University of Minnesota

Bibliography of Literature and Film within the field of Latin American Studies with the Basis of Human Rights: Prepared and updated (August 2007) by Alexis Howe.







Agosín, Marjorie.  Circles of Madness: Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.  New York: White

Pine Press, 1992.


Between 1976 and 1983, many young students in Argentina were kidnapped, murdered, or tortured by their own government.  Their relatives protested in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires every week.  Circles of Madness is a book of poetry about the desaparecidos, their families, and their stories. **



Agosín, Marjorie.  Witches and Other Things.  Pittsburgh: Latin-American Literary

Review Press, 1984.


Witches and Other Things has poems about women, exiles, and being lost.  "Woman Without Papers" describes the struggles of immigrants.  Government-sanctioned disappearances are the subject of "My Country and the Postal System" and "The Disappeared," and exile is ruminated over in "The Exile’s Ballad." **



Agosín, Marjorie.  An Absence of Shadows:  Poems.  White Pine Press, 1998.


An Absence of Shadows contains poetry from Circles of Madness and Zones of Pain, as well as new poetry.  Agosin’s poetry focuses on those who suffered during the decades of corrupt dictatorship within Latin America.  Some of Agosin’s poetry is available online at: **



Alegria, C. and D. Flakoll, trans. and eds.  On the Front Line:  Guerrilla Poems of El

Salvador.  Curbstone Press, 1996.


On the Front Line is a collection of poetry about the struggles of people to survive in the war-torn country of El Salvador.  All of the poems are optimistic despite the difficulties faced daily by the El Salvadoran people. **



Alegría, Fernando (Chile). Allende: A Novel. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993.


This novel recounts the life of Salvador Allende, the author begins the narration with the childhood of the future Chilean president (a socialist, Allende was elected in 1970), closing with a description of the 1973 coup d’état that ended in the president’s death.



Alegría, Fernando (Chile). The Chilean Spring. Pittsburgh: Latin American Literary

Review Press, 1980.


This novel is a fictional re-creation of the assassination of photographer, Cristián Montealegre in 1973.  Through his fictional work, Alegría comments on the political violence that plagued Chile during the 1970’s.



Alegría, Fernando (Chile). Chilean Writers in Exile: Eight Short Novels. Trumansburg,

NY: Crossing Press, 1982.


This collection of fiction includes works by authors exiled by the coup d’état in 1973: The first days (Alfonso González Dagnino); Of flight and abidings (Juan Armando Epple); Barbed wire fence (Aníbal Quijada); War chorale (Fernando Alegría); Like the hyena (Poli Délano); St. Elizabeth (Claudio Giacomi); My beautiful Buenos Aires (Leandro Urbina); Putamadre (Ariel Dorfman).



Allende, Isabel (Chile). The House of the Spirits. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1985.


This novel follows a family through several generations (the family representing the Nation), and through this family, the reader is allowed to see the progression of Chilean history.  The story culminates with the country’s 1973 coup d’état, after which the family (nation) becomes deeply divided.



Allende, Isabel (Chile). Of Love and Shadows. New York: Knopf, 1987.


This novel insists on the existence of love amidst the chaos of a country devastated by dictatorship.  A young couple searches for truth and justice, putting their own lives at risk to uncover the secrets behind the disappearance of a young girl.



Álvarez, Julia (USA / Dominican Republic). In the Time of the Butterflies. Chapel Hill:

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1994.


The author bases her novel on the true story of the Mirabal sisters who resisted the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic during the 1960s and who were also killed by this same regime. 



Alves, Miriam (Brazil). Enfim--nós: escritoras negras brasileiras contemporâneas =

Finally--us: contemporary Black Brazilian women writers. Colorado Springs, Three Continents Press, 1995.  


In her poetry, Alves writes from her perspective as a black Brazilian woman.


Also: "Momentos de busca" (1932); "Estrelas no dedo" (1985)



Arenas, Reinaldo (Cuba). The Assault. New York: Viking, 1994.


This novel introduces the reader to a world of dehumanized people living under the regime of the “represident”, where one would be “totally annihilated” for speaking of a time when man once walked on the moon, for saying “I’m cold”, for resting one’s gaze at the waist area, or for being a “whisperer”. 



Arguedas, José María (Peru). The fox from up above and the fox from down below.

Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000.


This novel, both in content and form, represents the ethnic mixture of Peruvian culture.  It blends a European writing style, the novel, with the indigenous myth.  Set in the city of Chimbote, a Peruvian port city, this novel shows the influx of migrants coming from the Andes to find work.  Once in the city, the indigenous migrants experience discrimination and alienation from the mestizo and white populations.  



