The young Latin American people of the Cold War

Conference keynote

Miralles Terán De Wilkin, G. 2020. The young Latin American people of the Cold War.
AuthorsMiralles Terán De Wilkin, G.
TypeConference keynote

This practice based research study takes a critical post-memory approach, on the role of documentary production for ethnographic research in post civil war testimonies. The politics of representation of the tumultuous cold war events in Central America during the 80’s were selective. Although widely documented, and fictionalised by Hollywood in El Salvador and Nicaragua; the Guatemalan narrative was mostly ignored by international media, despite the horrors that were taking place. Parallel to mainstream productions were numerous international documentaries filmed in Guatemala, distributed independently to small audiences: ‘These documentaries, like testimonials functioned as vital tools for consciousness-raising. Similarly, they were instrumental in urgently calling for political aid and action to solidarity groups in the U.S. and Europe.’ (Estrada, 2006). But what is the memory of those Guatemalans who lived and suffered the impact of the civil war and how they coped with its repercussions? In 2008 the Manchester resident Ana Lucia Cuevas, triggered by the discovery of the Guatemalan National Police Archives, decided to return to produce the documentary: The Echo of the Pain of the Many (2012), where she narrates the story of her family, intrinsically linked to the history of the country. In December 2019, I visited her to film a qualitative ethnographic short documentary to understand the process of memory through her own work and testimony, examining ‘the subjective act of remembering’, and the ways in which those who were involved in the events of the Guatemalan civil war cope and how this has impacted new generations. This video and paper address the civil war’s contemporary legacy and its position in socio-political struggle.

KeywordsMemory; Documentaries; Politics of representing; Critical ethnography and the exercise of art in coping with civil war repercussions
ConferencePGRA Conference on Diversification
Publication process dates
Deposited07 Apr 2021
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The young Latin American people of the Cold War
Miralles Terán De Wilkin, G. 2020. The young Latin American people of the Cold War.