Wednesday, December 12, 2007

News from Argentina

Plan Condor: Crimes without borders in Latin America

Former military dictator Jorge Rafael Videla and 16 other military leaders in Argentina will be prosecuted on charges of conspiring to kidnap and kill political activists in a scheme known as Plan Condor, developed by Henry Kissinger and George Bush Sr., head of the CIA at the time. Dictators in Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina killed opponents in the 1970s and 80s under the plan, also known as Operation Condor. The United States and Latin American military governments developed Operation Condor as a a transnational, state-sponsored terrorist coalition among the militaries of South America. In Argentina alone some 30,000 people were disappeared as result, leaving loved ones to seek justice decades later.

Fight against forced disappearances

The practice of forced disappearances was systematized in the Southern Cone by military governments in the 1970’s with U.S. financial support and trainings. It is estimated that 90,000 people in Latin America have been disappeared since the 1950’s. And the practice continues today in places like Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Argentina.

Buy a DVD and support Grupo Alavío!

Grupo Alavío would like to send a special holiday greeting and give a special fund raising appeal. Keep the group’s video production and website Ágora TV up and running by purchasing a DVD. We are completely viewer-funded and volunteer based: your contributions help us to produce ground breaking videos from the Third World. Ágora TV provides a radical space for cutting edge video activists all over Latin America.

Ágora TV is a community television production collective that currently broadcasts over the internet. The project reaches a global audience of grassroots activists and citizens tired of status quo media. We work on issues including Argentina’s recovered factory movement, labor conflicts,social movements, indigenous struggles, and gender equality. The Buenos Aires-based video collective Grupo Alavío built the website ( in 2006 as an organizing tool and alternative media space for groups that would not otherwise have access to the airwaves.

For more than 15 years, Grupo Alavío has participated in working-class struggles and dedicated efforts to supporting them with social and political documentaries. Making technologies and skills accessible and available to exploited sectors by democratizing audiovisual production is a priority of Grupo Alavío. Through Ágora TV, Grupo Alavío is radically changing how media is created, managed, and distributed.

All films have English subtitles and are in U.S. DVD format. Shipped from the US.

Cost: $15 plus shipping for individuals, $30 plus shipping for universities

Contact: Marie Trigona

FILMS available for purchase:

1. Chilavert Recovered, 38 minutes, 2004 Newly released withENGLISH SUBTITLES

Chilavert is a leading member of the 'recovered factories' movement which developed during the collapse in 2001 when many factories in Argentina were taken over by the workers. As the owner of a printing plant began to shut it down and turn it over to his creditors, the workers seized control and formed the Chilavert Cooperative. The documentary gives a realistic overview of the recuperation movement and workers’ self-management.

2. Obreras en lucha (The struggle of Brukman workers).Spanish with ENGLISH SUBTITLES

This documentary tells the story of the' recuperation' of Brukman textile factory in Buenos Aires by its workers, after its owners decided to close it down in December 2001. Workers (most of them women) decided to occupy the plant on December 18, 2001to protest their reducing and delayed salaries. Only two days after, the economic and political crisis exploded in Argentina.This documentary contains impressive images of the expulsion of the workers from the factory by the police in 2003, the massive popular protests which followed and the brutal repression with which Duhalde's government replied. it contains as well interviews with workers and images from the assemblies at the factory.

3. Hotel BAUEN: Workers’ Cooperative

20min, 2004 Spanish with ENGLISH SUBTITLES

The Hotel BAUEN was an emblematic symbol of neoliberalism in Argentina.The hotel was constructed in 1978, in the glory of the military dictatorship, with government loans and subsidies. In the height of Argentina’s economic meltdown, the owners ransacked the hotel and closed the hotel’s doors,leaving the workers in the streets. In March 21, 2003the workers decided to occupy the hotel. The workers cleaned up the hotel and slowly began to rent out services. With over 150workersemployed at the hotel, BAUEN hotel has become a symbol for the working class.

4. Zanon (Constructing resistance)

18min, 2003, Spanish with ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Argentina’sPatagonian province of Neuquén,is home of the Zanon ceramics factory.In 2001 Zanon’s owner fired the workers and abandoned the factory forgreener pastures. After resisting outside the plant, the group ofworkers decide collectively to recuperate and put the plant to produce.Since 2001, the workers at Zanon have occupied and managed the plant,which is Latin America’s largest ceramics factory. In the film, Zanonceramists narrate their day-to-day work, struggles and hopes tocontinue production under worker control.

