer support to victims and their families. The most prominent were Asemblea Permanente de los Derechos Humanos, founded in 1975, and Movimiento Ecuménico por los Derechos Humanos, founded in 1976. Jews were not persecuted because they were Jews; however, a special vicious treatment was given to them while in prison. Their families did not get any support from Jewish organizations or other human rights organization. Therefore, Movimiento Judío por los Derechos Humanos was founded by Meyer.
Community and university libraries received lists of banned authors. The cards were removed from the catalogs, making their works inaccessible. In the province of Córdoba, the police demanded the borrowing records of community library users. Eighty two writers and 27 librarians are among the disappeared. To protect themselves, many people burned their personal libraries. To have a library was already dangerous because you were considered an intellectual which was synonymous with a leftist thinker. Münster concluded that “the memory of terror still lives among us. Argentina is a country living with its ghosts.”
The last presentation also focused on Argentina’s “Dirty War.” Mark Grover‘s talk “Under Threat: Academics Documenting Human Rights Abuses. The Case of Argentine Professor William Sill” recounted the story of Dr. William Sill, Research Professor and Curator of the Paleontology Museum at the National University of San Juan in western Argentina. Sill is mostly known for the establishment of the Ischigualasto Provincial Park that became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but is also recognized as “a defender of human rights”. Sill studied geology at Brigham Young University (BYU) and the National University of Mexico (UNAM). In 1958, he was sent to Argentina by the LDS Church on a religious mission. He returned to the United States in 1961, graduated from BYU in 1963, and entered Harvard to study vertebrate paleontology. Between 1968 and 1970, he held a post-graduate research and teaching position at Yale University. In 1970 he received a National Science Foundation grant to spend a year at the Instituto Miguel Lillo in Tucumán examining and evaluating a collection of fossils from Ischigualasto. In 1971 the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo created a geology department in San Juan and he was offered a full professorship in paleontology. He and his family moved to San Juan in western Argentina. Soon after, Sill became involved in the creation of the Ischigualasto Provincial Park to protect a unique deposit of fossils from the Triassic period.
Grover interviewed Sill in Buenos Aires in 2001 at the time when the later had just received the Argentine Congressional Medal of Honor. During the interview, Sill passed onto Grover a copy of his diary, written between 1976 and 1979, which documented the kidnapping, torture, death or escape of some of his students and friends. As a scientist, Sill kept detailed records of the events, methods of torture, accounts of abuses and affected victims even though writing of such a diary was very risky. He created a special code to encrypt people’s names to protect their identity. The other parts of the dairy recount the story of two students Sill helped to escape from Argentina and a brief exposition of his philosophical and religious views on what was going on.
Sill was distressed by the violence, helplessness and the lack of opposition in certain sectors of society. The political situation had also a devastating effect on the university. Numerous faculty members were dismissed and 65 students disappeared. Many students came to tell him stories of their arrest and torture. Soon he realized he and his family were in danger. They secretly moved first to a farm in the country and later on to Buenos Aires. The soldiers who searched for him were told that the family moved back to the US. They lived concealed in Argentina for another two years, but eventually they had to leave the country. They arrived in Austin, TX where they remained for ten years, teaching for the Mormon Church and in the Department of Geological Studies at the University of Texas. In 1992 Sill returned to San Juan to work as Curator of Paleontology at the university’s museum. In 2002, seriously affected by muscular dystrophy, Sill moved back to Las Vegas to be near two of his children. His papers were donated to BYU in 2003. He became bedridden in 2004 and passed away at the age of 70 on March 15, 2008.
Questions & Comments:
Pamela Graham (Columbia University) alluded to the point that Spain is considered a model of transition from dictatorship to democracy and to the challenge of moving forward the process of recovery of historical memory. She asked Castaner about the effect that memory recovery movements in other countries may have on Spain. Castaner expressed hope that Spain will learn from the example of other countries, such as truth commissions in South Africa, to address this problem. “As long as we have people abandoned in mass graves […], each closure will be a false one.”
Panel 5, May 30, 2011, 4:00 pm- 5:30 pm
Moderator: Peter Stern, University of Massachusetts
Presenters: Molly Molloy, New Mexico State University (not present; PowerPoint presented by Peter Stern); Tomás Bocanegra Esqueda, Colegio de México; Suzanne Schadl and Claire-Lise Bénaud, University of New Mexico
Rapporteur: Sócrates Silva, HAPI
The first presentation was “The Shifting Realities of Mexico’s Drug War Death Toll: Will We Ever Know How Many People Have Died?” by Molly Molloy. Molloy was not present but the panel’s moderator, Peter Stern, presented her PowerPoint. The following is a summary of Molloy’s presentation, drafted with her consultation. Molloy argues that the Mexican government is not fighting a “War on Drugs” but rather a war for the control over the huge amounts of money to be made from the drug trade. The number of casualties related to this war and the statistics released by the government are not clear; journalistic and academic sources in Mexico and the United States provide widely varying numbers. Since December 2006 when the government of Felipe Calderón declared “war” on organized crime numbers range from 35,000 to as high as 50,000. Molloy’s presentation looks at and questions these numbers both to critique the actions of the Mexican government and to question the numbers reported by academic resources and the press.
