Project Argentina

The 12 April 2019 Declassification

In Spring of 2018, five undergraduate students joined Professor Silvia Tandeciarz and the National Security Archive’s Southern Cone expert Carlos Osorio to train and prepare for a major declassification of U.S. documents on foreign policy in Argentina. Announced by President Barack Obama in April of 2016, the declassification entailed the largest number of documents ever handed over to a foreign government in what some have called “declassification diplomacy.” Though the declassification was delayed several times, the Spring 2018 students spent the semester reviewing previously declassified materials on Chile, Argentina and other countries involved in Operación Condor in order to learn how to read and process the documents so that they would be prepared to dive in when the documents were released. The focus of this work was to uncover as much information as possible about the human rights abuses that were perpetrated by the Argentine government during the years that the military junta was in power, from 1976 to 1983. Due to the clandestine nature of the disappearances, torture, and deaths of civilians during that period, uncovering new information in these declassified documents is indispensable to uncovering the truth and hopefully achieving justice in ongoing court cases in Argentina. The Spring 2018 cohort of students uncovered new information in the documents and prepared preliminary briefing books on particular cases of human rights abuses (when these are finalized, they will be available here); the Spring 2019 cohort of students continued this work, having themselves been trained as National Security Archive interns. Both cohorts contributed to a sampler and briefing book alerting the public to the type of documents this declassification makes available for the first time. Many of the Spring 2019 interns continued their work over the summer. The Fall 2019 cohort is continuing this work and will be joined by William & Mary interns at the Comisión Provincial por la Memoria to draft joint electronic briefing books cross-referencing materials from both, U.S. and Argentine, archives. 


News stories about declassification:

Interview with Tandeciarz (Andar Agencia, Argentina).

Clarín (Argentina)

WY Daily (Williamsburg/Yorktown Daily)

Comisión Press Release: NSA-DIPPBA agreement

Reference Chronology: Argentina Dictatorship, 1976 – 1983

In Spring of 2011, six students, together with Prof. Tandeciarz and Prof. Konefal, began to create a reference chronology on Argentina’s last dictatorship from 1976 – 1983.   The chronology seeks to highlight key events and turning points, focusing especially on human rights and U.S. policy shifts toward the military junta during these years.  The students utilize declassified U.S. State Department documents for their research, in addition to drawing from academic literature and other primary sources (found here in an annotated glossary).  The chronology was published and made available to researchers, academics, and students by the NSA as a companion and reference to a complete set of over 3,000 declassified documents: see Osorio, Carlos, ed. Argentina, 1975:1980: The Making of U.S. Human Rights Policy. Washington, D.C.: The National Security Archive and Chadwyck-Healey, 2012. 

Timerman Briefing Book Project

In 2009, ten students, in a course taught by Prof. Tandeciarz, created a Briefing Book for the National Security Archive and a companion Briefing Book for the Comisión Provincial por la Memoria. This project focused on the experiences of journalist Jacobo Timerman, whose detention during the last Argentine dictatorship generated international attention and helped to shape the United States’ human rights agenda.

Judicial Cases

In Fall 2009 and Spring 2010, mentored by Professor Konefal, student research focused on identifying documents in the Archive relevant to ongoing court cases in Argentina. Their work has directly contributed to the prosecution of those responsible for crimes against humanity committed during the period of State Terrorism in five cases before the Argentine Tribunals.