5. La Foresta belongs to the workers

52min, 2005 Spanish with ENGLISH SUBTITLES

The film tells the story of a group of workers who are fighting to recuperate La Foresta meatpacking plant in La Matanza, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires city. Most of the factory’s employees have worked their for decades, through the good times and bad times. In 1999, the plant went bust, a series of businessmen rented the facilities, making quick profits and then abandoning the factory for greener pastures. Grupo Alavío’s film follows the 70 workers who’ve put up a legal fight to keep their factory and start up production without a boss or owner,under worker-self management.

6. Music in Solidarity with Zanon,

90min, 2005 Spanish with ENGLISH SUBTITLES

This film was produced as part of a video work shop for the workers. Musicin solidarity with Zanon: musicians León Gieco, Rally Barrionuevo, Ciro(Ataque 77) and other artists performed a concert in December, 2004. The workers organized the super event, with more than 10,000 supporters from the community of Neuquén.

7. Argentina:30 years after the military dictatorship (compilation of short films)

Letter to the Military Junta, 6min, 1996

Rodolfo Walsh wrote the “Open Letter to the Military Junta”on the first anniversary of the military coup in 1977 reporting the tortures,mass killings, and thousands of disappearances. The political writer was disappeared just one day after the letter was distributed. This 6minute video essay reconstructs Walsh’s powerful report, imagery from the bloody dictatorship and the writer’s disappearance.

Escrache a Videla, 12min, 2006

Events to mark the 30 years since Argentina's military junta kicked off with an escrache or “exposure” protest against the coup's first dictator,Jorge Rafael Videla. Over 10,000 people participated in the protest in front of Videla's home, where he is under house arrest in connection with numerous charges of human rights abuse. Human rights group H.I.J.O.S. brought a crane and gave the ending remarks directly in front of Videla's fifth floor apartment.

Memories of Struggle and Resistance: Rio Santiago Ship Yard, 10min, 2006

The dictatorship attempted wiped out an entire generation of working-class resistance, which the nation decades later is still recovering.This year for the first time, over 1,500 workers from the Rio Santiago ShipYard in Buenos Aires commemorated the ship yard's 48 disappeared.

8. Compañeras

45min, 2005, Spanish with ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Compañeras brings together four working women who give testimony of their lives and daily struggles. MAGDALENA,works on a small farm in the province of San Juan. KARINA is a train conductor. REGINA lives n VillaFiorito, she collects cardboard from the streets, classifies and then sells it. NINA is a militant from the 70’s, during which she exiled from Argentina to Nicaragua and participated in the Sandanista revolution. Stories that mix with other history, women who revindicate their identity as workers, but without easing to be mothers, without giving up the struggle, continuing to be compañeras.

9. The Face of Dignity, Memories of MTD Solano

58 minutes, 2002, Spanish with ENGLISH SUBTITLES

In the shambles of an economically ruined Argentina,a new practice of protest emerged, blockading roads. Since 1997, what is now known as the unemployed workers movement has taken root. Without access to the factory and utility of tools for liberation—strike,sabotage, and occupying the factory, unemployed workers sought out new practices for struggle. Unemployed confronted globalization by fighting for jobs. One of the most important experiences that emerged in these years was Unemployed Workers Movement-MTD (Movimiento de Trabajadores Desocupados) in Solano (inside Quilmes, a city in the province of Buenos Aires). MTD's formation was based on the principles of horizontalism, direct democracy, autonomy from the state and power, and the integral political formation among members. Work, popular education, democratic debate of ideas, sharing life in the struggle for work, dignity and social change are some of this memory's content.

10. For a 6 hour workday

20min, 2004, Spanish with ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Reducing the workday to six hours with a salary increase for all workers would create jobs for more than 3 million unemployed and lift many out o poverty. Subway workers who have been organizing wildcat strikes for salary increases have spearheaded Argentina's movement for a six-hour workday. In 2003, subway workers (in all sectors from ticket office to train drivers) won a six-hour workday.Since this victory,subway workers, other labor conflicts, economists and unemployed workers organizations have formed a movement for a6-hour workday for all workers, with increased salaries.

