Victims in Uruguay Tell Their Stories on Twitter Ahead of March of Silence
Tonight, in Uruguay, relatives of the disappeared will take part in the annual March of Silence, as many of them have every 20th of May since 1996 when it was first organized. The march brings together victims and their families, activists, and ordinary Uruguayans and aims to shine light on a dark and often ignored chapter of the 1972–1985 dictatorship, which was responsible for the disappearance of nearly 200 people.
In an effort to galvanize public support ahead of the 24th march, this year the victims’ organization Mothers and Families of Disappeared Detainees launched an innovative campaign on social media revealing the human tragedy of forcible disappearance and the deafening silence that often follows. Last Monday, members of the organization began creating Twitter accounts for individuals who were disappeared in which the victims themselves recount their personal stories and whatever information is known about the circumstances of their disappearance. The hope is that these accounts with help bring an end to the silence by preserving the victims’ memories and giving a human face to calls for truth and justice.
A total of six accounts were activated: Marta Severo Barreto, Maria del Rosario Carretero, Otermin Montes de Oca, Luis Eduardo González, Pablo Errandonea, and Eduardo Perez Silveira. The accounts include their photographs, with captions written in the first person.
In a black-and-white photo depicting a group of elementary school children, no older than 10 years, wearing uniforms, Maria Carretero writes, “With my classmates, posing for the picture with the numbers that the teacher gave us. I got number 11…”
An image shared on Luiz Eduardo González’s account shows him and his new wife cutting cake together on their wedding day. The caption reads, “We got married on November 28, 1974. We celebrated with friends and family in my in-laws’ home. Our son was already on his way. Everything was ahead of us in the future. #We keep looking for #truth and justice.”
During the dictatorship, Uruguayans were also disappeared in Argentina, in Operation Condor. As Pablo Errandonea explains on his Twitter account, “On September 26, 1976, they kidnapped me in Haedo, Buenos Aires. I was with Raúl Tejera Llovet. It was an operation executed by Uruguayan and Argentine repressors. They took us to the Orletti clandestine detention and torture center.”
Organizers of the March of Silence anticipate a large turnout. The Mothers and Families of Disappeared Detainees, with its more than 7,000 Twitter followers, has in no small way raised the profile of this year’s event, whose social campaign has attracted considerable media attention both inside Uruguay and around the world.
The march begins tonight at 6 p.m. EST in Montevideo and 27 other locations around Uruguay.