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Uruguayan Theater in Exile  

Luciana Scaraffuni

Between 1968 and 1985, Uruguay experienced the twelve most tragic years of its history, due to the establishment of a civic–military dictatorship (1973–1985); such dictatorships came to power in various Southern Cone countries at that time: Brazil (1964), Bolivia (1971), Uruguay (1973), Chile (1973), and Argentina (1976). In Uruguay, the roots of political violence were present before the dictatorial period, though such violence was consolidated during this time (1973 to 1985). In 1968 a state of exception was established in the country through the implementation of what were called the Medidas Prontas de Seguridad and the pro-military actions of the Jorge Pacheco Areco administration (1967–1972). Subsequent years were characterized by the consolidation of the regime under the democratically elected president Juan María Bordaberry, who commanded the dissolution of the legislature on June 27, 1973. Due to the persecution, kidnapping, imprisonment, and disappearance of a large proportion of the population resulting from this, many Uruguayans went into exile. The experiences of a group of teatreros and teatreras, or theater workers, belonging to the El Galpón theater company, who went into exile in Mexico in 1976, are of particular interest. Exile interpellated this group of teatreros and teatreras in various ways, by examining the cultural context, the political context, and the material conditions in which the Galponeros lived in Mexico. It also takes into account that the experience of exile led to different forms of theater work for the group. Throughout, it is necessary to understand the relationship between “the national” and “the Latin American,” to distinguish them in some way, in reference to aspects that influenced the group’s theatrical production and construction both in Mexico and on its return to Uruguay. Similarly, members’ private lives are of interest, since the experience of exile, in addition to resignifying the theatrical work of the group, meant that the teatreros and teatreras experienced the rupturing of their daily lives and their “life world,” including the disintegration of families and their reconstruction in the countries of exile, in which the exiles formed new ties and family groups.


Rock Nacional in Argentina during the Dictatorship  

Timothy Wilson and Mara Favoretto

In the 20th century Argentina experienced a series of dictatorial regimes of varying intensity, but the last dictatorship stands apart. The Process of National Reorganization or Proceso (1976–1983) was not only the most brutally repressive, “disappearing” 30,000 of its own citizens into concentration camps, but also the most ambitious in terms of ideological mission. Its campaign, officially called “the war against subversion,” was committed to the total eradication of leftist ideas from the political landscape of the country by any means necessary. This radical transformation was to be brought about not only in the torture chamber, but in the media as well. The regime planned an Orwellian redefinition of words: the systematic creation of a national vocabulary that would exclude certain ideas and parties. In order to achieve its overt project of the appropriation of language, the junta maintained obsessive control over the media, instituted strict censorship reinforced by terror, and bombarded the airwaves and newspapers with official communiqués. In the face of this repression, most journalists and writers and many artists could not express dissent of any kind. Yet singers of a new Argentine music genre that came to be known as rock nacional developed codified and oblique metaphorical expression in their lyrics that allowed them to evade censorship and to continue to criticize the military regime with relative impunity. Moreover, many Argentine youths found solace in the music and used it to create communities in which they could meet and express themselves. The regime had sought to deny young Argentines a forum for public speech; however, together artists and listeners created a rock nacional culture that provided community for the isolated and lent a voice to the silenced.