In her presentation, Molloy hones in on data regarding Ciudad Juárez, the epicenter of the violence. When numbers of dead are reported in the media, sources are typically government bodies such as the Fiscalia General del Estado de Chihuahua. Mexican journalists who report on crimes are often at risk. Molloy mentions Armando Rodriguez, a crime reporter for El Diario who was murdered in November 2008. After his death the crime reporting in the paper became less detailed and solely dependent on official police reports. There is little information about where the numbers come from or how the government determines what “a drug-war-related homicide” is. Calderón and his government repeatedly claim that 90 percent of the dead are criminals in the drug trade, despite a claim by the government that 95 percent of deaths in the “drug war” are not investigated.
Molloy also looks at the scholarship and activism concerning the murders of women in Juárez as cases of femicide. The number of women victimized from 1993 to the present has averaged around 9 percent of all murder victims. There is little evidence of gender-related violence. More and more women are becoming involved in illegal activities as maquiladora jobs disappear due to both the economic collapse in the United States and local violence and insecurity. This of course , how to make, does not mean that their deaths do not matter but rather that all the people of Juárez (women, men, boys and girls) – their lives and their deaths, all of them matter. Molloy whose work was recognized in 2011 with the José Toribio Medina Award provides daily updates on the murder toll in Ciudad Juárez and other border news through her Frontera List.
The second presentation by Tomás Bocanegra Esqueda entitled “Literatura mexicana sobre los derechos humanos: ¿quienes son y dónde publican los especialistas mexicanos?” covered publishing sources on the theme of human rights. Bocanegra first outlined government sources specializing in this material. The Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CNDH) created by the Secretaría de Gobernación and after 1999 fully independent of the government, exists to receive human rights complaints, pursue investigations, attempt conflict resolution, and foster legislative changes across various levels of government. CNDH also offers relevant Masters and Doctoral programs through its Centro Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CENADEH). Through its existence CENADEH has generated promotional literature, annual reports, monographs and a monthly journal, Revista del Centro Nacional de Derechos Humanos. Bocanegra also reviewed literature production by state government bodies, though these tend to publish less due to lack of financial resources and staff.
In addition, non-governmental organizations such as the Academia Mexicana de Derechos Humanos, the Centro de Derechos Humanos “Fray Francisco de Vitoria,” and the Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez all publish materials and research related to human rights and many of these publications can be found online. There are also numerous research institutions within universities, some with a specific focus on such issues as indigenous rights, migration, or international human rights. Bocanegra also looked at houses within the trade publishing industry that have edited and published human rights materials. By outlining these various publishing sources, Bocanegra hopes for more effective dissemination of Mexican human rights materials.
The last presentation “ASARO: Claiming Space in Digital Objects and Social Networks” by Suzanne Schadl and Claire-Lise Bénaud looked at the work of the Asamblea de Artistas Revolucionarios de Oaxaca (ASARO), a collective of young artists that emerged as an appendage to protests originating from the 2006 National Teacher’s Union strike in Oaxaca. During the protracted uprising, state and commercial media were hostile to the protestors. In turn, street art flourished as artists clandestinely painted and printed their resistance on city walls. Schadl and Bénaud make the case that the work of ASARO is part of a Mexican tradition of graphic art collectives producing work in the service of social justice such as that of the Taller de Grafíca Popular and harking back to the legacy of printmaker José Guadalupe Posada. According to Schadl, this art tells a story that isn’t the official story. While ASARO’s art often portrays conditions in Oaxaca (such as the print Skull Helicopter which uses calavera representations of a family and a hovering calavera helicopter to depict a raid which would trigger a reminder of the uprising), the art also looks beyond local conditions, for example in art that deals with the violence in Ciudad Juárez.