11. Organizing Resistance (Chronicles of Freedom, Martin,Recuperating Our Work) Spanish with ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Chronicles of Freedom (organizing resistance) , 45min, 2002

June26, 2002two activists Darío Santillán-22 and Maximiliano Kosteki-25from Argentina’s unemployed workers’ movement were killed during a road blockade of Pueyrredón Bridge in police repression. The repression was part of a known and announced government plan to control growing social protest. 33 were wounded from lead bullets, 160detained and hundreds injured from rubber bullets. Unquestionably,the deaths and repression have left an unforgettable mark on the movement—generating internal debates and self-criticisms. Chronicles of Freedom includes interviews on the right to identity, self-defense and organizing to confront state repression.

Martín, 2002, 7 minutes

Synopsis: Martín, 27 years old, Argentine, brother, compañero from the barrio Floridai n Solano was killed during a fight with a neighbor. The experimental narration explores inner-violence and questions the absurdity of the system’s violence that is imposed on us.

Recuperando nuestro trabajo, 2003, 18min

Argentina's worker occupied factory movement has been an example of resistance for workers all over the world. In response to the process of deindustrialization and flexible labor markets, thousands of workers have said enough to exploitation of the working class by bosses and owners.

Marie Trigona


troutsky said...

Thanks for the great resource and thank you Marie for the work that you do. We gathered to watch The Take by Naomi Klien and her husband Avi.We want to use fims suchas these for an organizing tool here and to keep us inspired about the possibilities.

JDHURF said...

Plan Condor is pretty shocking when you read into the details, but, in conjunction with the rest of Latin American history, unfortunately, far from unusual or rare. The events taking place in Argentina are inspiring and offer hope. Kirchner, the first elected female president, is yet one more in a long line of left politicians being elected into office in Latin America, may the "Pink Tide" continue to rise.

Larry Gambone said...

Thanks also for the resources, I did not know about them either...

Anonymous said...

Operation Condor. LOL!

Then I guess we can blame Ike for giving Iran & the DPRK nukes under "Atoms for Peace".


Marie Trigona said...

Plan Condor is not surprising given the history of U.S. and colonial intervention in Latin America. However, the extent of it is very similar to what we are seeing in the Middle East today.

About seeing Cristina Kirchner as Rosy, she may wear a pink suit, but she follows the big green $$$$. Foreign investment while workers suffer the consequence of "social pacts" between corrupt, bureaucratic unions and the government. Winners: the government and U.S. investors, the Losers: middle and working class. I will be writing more on this later.

Thanks for the comments, it's good to know the research is getting out there.

Frank Partisan said...

Farmer John: Nothing to do with conspiracies. Condor was politics as usual for Kissinger.

Anonymous said...

Kissinger had nothing to do with Condor. American involvement amounted to "knowledge of". Big whoop. As usual, you Lefties credit America with the "grand conspiracy" and being the Great Satan. As usual, you are full of sh*t.

Anonymous said... a scheme known as Plan Condor, developed by Henry Kissinger and George Bush Sr., head of the CIA at the time.

What you really mean is that when Kissinger finally got briefed on Condor, he told the SA dictators to "cool it".

Wiki Condor

If you all were interested in truth, you'd correct you statement instead of constantly inciting the world against "evil" America.

Marie Trigona said...

Henry Kissinger had full knowledge of the human rights abuses occurring in Argentina during before and during the 1976-1983. He asked the military junta how long they estimated the "war against dissidents" would take, they estimated a year. Kissinger said to get the job done fast. This war, known as the "dirty war" was not a war. The military rounded up thousands of people doing anything considered subversive at the time, students, teachers, workers, priests, nuns, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons were rounded up and massacred. 30,000 disappeared.

FBI special agent intelligence liason to the Southern Cone countries Robert Scherrer (now deceased)in an interview about Plan Condor admitted U.S. participation in the plan. He also was regretful of the human rights abuses. He had hoped the plan would be used simply to round up and detain dissidents, not to massacre them. His remorse isn't appreciated though. The U.S. agents operating had full knowledge of torture techniques and murders. The U.S. taught torture techniques in the School of the Americas and other special operations in the Southern Region.

