Francesca LessaJun 24, 2022
The Condor Trials
Transnational Repression and Human Rights in South America
Yale University Press 2022
In this episode of the New Books in Latin America Studies podcast, Kenneth Sánchez spoke with Dr Francesca Lessa about her interesting new book The Condor Trials: Transnational Repression and Human Rights in South America published in 2022 by the Yale University Press.
Stories of transnational terror and justice illuminate the past and present of South America's struggles for human rights. Through the voices of survivors and witnesses, human rights activists, judicial actors, journalists, and historians, Francesca Lessa unravels the secrets of transnational repression masterminded by South American dictators between 1969 and 1981. Under Operation Condor, their violent and oppressive regimes kidnapped, tortured, and murdered hundreds of exiles, or forcibly returned them to the countries from which they had fled. South America became a zone of terror for those who were targeted, and of impunity for those who perpetuated the violence. Lessa shows how networks of justice seekers gradually materialized and effectively transcended national borders to achieve justice for the victims of these horrors. Based on extensive fieldwork, archival research, trial ethnography, and over one-hundred interviews, The Condor Trials explores South America's past and present and sheds light on ongoing struggles for justice as its societies come to terms with the unparalleled atrocities of their not-so-distant pasts.
Dr Francesca Lessa is a lecturer in Latin American studies and development at the University of Oxford. She is also the author of Memory and Transitional Justice in Argentina and Uruguay and is an honorary president of the Observatorio Luz Ibarburu (Uruguay), a network of human rights NGOs devoted to the fight against impunity in that country.
Kenneth Sanchez is a Peruvian journalist and a multi-platform content curator for the Peruvian media outlet Comité de Lectura. He is a host of the New Books in Latin American Studies podcast and the movies & entertainment podcast Segundo Plano. He holds a master’s degree in Latin American Politics from University College London (UCL), is a Centre for Investigative Journalism masterclass alumni and is part of the 6th generation of Young Journalists of #LaRedLatam of Distintas Latitudes. He has won several awards, including the prestigious Amnesty Media Award given out by Amnesty International UK.