The majority presence of democratic governments
in Latin America is an indubitable reality. Nevertheless,
the combinations of light and shadow on this same map do not
leave room for easy celebration. While we congratulate ourselves
on the frequency with which we participate in electoral processes,
what cannot be minimized is the persistence of varying degrees
of deficiency in institutional procedures that, in certain
cases, facilitates the violation of elementary rights and
guarantees of very broad sectors of the population of a country
and, in others, has underscored a significant inability on
the part of the State to guarantee the right to life and physical
integrity of its citizens.
In 2010, the member institutions
of the Latin
American Network of the International Coalition of Sites
of Conscience, proposed the creation of a photographic exhibit
whose images would illustrate particularly notable instances
in the recent political histories of our countries.
It was a group effort carried out by the
institutions in each country which chose the most representative
or iconic images of the transition from authoritarian governments
or dictatorships to democracy, of transitions from internal
armed conflict to democratic processes or, by case, images
of instances considered to be milestones or points of fracture
or inflexion in the social and political history of recent
The photographs in each panel stand on their
own, but the three panels that depict events in each of the
nine countries that compose the exhibit establish a sequence
that provides an overall linkage.
As with all collective tasks, the organization
of the exhibition was not a simple undertaking due to practical
factors deriving from distance and the implications of a task
added to the individual agendas and programs of our institutions,
yet also – and here in a clearly positive sense –
to the effort to reach the consensus required to build a representative
selection that would take into account the differing perspectives
of each country.
Upon designing the activity we set ourselves
a twofold objective: In the first place we wished to work
on the possibility of producing a travelling exhibit which
by means of very simple mechanisms, could be printed and exhibited
in each of the sites of the network members and in other institutions.
The second objective was to induce debate on the way in which
– in the exhibits and museum collections of our institutions
– we represent the transitions or milestones in the
recent history we aspire to relate.