Foxessa said...

Surely George I will insist he had nothing to do with it.

Testimonies should be very interesting though.

Love, C.

Larry Gambone said...

The Wikipedia article on Condor basically backs up what Ren and Maria have said about US involvement. But that won't stop our resident reactionaries from whitewashing that bit of Yanqui fascism.

Anonymous said...

The Wikipedia article on Condor mentions the word "America". That's the complete extent that it backs up ANYTHING Ren and Maria have said.

Anonymous said...

Kissinger held the position of Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs from 1969 until 1975 and was Secretary of State from 1973 to 1977.

Jimmy Carter took office as President in mid-January of '77, so whatever happened AFTER that date doesn't involve Kissinger at all... you'll have to drag in some poor unsuspecting Democrat (Brezinski) to take the rap for that.

And as for Kissinger running CIA and National Security Ops after '75, that is more than a stretch. It would be like trying to give Condi credit for the surge in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

btw - I visited both Buenos Aires and Valparaiso in '76 at the height of the so-called "Dirty War". Argentina was literally a police state at the time... I almost had my personal "Instamatic" camera confiscated by a sub-machine gun wielding guard/fanatic after taking a picture of the Presidential Palace.

If there was a right-wing crackdown at the time, I'm sure it was because all you Comintern d*ck-heads were making your "usual" trouble for every "other/ constructive" form of government that happens to be keeping you out of power.

I'm surprised you're not posting on the fact that Hugo Chavez has invested in and owns most of Argentina's "debt" instead of helping his own constituents. Also, I don't see you posting anything on the $800K in illegal "campaign contributions" Chavez got caught sneaking into the country to finance the current government's last election.

Almost sounds like MORE Condor-type ops are warranted. Bush Jr. must be falling down on the job, or are you already planning to blame him for whatever political disappearances are identified in Argentina over the NEXT 20 years?

Tom Cleland said...

Laura will live in South America, George will hunker down in Crawford.

Frank Partisan said...

Farmer: If Chavez wanted to funnel $$ to Argentina, for Kirchner's campaign, why would he do it in such an incompetent way? Why won't the US extradite Antonini Wilson, to Argentina to face trial? The $$ is still there.

Chavez giving loans as to Argentina, helps Venezuela. It is a source of $$, independent of oil revenue.

The pretense the junta used was the guerillas in Argentina. The actual victims were people as Jacobo Timmerman.

I think you are mistaking Colombia for Argentina, when you talk about disappeared.

I don't cover every up and down of Chavez. I suupport Chavez, but endorse the revolutionary process.

Phil said...

Things would certainly get interesting if Argentina petitioned to have Kissinger extradited to face his crimes ...

Frank Partisan said...

A local Argentine tango teacher from Minneapolis, sent out an email after elections in Argentina, saying that the poorest are handed out about $15.00 US, by the ruling party for their vote.

You see that at tribal elections, in reservations in the US.

I'm sure Marie can tell more.

Nadia A. said...

Thanks for all the great resources, I wasn't aware of Argentina starting a a 6-hour workweek with subway workers. I've been quite interested in Venezuela's issue with it.

steven rix said...

Argentina: US allegations garbage
Aides to President Cristina Fernandez said Washington had used a 'vile trick' to smear her government for its close ties to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who is campaigning to reduce US influence in Latin America.

Fernandez, one of two female heads of state in Latin America, called the charges by US prosecutors 'garbage in international politics' and said that they might have been directed at her in part because of her gender.

"This president may be a woman, but she's not going to allow herself to be pressured,'' Fernandez said, glaring at the cameras.

Instead she signaled she intended to draw even closer to Chavez, vowing to 'continue affirming our relation of friendship with all Latin American countries and also with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.'§ionid=351020706

Nothing really strange as a matter of fact with Argentina, they are with Iran and VZ to create an axi against US hegemony in Latin and South America. There is even an axi Argentina-Syria.

Anonymous said...

Chavez giving loans as to Argentina, helps Venezuela. It is a source of $$, independent of oil revenue.

LOL! Argentina just DEFAULTED on $100B worth of debt. Venezuela's recent bond purchase amounts to a sub-sub-sub-sub-subprime loan... from a loan shark.

