Surviving State Terror in Argentina: A Conversation with a Former Desaparecido (in Spanish)


Date:      Monday, February 21, 2005
Time:      5:00 - 6:30 pm

Location: Troy Moore Library
               9th Floor - General Classroom Building   
               Georgia State University

Description of Event

A discussion in Spanish with Mario Villani, who was abducted during Argentina's 1970s "Dirty War" and is among the few survivors of the ESMA (Navy Mechanics School) concentration camp.

Additional Event Notes

A physicist, university professor and researcher at Argentina’s National Atomic Energy Commission, Mario Villani became one of the 30,000 Argentines who vanished in the hands of the government when a paramilitary squad abducted him in Buenos Aires in November, 1977. He spent the next four years in five different secret detention centers including ESMA, where only about 100 out of 5,000 prisoners survived. He remained a desaparecido, kept in subhuman conditions and never charged with any crimes, until he was released in 1981.

After his release, Mr. Villani went on to become a leading figure in the promotion of human rights and the preservation of Argentina’s memory of that period. He testified in 1984 before the National Commission on the Dissapearance of People (CONADEP), and again in 1985 at the trial of the military juntas. He was a prosecution witness in the 1997 international indictment against former Argentine dictator General Videla in Spain. In 2000 he was a witness at the trial of former Generals Suárez Mason and Riveros in Rome, where they were sentenced in absentia to life in prison. Mr. Villani has just returned from Spain, where, a few weeks ago, he testified at the trial of Captain Scilingo, a former Navy officer who took part in the “death flights” when ESMA prisoners were thrown alive into the River Plate.

Mr. Villani’s story has been the subject of various books and documentaries on State terror in Argentina. One of the characters in Marco Bechis’ fictional film Garage Olimpo (1999) is based on Mr. Villani’s experiences at ESMA.

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information contact Prof. Fernando Reati, (404) 651-2265, freati@gsu.edu.