On the early hours of March 24, 1976, the Argentine Armed Forces staged a coup d’état.
The coup occurred within a political culture marked by State and parastatal violence and the alternance of military governments and restricted democracies during the 20th century. The coup initiated a civic-military dictatorship that ran until 1983.
During that period, the Armed Forces turned to extreme criminal violence completely outside the law, a political method to eliminate opposition and control the population. The dictatorship implemented a systematic plan of detention, torture and extermination that resulted in the forced disappearance of 30,000 people, the development of a network of over 700 clandestine detention centers, the imprisonment and exile of thousands of citizens, 500 children born in captivity, censorship, political persecution, propaganda and the establishment of fear.
State terrorism was a political, military, economical and social project. The Navy School of Mechanics was a part of the State’s repressive apparatus.
On the week of the 40th anniversary of the military coup, the ESMA Museum and Site of Memory welcomed 2000 visitors for the Five O’clock Tours. The audience massively participated in the special tours that took place for five days in a row during Memory Week, joining different guests who were part of the history of the ESMA clandestine center. The audience included many survivors who improvised descriptions of their stories prompted by the questions of the general audience. The Museum took notice of the results of this initiative and the enthusiasm of the audience, and decided to continue this Five O’clock Tour activity, incorporating it as part of their regular schedule.
REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE BOARD OF THE FORMER ESMA – AREA FOR MEMORY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. Her son Augusto María Conte disappeared on July 7, 1976. She was married to Augusto Conte MacDonell, founder of the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) with Emilio Mignone; a co-founder of the organization’s Mental Health Team and a psychology expert witness in cases of child restitution between 1982 and 1989.
Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. Her son Mauricio Fabián Weinstein disappeared on April 18, 1978. She is a member of the Argentine Historic and Social Memory Foundation. She is an activist within the human rights movement, a homemaker and businesswoman.
Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. Her daughter Electra Lareu disappeared on May 30th, 1977. She is a member of the Argentine Historic and Social Memory Foundation, an activist of the human rights movement, a stenographer, and a homemaker.
Buena Memoria Association. The sole survivor in his family after his father, mother, and siblings all disappeared. He is a psychomotricity therapist and psychotherapist, businessman and writer.
Relatives of the Disappeared and Detained for Political Reasons. Her husband Ricardo Lois disappeared on November 7, 1976. She is an activist in the human rights movement and a member of the City of Buenos Aires’ Ombudsman Office.
Guillermo Pérez Roisinblit
He was born at ESMA. His parents José Manuel Pérez Rojo and Patricia Roisinblit disappeared. Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo identified him in April of 2000. A senior Law student, like his father and his grandfather, and a River fan.
Vera Vigevani de Jarach
Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. Her daughter Franca disappeared on June 25th, 1976, she was taken to the ESMA clandestine center where she was held until her transfer on a death flight. Vera is an Italian journalist who became an Argentine citizen.
Mercedes Soiza Reilly
Federal Prosecutor at the ESMA III Trial 2012-2017. An attorney and college professor, she has an international degree in human rights.
ESMA survivor. He is an attorney and college professor.