Argueta, Manlio (El Salvador).  One Day of Life.  New York: Vintage Books, 1983.


One Day of Life recalls the civil war in El Salvador as seen through the eyes of Lupe, the matriarch of a peasant family.  Through a series of flashbacks, the devastation and brutality of the war and the strength and resilience of the poor farmers is graphically presented. **



Asturias, Miguel Ángel (Guatemala). The President. Harmondsworth, Eng: Penguin

Books, 1972.


In this novel Asturias creates a machine-like State that has complete control over its inhabitants; the plot follows Angel Face, the hero who rebels against the all-powerful State.  Many critics consider this work to be the novel of the Estrada Cabrera dictatorship – Manuel Estrada Cabrera had installed himself as dictator in Guatemala from 1898–1920, a time that greatly affected the author who was born in 1899 and whose youth was defined by Estrada politics (Astrurias’ parents fled the capital city in fear of political persecution).


Also: Week-end en Guatemala (1956)



Azuela, Mariano. The underdogs, a novel of the Mexican Revolution. New York: New

American Library, 1963.


In this novel, Azuela fictionalizes the Mexican Revolution, including many references to historical figures, such as Porfirio Diaz, Francisco Madero and Pancho Villa, in his fictional characters.



Baccino Ponce de Leon, Napoleon (Uruguay). Five Black Ships: A Novel of the

Discoverers. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1994.


In this novel, the author recreates the epic story of the travels of Magellan, who navigated the seas in a voyage around the world in 1519.  This novel revisits the Spanish Conquest of the Americas, telling the story through an alternative voice, that of Juanillo, a Jewish convert to Christianity.



Bolaño, Roberto (Chile). Amulet. Trans. Chris Andrews. New York: New Directions

Books, 2006.


Bolaño's work fugues again and again around the confluence of fugitive literary movements and tumultuous political upheavals of '60s and '70s Mexico and Chile.

Originally from Montevideo, poet Auxilio Lacouture cleans house in Mexico City for two well-known poets and hangs about the university literary scene doing odd jobs. In September 18, 1968, as the army occupies the campus, arresting and killing people, Auxilio is in the deserted bathroom stalls, obliviously reading poetry; later she becomes famous for being the only one who resists arrest that fateful day. Over years without fixed address or employment, she loses her teeth and befriends the teenage Arturo Belano. Belano eventually returns to Chile at the time of the Allende coup and is imprisoned by Pinochet—a political initiation author Bolaño experienced himself.



Bolaño, Roberto (Chile). By Night in Chile. New York: New Directions Books, 2003.


In this novel, the narrator, Sebastián Urrutia Lacroix, a conservative priest and literary critic, gradually confesses his complicity in the Pinochet era's evils.



Bolaño, Roberto (Chile). Distant Star. New York: New Directions Publishing, 2004.


This novel examines the feats of a fascist aviator-poet (and murderer), Carlos Weider, who writes verses at cruising altitude with his plane's exhaust and exhibits photos of torture victims as art.



Carpentier, Alejo (Cuba). Reasons of State. New York: Knopf, 1976.


In this novel the author makes various historical references, demonstrating the cycle of violence and repressive dictatorships that have continued to plague Latin American politics for generations.



Cortazar, Julio (Argentina). We Love Glenda so Much and Other Tales. New York:

Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1983.


This collection of stories includes works such as “Press clippings” y “Graffiti” (which detail the effects that political repression has on the individual)



Dalton, Roque.  Clandestine Poems.  Curbstone Press, 1990.


In Clandestine Poems, written just prior to his assassination, Dalton invented five poets to speak about the situation in El Salvador.  The collection “delivers its political insights with biting humor, strength and tenderness.” **



Danticat, Edwidge (Haiti). The farming of bones. New York: Soho Press, 1998.


The historical backdrop of this novel is the Haiti – Dominican Republic conflict, specifically the order of General Trujillo that all Haitians living on Dominican soil be killed (1937).  The storyline follows Amabelle, a Haitian servant living in the Dominican Republic at the time of the massacre and her journey back to Haiti.



Dee, Jonathan (USA/Brazil).  The Liberty Campaign.  New York:  Doubleday, 1993.