One of the concerns Schadl and Bénaud bring up is that this ephemeral work, much of it being published through the ASARO blog, is not being documented properly. While ASARO may be center stage in 21st century Mexican graphic arts, academic library and archive projects aimed at archiving born digital artifacts of their work linger in the peripheries. A perusal of the blog reveals striking similarities with newspaper publications like La Patria Ilustrada and Gaceta Callejera, where Posada published, printed, and circulated his graphic production. Schadl and Bénaud argue that savvy digitally focused archival projects designed to save the work of Mexican graphic arts collectives must emerge in order to retain for posterity the creativity and voices of politically and socially active artists’ collectives in contemporary Mexico.
p>Panel 20, June 1, 2011, 11:00 am-12:30 pm
Moderator: Paula Covington, Vanderbilt University
Presenters: Barbara Tenenbaum, Library of Congress; Amy Puryear, Library of Congress; Donna Canevari de Paredes, University of Saskatchewan; Paul Losch, University of Florida
Rapporteur: Peter S. Bushnell, University of Florida
Barbara Tenenbaum‘s presentation “Putting the Mexican Revolution Online: The Library of Congress Experience” centered on a new website at the Library of Congress devoted to the Mexican Revolution. Not content with the official dates of 1910 to 1917, the site includes material from both before and after the Mexican Revolution. Some of the images to be seen include a picture of Agustín de Iturbide, title pages and covers of various books about the Revolution, broadsides, papers and pictures of President William Howard Taft and other U.S. diplomats, sheet music covers, and cartoons. Eventually the site will include film footage.
“The 1988 Plebiscite in Chile: A Personal Experience” was presented by Amy Puryear. She was living in Chile at the time of the plebiscite and was able to collect a wide variety of material. The day of the plebiscite was a Sunday and there were to be no gatherings of any sort (including no mass to be celebrated) that day. As a result, the day ended up being quite calm. The plebiscite itself was basically a referendum on Augusto Pinochet and the result was 45 % was in favor of Pinochet with 55 % opposed. When asked for her opinion, Puryear always kept her responses neutral. As far as collecting material, Puryear was able to gather documents of varying lengths (from single sheets to copyrighted material), buttons, and other ephemeral material from all sides and all types of sources.
Donna Canevari de Paredes presented “Eva Perón, Published Memory and Human Rights: The Bibliographer as Memory Keeper”. Eva Perón has been a topic for publications of all sorts (including fiction, poetry, drama) in Argentina and elsewhere for a long time. Along with Eudoxio Paredes-Ruiz, Canevari de Paredes has developed a database of approximately 2500 entries. The material included concerns itself chiefly with Eva Perón and human rights. Some of the more specific topics include race, social welfare, labor, education, social issues and women’s rights. In addition to scholarly works, popular works and everything in between is included. Finally everything is evaluated in terms of the mythology surrounding Eva Perón (positive, negative, in-between) and its research value as related to human rights.
Paul Losch in his presentation “The Mystery of the Fake Filibusterer: Using Digital Newspaper Archives to Reconstruct a Hoax from 1895″ was able to combine Philadelphia (our host city), Gainesville, (home of the University of Florida where he works) and Cuba (always of interest to SALALM). Frank Hann, a native of Philadelphia (who lived on Chancellor St. which was also the original street of our hotel) for a few months in 1895 manufactured his participation in the Cuban revolution. He filed news reports during for a 2-3 month period. Most of these were posted from Gainesville and were reported in the local paper. However, reports were also included in other newspapers, including the New York Times, but still with Gainesville mentioned as point of origin.
Questions & Comments:
David Dressing (University of Notre Dame) asked Losch whether other sources had been checked for later information about Hann. Losch said he had found a wealth of information from various websites and learned that Hann eventually married a woman from North Carolina. It also came out that Hann had wanted to impress people. The closest he came to military service was filling out a draft card at the time of World War I.
Bushnell noted that many of the genealogical websites are based in Utah; he asked if any were connected to the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Losch did not know.
Gayle Williams (Florida International University) remarked that when she worked at Emory, they had a subscription to ancestry.com which was loaded with information. Losch used ancestry.com at the local public library since the university did not subscribe.
Paula Covington remarked that a listing of the links to the newspaper websites could be put on a Libguide-type source and Losch said he would check into it. Canevari de Paredes added a microfilm list would also be useful.
Finally, Bushnell mentioned that back in 1990 he had earned good money by playing flute/piccolo/clarinet for a production of Evita.
TagsAdán Griego Alison Hicks Anne Barnhart archives art audiovisual cataloging Committee Report David Block digitization documentaries Ellen Jaramillo Executive Board Meeting Minutes Fernando Acosta-Rodríguez Fernando Genovart Finance Committee Report Human Rights Interlibrary Cooperation Committee Report John B. Wright John Wright Lisa Gardinier Lluis Claret Lynn Shirey Marisol Ramos Meiyolet Mendez Melissa Gasparotto Melissa Guy Mexico Paloma Celis Carbajal Paula Covington Peter Johnson rapporteur reports Richard Phillips Roberto C. Delgadillo SALALM56 SALALM57 SALALM 58 SALALM58 SALALM59 SALALM60 Sarah Buck Kachaluba Sarah Yoder Leroy Suzanne M. Schadl Teresa Chapa Wendy Pederson