Most tourists leave after visiting Argentina without an understanding of true cultural and social issues. If you have the desire to learn about Argentina’s most recent history and the tragedy of the last dictatorship, a trip to Parque de la Memoria (Memory Park) is essential.
This park is a public area, similar to monuments in Washington D.C., and is open to local and foreign visitors. The space memorializes the victims of the last dictatorship (1976-1983). There are said to be more than 30,000 disappeared people from this area due to government arrests, torture and mass killings.
The construction of parque de la memoria began in 1998 and was commissioned by the government. In 2007 the park opened to the public. If you are in Buenos Aires, and time permits, you should certainly consider a visit.
Among sculptures and works of art, there is a grey wall where the names of the disappeared people are carved along with their ages. The enormous size of the wall gives visitors an idea of how tragic the last dictatorship was and still is today. There are 30,000 nameplates signifying the number of people disappeared, however, only 9,000 names are known.
There is a short walk visitors can take that is lined with street signs featuring images important to the dictatorship. One sign features a drawing of a Ford Falcon, the car used by government officials to kidnap anyone in opposition.
The site of parque de la memoria was chosen because of its close proximity to the river where detainees were often drugged and thrown from planes in “death flights.” There is a beautiful statue in the river of a young person standing on the water looking out into the river. The gender and details of the statue are vague and up for interpretation.
While extremely upsetting and tragic, this memory park is one of the best places to enjoy the river on a nice day and learn about the recent history of the country you are visiting. At the information booth on the site there are leaflets in English.
The park is open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and is located at Av. Costanera Norte Rafael Obligado 6745.
For more information about tours in Buenos Aires, visit www.sayhueque.com