Today is Dia de la Memoria -- Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice in English -- here in Argentina, the day commemorating the 1976 take over of the Argentine government by a vicious military dictatorship. This new government, the Proceso de Reorganión Nacional, was responsible for the Dirty War and the disappearance of thousands of Argentina People. I've read about this time in Argentina's history, but this week, I had the opportunity to hear first hand from a recent guest what it was like to be a teenager in Buenos Aires at the time.
I know Horacia Alvarez through Couchsurfing. He's originally from Buenos Aires but now lives in Cafayate. Hector, an avid bird watcher, brought binoculars and taught us about the birds we see flying around Sapoland every day. He is soft spoken, sweet, and I feel fortunate to have met him.
This morning, I asked him about Dia de la Memoria. He told us the following:
I was a teenager at the time. We would go out to discos and the military would come in stop the music and search us. Looking for drugs or weapons or I don't know what. Sometimes, friends of mine would leave a place and be stopped, lined up against a wall and questioned.
I remember it very well.
The dictatorship went out after the war with Britain over the Malvinas -- Falkland Islands.
At the time, the Argentine government lied to the people badly about what was happening with the war. They said the United States was on our side. They said we were winning the war. People were giving money to feed and clothe the troops, but the money never got to them. The soldiers didn't have clothing or food. So when the British army attacked, there was nothing they could do.
Britain had no right to those islands, They just went in and took it, but the only good thing about that war was that it ended the dictatorship. Not immediately, but a year later.
This is only a piece of what he had to say, and he offered to write something up for me to post here. I immediately accepted. He warned me it would be emotional.
Noah took Horacio to the bus station this morning, and already the house feels a bit empty, as it always does when a guest leaves.