The Expiry Law: Obstacles for the political transmission of memory in Montevideo

Hayman_Uruguay_06.09, originally uploaded by CLACS – NYU.

Hello all! I’ve been in Montevideo, Uruguay since May 9th, not including a week in Argentina attending activities with local scholars and fellow grad students at NYU’s Buenos Aires campus. My first week in Montevideo was spent conducting preliminary fieldwork and setting up interviews with members of a long list of organizations to discuss the political and social dimensions of the Ley de Caducidad (Expiry Law), a controversial 1986 law that extends legal immunity to the Uruguayan armed forces for crimes committed during the country’s 1973-85 civic-military dictatorship. Thanks to wonderful help from activist Andrea Caraballo and journalist/professor Lawrence Weschler in New York, I have been able to contact members of a number of groups that form the Coordinadora Nacional por la Anulación de la Ley de Caducidad, the umbrella coalition that is campaigning to annul the law via national referendum on October 25th.
So far, I have interviewed the secretary of Amnesty International Uruguay and will speak to the last AI president about the organization’s role in the political mobilization to collect signatures. I also plan to speak to the PIT-CNT, the national labor union that helped initiate the campaign for signatures, the Latin America Coordinator at SERPAJ (Servicio Paz y Justicia Uruguay), active in a prior unsuccessful 1989 campaign to repeal the Ley de Caducidad, academic experts like Marcelo Viñar, Alvaro Rico, Hugo Achugar, and journalists Natalia Castelgrande, Alberto Silva, Roger Rodriguez, and Eduardo Galeano. Interviews with smaller and lesser-known activist groups that are active in the current campaign have yielded very interesting conversations about the nature of political change in Uruguay and national identity. Two groups, Conbronca, a collective of digital artists and filmmakers, and Contraimpunidad, a small organization of activists interested in human rights in Mexico, are made up primarily of young Uruguayans who have no personal memory of the dictatorship themselves, but are actively trying to preserve and transmit the memory of state repression to their own generation. On May 20, I participated in the annual Marcha de Silencio, held every year in homage to Uruguay’s disappeared. There I had the chance to interview younger members of the PVP (Partido por la Victoria del Pueblo), one of the political parties most harshly repressed during the dictatorship, as well as two former political prisoners who I hope to speak to more in depth. In the next two weeks, I hope to visit important memory sites in Montevideo, develop a specific questionnaire to be completed by my interview subjects, and make contact with politicians and military figures on the other side of the debate. I’ve also created an experimental research blog for my project – it’s informal and I’m still figuring out how it should function (travel journal/news/analytical/hybrid?), but it would be great to have feedback from other students as my research progresses and inevitable challenges present themselves: Thanks!

Mari Hayman
MA Candidate, CLACS

One thought on “The Expiry Law: Obstacles for the political transmission of memory in Montevideo

  1. Dear Elder Tommy, so happy to get all the updates. I did watch cceefrnnoe and was so excited to hear from the brother from uraguay. I have no idea what the rules are for what families should tell their missionaries. So I will rely on the spirit and my heart to help me.First, Tyler is out of the hospital and I talked to him on the phone. I am hopeful. Next, I was released from my nursery calling a few weeks ago, but have been going in anyway. However, i was called and set apart for that calling and now feel i need to step away and let the Lord lead me to what i can do next. David is still oppositional about anything family and church. But did you know that in the Celestial Room at the Temple the Lord made it known to me DO Not give up. I will provide a way I am listening to the Lord and following his directions on this very bumpy road of mine. Although i stray here and there, when I get too close to the cliff, he either lets me slip just to scare the crap out of me and get my attention, or reaches down and pulls me away .It is nice and cool now. Probably will cool off even more to where the trunk or treaters will have to dress warm. It is always warm in the bishops storehouse. I volunteer at least one day per week but when i get hot its off to the giant refrigerator for me!pray for me, pray for david and my prayer is that somehow your mission will benefit me for my own selfish reasons to influence david in some positive way. i know as your aunt i will be blessed if i support you and encourage you. please let me know specifically how i can do this. unfortunately, there is no money at this household. paying my tithing ensures that all the bills get paid but there is absolutely nothing left over. Please manage your money well. But I can bake cookies or send needed small items. i assume your mom can send you packages at citibank.Love you and I am sooooo proud of you.Lots of love, Patsy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: