After spending three and a half months on the ground over the last year, thanks to the amazing support of my backers of Shadow of the Condor phases one and two, I have immersed myself much more deeply in the story of Operation Condor.
This work on an important era of human rights abuses in Latin America is finally coming together and will provide an extensive visual record and testimony on Operation Condor, a secret military plan to eliminate the political opposition from six Latin American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay) ruled by right wing military dictatorships. The plan born in 1975 and carried out over 3 years resulted in “extrajudicial executions” of at least 60.000 people, largely young leftist students, workers and unionists.
In the final phase of “Shadow of the Condor” I will finish this body of work in Bolivia and Paraguay, where I plan to spend about eight weeks of research and photographing. In Paraguay I will investigate the history of the Paraguayan local communist party and its role to try to bring down the longest dictatorship in South America. I will also visit the so called “Terror archives” where the first documents that proved the existence of Operation Condor were found by Martín Almada, a Paraguayan human rights lawyer. I will also return to Bolivia to document the struggle lived by the indigenous people controlled exclusively by small a white minority during their military dictatorship, and also to document how that period of time had a huge impact on Bolivian society today.
As I did in the first two phases of this project, that were funded by members of Emphas.is, I will be in touch with the backers with updates from the ground on a weekly basis, which has allowed me to engage with my audience and which has helped me to think in a deeper way about what I was doing.
The aim of this project is to show the scars and enormous impact left on the survivors and families of those who were killed. From the Amazon jungle in Brazil to the cold lands of Patagonia, thousands of victims still lay buried in unmarked graves, and the survivors struggle to cope with their memories. I have witnessed the survivors who are dealing with acute depression, paranoia and other psychiatric problems due to the immense pain inflicted by Operation Condor.
Since the beginning of this investigation back in 2005, I have begun interviews with victims and families of those who disappeared, and have also visited sites of imprisonment, executions, and burials. I believe that by making these images I can help build a collective memory about the people behind this secretive operation who have never been held accountable.
No complete documentary project of this scope in all six countries has ever been completed, and none relying on photographs has been attempted. With your support I hope to build this visual archive and help generations of South Americans to know and better understand the story of their countries.
Amnesty International wholeheartedly supports this project. Amnesty can not support the project financially. None of the donations given to "Shadow of the Condor" will go to Amnesty, but are used to execute the project.
mare magazine from Germany is a media partner of "Shadow of the Condor":