My time spent in Cordoba Capital last weekend provided me with an interesting pair of memory sites to contrast with those that I’ve been learning about here in Buenos Aires. I toured both Paseo Buen Pastor, and the Archivo Provincial de la Memoria de Cordoba.
Paseo Buen Pastor is an ex-CCD/ women’s prison. (Paseo Buen Pastor). It was inaugurated as a cultural space in 2007. Situated in the middle of the busy zone of Nueva Cordoba, one really would not guess that it was the site of an ex-CCD. Some of the original architecture remains, but it has been renovated and added to in a very modern style. The paseo contains upscale shops, expensive restaurants, art galleries, and venues for music and theater. There is also green space where people congregate to drink mate and watch the aguas danzantes, a fountain that is programmed to perform a nightly show with music and lights.
There is very little indication of Paseo Buen Pastor’s prior use as an ex-CCD. There is an information desk that provides information about the history of the site as well as about other cultural and touristic excursions in the city and in the surrounding province. The emphasis is on creating a gathering space for people, however, not exploring the recent violent past.
At Plaza San Martin there is a former clandestine detention center that functioned in the Cabildo, the center of municipal affairs in the city. It was fairly typical in its usage as a secret place for interrogation and torture during the dictatorship. The interesting part of its recent inauguration as a memory site is the emphasis on the personalities, histories, and families of the victims. The organization in charge of the site is the Archivo Provincial de la Memoria.
Various family members have put together albums dedicated to their missing children to put on display in one of the rooms of the site. These albums look like scrapbooks that any family might have, and include things such as newspaper clippings, baby photos, report cards and drawings. I met Americo Losada, the father of one of the desaparecidos held at the Cabildo, while checking out the site. He showed me his son’s album, proudly pointing out that his son had been very tall, had never failed a class, and had been a dedicated activist in various social causes. The conversation that we had about his son was very similar to any conversation that one might have with a proud father. He didn’t really speak about his son’s disappearance or its effect on his family. The emphasis was on his life. The photo posted above is of Americo displaying the album.
MA Candidate, CLACS and Museum Studies