Anonymous said...

I think you are mistaking Colombia for Argentina, when you talk about disappeared.

Really? Are your FARC buddies planning on taking even more hostages in Columbia?

What about FARC'S and the Tupamaro's crimes... or do THEY count against Condor and America, too?

steven rix said...

Really? Are your FARC buddies planning on taking even more hostages in Columbia?
There has been some disappearances in Colombia on both sides, and it is common knowledge to know that the right is financed by the CIA over there, but you won't find that in the news.
The french under De Villepin tried to deliver an airplane full of weapons to the FARCS a few years ago in exchange of the safe return of Ingrid Betancourt but their plan failed. It happens that Betancourt has both nationalities (French and Colombia). In Colombia people smuggled in weapons (Europe) and they still deliver cocaine to the US (the CIA).

steven rix said...

A few days ago they found in the Yucatan an airplane from the CIA full of "blow" that came back from Colombia. It did not make it on the news either. Usually the cocaine platform with the CIA agents is in El Paso TX, and when they deliver over it's around 3 tons of coke.

Frank Partisan said...

Farmer: Really? Are your FARC buddies planning on taking even more hostages in Columbia?

I don't support FARC. It is apparently Maoist, with a guerilla strategy based in rural strongholds. I find their program lacking on their website.

Larry Gambone said...

What I have read on the FARC's web site it seems they are promoting a populist line. This would make sense coming as they do from a rural background, but I do not get any picture as to how the Columbian Revolution as a whole would unfold in their estimation. I also wonder to what extent the crimes that they are accused of in the boss class press are not false flag operations. We have a Columbian family in my town who got here as refugees, claiming they were kidnapped and threatened with death by the FARC. They are not members of the oligarchy, or narcotrafficantes, but ordinary people. It makes absolutely zero sense for a guerrilla movement to atack ordinary people unless they are nut-jobs like the Sendero Luminoso, which the FARC plainly are not. I have also heard that some break-away groups from FARC have turned criminal and have probably appropriated the name, another possibility.

Frank Partisan said...

According The activities of the FARC are isolated and disconnected from the workers in the cities and the countryside and at times involve the erroneous methods of the armed struggle of individuals with counterproductive results for the guerrillas themselves and for popular movements, and these actions are used by the Uribe government and reactionary forces to divide the working class and peasants and to justify the government’s policy of state terrorism against working class and popular fighters.

The FARC could play a useful role if it were to act as an adjunct to the struggle in the cities, putting itself at the disposal of workers in struggle and peasant communities, helping them to form Workers’ and Peasants’ Self Defence Committees in the cities and the countryside in order to stand up to the hired assassins of the bosses and the landlords, committees that would be under the leadership of the working class and its organisations.

I read they are expanding into Peru, picking up remnants of Shining Path.

Larry Gambone said...

From what I have read so far I don't think this critique is too off base. I have wondered why the FARC lets people in the cities be victimized by the death squads and narcotrafficante government. Which means they have little or no infrastructure in the cities.

steven rix said...

I read they are expanding into Peru, picking up remnants of Shining Path And in Chile.

jams o donnell said...

A bit late to this thread but once again I would like anyone who considers the junta's actions weree correct to justify the kidnapping and murder of Dagmar Hagelin. Again "you can't make omelettes without breaking eggs" will not be acceptable

Anonymous said...

Now perhaps you'll admit that operations like Condor just don't drop out of the sky... and that the CIA gains nothing by either organizing OR supporting them. It's only the locals who benefit.

The Left is just as responsible for the "reactions" of the right as the right is imitating Leftist guerillas by moving their "wars" into the realm of the covert.

(((Thought Criminal))) said...

Isn't Peronism in Argentina leftist enough? It promised great reforms for the "working class," just like all leftist movements do. Once it took power, it purged dissent from its ranks, just like all leftist movements have (though this time with machine guns instead of guillotines). Then it took the national economy and put it in the crapper and made it illegal to be non-dependent on government controlled rations, just like all leftist governments have on their way to the leftist goal of totalitarianism.

Peron was a disciple of one of the most progressive leftist men in the 20th Century, Benito Mussolini.

Anonymous said...


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