How Can We Respond?

Victor Basterra was a political prisoner in ESMA who was forced to take photographs of other political prisoners to falsify identification documents for the Navy. Whenever Basterra had the chance to go home, he would hide copies of photographs of the Disappeared and Navy personnel in his underwear. Basterra took a life-threatening risk a multitude of times to resist the junta, hold the Navy personnel accountable and identify the disappeared at ESMA. Basterra had the strength to respond with action for the horrible human rights crimes that were occurring in Argentina. 

Basterra acted in the way that the psychiatric nursing community is demanding psychiatric nursing should do, which is bring awareness to the human rights violations people are experiencing. What Basterra did during the State Terror when he published a book of photographs of the Disappeared at ESMA and is continuing to do with speaking out against the injustices of the State Terror is inspiring. Basterra’s resistance, resilience, and courage to bring awareness of systematic repression is how we should all respond to injustices if we have to ability and privilege to. 


Psychological Consequences of Human Rights Abuses: How Can Psychiatric Nurses Respond? [Abstract]. (2008). Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 22(5), 312. doi:10.1016/j.apnu.2008.06.002

Principle E

A photo of the amount of space each prisoner in ESMA had.

While reading Rodney L. Lowman’s piece on Psychologists’ Principle E: Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity, I couldn’t help but think why this code of ethics isn’t a norm in society. Principle E essentially states that psychologist need to respect and see the worth of all people despite their gender identity, ethnicity, race, nationality, socioeconomic status, and ability. Principle E touches on the importance of empathy and compassion when working with people and also with just being a human being. The ability to put yourself in someone else shoes is important when you’re a person interacting with other people. 

Neo-liberalism, one of the driving forces of the State Terror, has no empathy because it based on the exploitation of people and their labor. Compassion and empathy for people should be in everything, however; it cannot be when junta occurs, and the goal is to destroy every person who disagrees with neo-liberalism. The Disappeared experienced immense dehumanization from the moment they were identified as a threat, to the clandestine camps, and how they were treated within those camps.

In the fight against neo-liberalism and remembering victims of neo-liberalism love and empathy is essential. With the resistance art and remembrance of the Disappeared in Argentina, it seems to me that Argentinan activist have already been aware of principle E.  

Lowman, Rodney L.(2005)’Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity’,Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment &
Trauma,11:1,71 — 77. DOI: 10.1300/J146v11n01_06


Throughout the trip, Fernando would quiz us on things within the area we were in that indicates an aspect of the State Terror, Peronism, or interesting little facts. For many of us hearing Fernando say “quiz!” meant it was time to start quickly searching so, that you could be the first one to solve the mini-mystery. It truly became one of my favorite things, out of many, from this study aboard trip.

In Buenos Aires, Fernando began quizzing us on the remembrance plaques across the city that indicate if one or more people disappeared there. Finding the different plaques gave me a somber feeling yet also a feeling of hopefulness that people remember the Disappeared, their names, and stories in a multitude of ways. Realizing that these plaques across the city express the proximity to which governmental kidnappings occurred on busy intersections, within residential areas, and in front of schools. The plaques on the streets represent the proximity of the State Terror to everyday life in the 70s and early 80, how easy it could be to turn a blind eye to injustice occurring because one doesn’t have time to stop and look or that they’re terrified to act on what they saw. And that fear is due to the disgustingly dehumanizing combination of kidnappings and clandestine detention camps being in busy areas to instill fear for people who would rebel against the junta, however; also make the Disappeared feel invisible to society. 



Córdoba’s Resilience

Córdoba was one of the provinces in Argentina that was terrorized by the military junta the hardest during the State Terror. I wondered why Córdoba and in James Brennan’s “Argentina’s Missing Bones” I was able to get my answer. Brennan discourses how the combination of Córdoba’s large student population and auto industry workers along with their ability to mobilize and organize made Córdoba a specialized target for the junta. 

Though the State Terror, has left an irrecoverable mark on Argentina and in Córdoba, the people of Córdoba have continued the spirits of the disappeared in their remembrance and political resistance. Family members, organizations, and activist who work at D2 and La Perla were able to turn junta detention centers into places of life and memorials while educating people on the history and terror of the State Terrorism. D2 and La Perla are filled with touches of the disappeared across its walls from photographs, old memorabilia, notes from their family members, biographies, what books they read, and what art they consumed. At La Perla, specifically, there is an emphasis on art to remember the disappeared, the injustices they experienced within the clandestine camps, and an awareness of what working class are experiencing today in Argentina.

Apart of “El Puertos” exhibit in La Perla’s garage

From graffiti that highlight the oppression people experience to organizations like La Marea Derecho and the continuation of the Juventud Universitaria Peronista the political spirit that the junta repressed is alive. 

Walking down the street and seeing Córdoba’s resilience was inspiring and has left an impact on me to be more active in resisting systematic oppression. 


Brennan, J. P. (2018). Argentina’s Missing Bones: Revisting the History of the Dirty War. Oakland, CA: University of Cailfornia Press.

¿Dónde está Santiago Maldonado?

On our first day of lecture, we learned about Santiago Maldonado. Santiago Maldonado, a 28-year-old craftsman, fought along with the Mapuche Ancestral Resistance group for the rightful ancestral ownership of Cushamen from the Italian clothing company Benetton. Santiago became disappeared–abducted with authorization by the State and the refusal of acknowledgment by the State of the human rights violations and location of the disappeared person–on August 1st, 2017. On October 20th, 2017, Santiago was found by the Argentine National Gendarmerie, which is controlled by President Mauricio Macri, in the Chubut River–the same river he disappeared at. Since August 1st, 2017 the activist of Argentina have fought for the reappearance of Santiago, information of what happened to him, and the acknowledgment of the state terrorism that occurred to him. 

After learning about Santiago and the fight of the Mapuche people, I began to see Santiago’s face and “¿Dónde está Santiago Maldonado?” everywhere. I saw graffiti and posters of Santiago on buildings, posters and a form of remembrance of him at of the Clandestine camps we visited– D2, La Perla, ESMA, Virrey Ceballos, and Club Atlético–, at the museum within the Parque de Memoria, and the March of Madres de Plazo de Mayo. Santiago’s remembrance at the remembrance, educational, and crime sites of the terror of the Disappeared speaks volumes of how his story is connected to the State Terror of 1974 to 1983.    

A collage of Santiago Maldano resistance art across the cities of Cordoba and Buenos Aires on the street, in museums, and at former Clandestine detention camps.

 Santiago’s fight for Indigenous land against current proponents of neo-liberalism is parallel to the State Terrorism of 1974 to 1983 and a part of the governmental struggle to keep neo-liberalism afloat in Argentina. Santiago fought against the State and got silenced and murdered by the State for it. The resistance of the activist within Argentina against the evil that occurred to Santiago is evidence that they are resilient and will not be silenced. 


Goñi, U. (2017, August 08). Argentina activist missing after indigenous people evicted from Benetton land. Retrieved from

J. (n.d.). SantiagoMaldonado-English. Retrieved from