MONTEVIDEO – Relatives of people who disappeared during Uruguay’s 1973-1985 military dictatorship will stage a festival this week featuring carnival groups to keep alive the memory of victims and infuse new energy into their own efforts, festival organizers told EFE.
This is an opportunity “to have a ‘murga’ festival, to get together and enjoy the bands and life, and to give our group new oxygen to keep marching on,” Javier Tassino, a member of the Mothers and Relatives of Detainees/Disappeared, said.
The show will bring together five bands, known as “murgas,” and a group of comedians – both typical expressions of Uruguay’s carnival – on Thursday to keep alive the memory of the almost 200 people whose whereabouts is still unknown, and to fund the search for information the group launched in mid-2015.
Last year, the group called on Uruguayans who might have information about the disappeared to provide it, even if it was anonymously during confession at church or by any other means.
The campaign, still open, received more than 500 tips leading to “about 10” detailed reports which, if confirmed, could shed light on what happened to Uruguayans detained or kidnapped in joint operations by the region’s dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1970s, South American military regimes coordinated the cross-border detention, torture and summary execution of suspected leftists under “Operation Condor.”
The operation consisted of intelligence sharing between the dictatorships of the Southern Cone for the purpose of hunting down and exterminating leftists in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Human rights groups estimate that “Operation Condor” resulted in the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of people in Latin America.