119 Desaparecidos

Santiago, Chile * July 2005 * 35mm

In honor of International Day of the Disappeared on Saturday, August 30, I dug up negatives from my adventures in Chile. Invigorated and determined to stay in Santiago for as long as possible after my spring semester abroad in 2005, I landed a summer internship at a Chilean human rights organization, founded during the military dictatorship in 1980 (http://www.codepu.cl/).

CODEPU continues to fight against impunity, including spreading awareness of victims who were forcibly disappeared by the military government under Pinochet. These photographs were taken during the annual demonstration against "OperaciĆ³n Colombo"--the name of an operation to cover up the disappearance of 119 opponents to the military regime in 1974-1975, most of whom were students, blue-collar workers and artists.

In July 2005, thousands marched through the streets of Santiago toward La Moneda presidential palace, carrying life-sized figures of the 119 individuals, and demanding justice and truth about the circumstances of their vanishing. As a bright-eyed university student, I enthusiastically documented this emotional but inspiring event that symbolized the truly enduring effects of political persecution and impunity.  

To date, family members and loved ones of the 119 victims have no idea as to the fate of these desparecidos.