INTRODUCTION: The families of people who've disappeared or have been detained for political reason in Latin America are meeting in Caracas.
CARACAS, VENEZUELA (VISNEWS - ZAS THODE)
SV PAN Girl singing and playing guitar surrounded by people
Background: INTRODUCTION: The families of people who've disappeared or have been detained for political reason in Latin America are meeting in Caracas. The congress is an attempt to gather political support for their campaign to have their relatives returned. It's the second time they've met and this time they're trying to form an international organisation to press the governments concerned.
SYNOPSIS: The relatives of those who have disappeared sing and pray for their lost ones in the chapel of the college in Caracas where the gathering has been held. Some estimates say more than 90,000 people have simply disappeared in Latin America in recent years. In many cases their fate is unknown and their crimes are almost exclusively some sort of protest against the government of their country.
Those 90,000 people come from most of the Latin American countries. There have been complaints by Amnesty International, the United Nations and Western Nations against Mexico, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and Chile amongst others. The biggest list of the missing compiled by these delegates comes from Argentina where the say thousand have disappeared since the present military regime took power in 1976. The relatives of those who have disappeared now want to do something about it.
Many of the most active campaigners are the mothers of the victims. They've been trying for years as individuals to get information about their sons and daughters without success. In Chile alone, Amnesty International has evidence that four women have given birth in prison without their relatives being informed that they were even in captivity. In Paraguay and Uruguay former soldiers have talked of being trained in torture techniques at military academies and practicing it on political detainee. In these instances, also the families are never told their relatives are being held.
These people now want to fight back. The organiser of this conference, Father Juan Vives, says these disappearances are the most deviant method for repression and persecution know in history. The congress is hoping to form a federation with information gathering as its main function to publicise and denounce those practices wherever they occur.
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