Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Argentina: Icon of Repression

Thanks are due to the Collective Memory Project for sparking my thoughts on the Ford Falcon, primarily green, and its role in repression in Argentina. Check out Lucas' post for testimony regarding this particular car, so beloved of the state-sponsored death squads.
“Whenever a Falcon drove by or slowed down, we all knew that there would be kidnappings, disappearances, torture or murder,” reflects renowned Argentine psychologist and playwright Eduardo “Tato” Pavlovsky in a recent article. “It was the symbolic expression of terror. A death-mobile.”
[Robert, p. 12]

See for example,
Argentina: Coming to Terms with the Past (BBC)

Argentine death squad cars try for new image (Reuters)

The memory of the Falcon is a cultural icon in Argentina - see this work by sculpture Daniel Acosta;

But this goes further than the Falcon. Ford's involvement with the military regime ran deeper than just selling them cars.
[Former Ford employees] say local managers conspired with the security forces to have union members taken to a detention centre on the premises, where they were tortured.
Ford has in the past denied torture took place on its property.
Ford Sued over Argentine Abuses (BBC)

Pedro Troiani says his supervisor had advance notice of his abduction on April 13, 1976. Far from warning him when he arrived at work that morning, the supervisor ordered Troiani not to move from his place on the line: “You can’t move because they’re watching you.” When a truckload of soldiers descended on the plant, the factory foreman, Miguel Migliacchio, identified Troiani to them. The plant manager came out of his office to watch as they pulled Troiani off the line and paraded him around the factory, hands behind his head.
Troiani, Carlos Alberto Propato and five others rounded up that day were taken to the same makeshift detention center within the plant’s athletic facilities, where they were kept for seven hours.
[Robert, p. 15]
Karen Robert (2005) The Falcon Remembered, NACLA, pp. 12-15

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