This wall, maintained by families and civil rights advocates, commemorates the "disappeared" in Argentina's "Dirty War" of the 1970s and 1980s.

Photograph by James P. Blair, National Geographic
  • On December 22, 1992, files documenting the fates of thousands of Latin American dissidents were discovered at a police station in Asuncion, Paraguay. The files reported details of “Operation Condor,” a clandestine program of political repression economically supported by the U.S. and implemented by right-wing governments of South America from the mid-1970s through the late 1980s.

    The so-called “Archives of Terror” document assassinations, kidnappings, torture, secret imprisonments, and surveillance programs aimed to eliminate political opposition. The files listed more than 50,000 deaths and 400,000 political prisoners throughout Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela.

    The Archives of Terror are part of UNESCO’s “Memory of the World” register. The register is dedicated to preserving and digitizing manuscripts and other documentary heritage.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    dissident Noun

    someone who disagrees with public opinion or authority.

    document Verb

    to keep track of.

    economic Adjective

    having to do with money.

    eliminate Verb

    to remove.

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    implement Verb

    to carry out plans.

    imprison Verb

    to confine or put in a jail-like facility.

    police Noun

    local, state, or national government organization for law enforcement.

    surveillance Noun

    observation of a person, community, or situation.

    torture Noun

    inflicting pain to force a victim to provide information.

    UNESCO Noun

    the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

    Encyclopedic Entry: UNESCO