Agrupación de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos

Agrupación de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos
   / Association of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared
   A human-rights nongovernmental organization in Chile. The AFDD was founded in 1975 under the name Agrupación de Familiares por la Vida (Association of Relatives for Life). Like many other human-rights organizations that were formed in response to the repressive campaign of General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte following the 1973 coup, the AFDD was under the auspices of the Catholic Church. The AFDD’s immediate goal was to assist the thousands of Chileans searching for the status of family members detained by the military and security forces. Like the Vicaría de la Solidaridad (Vicariate of Solidarity), the AFDD focused on documenting cases of abduction and disappearance, but its demands for truth and justice gave rise to a protest movement that gained international attention. The inspiration behind this movement was Sola Sierra Henríquez, who joined in 1976 after her husband, Waldo Ulises Pizarro Molina, was abducted and disappeared. Sierra Henríquez organized public marches of women like herself who were searching for their loved ones. Parades of women marching through Santiago holding pictures of their missing relatives were a regular annoyance to Pinochet Ugarte and the armed forces. Other methods used by the AFDD to call international attention to its cause were unique. The AFDD sponsored workshops for the making and selling of arpilleras, cloth pictorials that relatives of the missing embroidered to illustrate their stories. Another method was chaining, in which large groups of people used link chains to attach their bodies to highly visible public structures such as guardrails or government buildings, while several protesters made speeches explaining the significance of the spectacle. When democracy returned to Chile in 1990 under President Patricio Aylwin Azócar, the AFDD provided documentation and testimony for the human-rights investigation conducted by the Comisión Nacional de Verdad y Reconciliación (National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation). The commission issued its report, but the Chilean people have been divided over how to proceed. Some want to pursue justice; others prefer not to delve into the past. And there are many others who are too young to remember the Pinochet Ugarte era. For this last group, in June 1999, Henríquez staged a rock concert and commemorative program at the Estadio Nacional (National Stadium), the Estadio having served as a detention and torture center during the repression. The program was both a reminder of the truth and a call for justice. One of the songs on the program, “They Dance Alone,” was written by the British rock star Sting in honor of the AFDD.
   See also Desaparecidos.

Historical Dictionary of the “Dirty Wars” . . 2010.

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