The Liberty Campaign tells the story of Gene Trowbridge, a man who befriends his next-door neighbor and then discovers that the man was a Brazilian Army captain that directed the torture of Brazilian civilians in the 1960’s.  When police and human rights activists discover the neighbor’s secret, the former Army captain turns to Gene for help. **



Donoso, José (Chile).  Curfew.  New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988.


The author examines the experience of return after exile; of course coming into play in his treatment of this theme would be the author’s own thoughts and anxieties on return to Chile after a long period of exile.



Donoso, José (Chile). The garden next door. New York: Grove Press, 1992.


In this novel the author deals with the experience of exile, a theme of personal interest to him, as he was a political exile from Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship.



Donoso, José (Chile). A house in the country. London: A. Lane, 1983.


This novel deals with the rise and fall of the Chilean President Salvador Allende, who won the elections in 1970 only to be overthrown by the coup three years later in 1973.



Dorfman, Ariel (Chile). Death and the Maiden. New York: Penguin Books, 1994.


This play explores the complex relationship between three people – a torturer, a

torture victim, and a bystander (spouse to the torture victim and friend to the torturer).  Dorfman explores the many questions of how Chileans will be able to live together in the aftermath of the dictatorship; since Pinochet assured that perpetrators be free from prosecution after the fall of the dictatorship, this situation of victims living alongside their aggressors was a reality for Chileans.  



Dorfman, Ariel (Chile). The Last Song of Manuel Sendero. New York: Viking, 1987.


This novel portrays a generation of babies who refuse to be born due to the state of political repression that they will face once outside of the womb.



Dorfman, Ariel.  Last Waltz in Santiago and Other Poems of Exile and Disappearance

Viking, 1988.


Ariel Dorfman’s book of poetry details accounts of government abuse and terror campaigns in Chile.



Dorfman, Ariel (Chile).  My House is on Fire.  New York: Viking Press, 1991.


Eleven tales of lyrical and often brutal beauty set in Pinochet’s Chile that brilliantly portray the struggle for love and faith in families living under political oppression. **



Dorfman, Ariel (Chile). Manifesto for Another World: Voices from Beyond the Dark.

New York: Seven Stories Press, 2004.


The characters in this play are all historical persons who have experienced political repression and violence committed by their State.  This work permits these individuals to speak of their experiences (as many were denied a voice under repression) and enables their voices to reach readers in all parts of the globe.



Dorfman, Ariel (Chile). The Resistance Trilogy: Widows; Death and the Maiden;

Reader. London: Nick Hern Books, 1998.


This collection of three plays expresses resistance to the extreme repression and violence of the Pinochet regime.  Dorfman creates female heroines in the first two dramas, insisting on the strength of the woman who suffers not only political repression, but that based on gender as well.



Dorfman, Ariel (Chile). Widows. New York: Pantheon Books, 1983.


This work represents the experience of a group of women whose husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons have been disappeared.  It also shows a generation of children who are growing up without fathers / male figures.



Eltit, Diamela (Chile). Sacred Cow. New York: Serpent’s Tale, 1995.


This novel is set against the backdrop of political violence and repression in Chile, the author delves into themes of domination, both political and sexual, focusing on the subject of the woman.


Also: E. Luminata. Santa Fe, NM: Lumen, 1997



Galeano, Eduardo (Uruguay). Days and Nights of Love and War. New York: Monthly

Review Press, 1983.


Presented as a mixture of genres, including journals, interviews and folklore, Galeano makes a critique on political power and the ways in which fear is used to silence entire populations.



Galeano, Eduardo (Uruguay).  Memory of Fire.  New York, Pantheon: 1985-88.

Vol. 1, Genesis  (1986); Vol. 2, Faces and Masks (1987); Vol. 3, Century of the Wind (1988).


The trilogy is the history of South America written in an extraordinary pastiche of history and fiction, excerpts from chronicles, mythology, and newspapers blended with inspired imaginings of what people humble and exalted said aloud or thought in their hearts. **



García Márquez, Gabriel (Colombia). Autumn of the Patriarch. New York: Harper &

Row, 1976.


In this novel García Márquez presents an anonymous Latin American community that is freed after the death of its dictator.  The author himself has admitted that in the central character of the dictator his intention was to create a synthesis of Latin American dictators – in this way García Márquez preserves the archetypal tyrant that has arisen time and time again in Latin American politics.  



García Márquez, Gabriel (Colombia). One Hundred Years of Solitude. New York: Harper

and Row, 1970.


In this novel, considered to be the example par exelence of magical realism, the renowned Colombian author introduces the reader to the citizens of the magical village of Macondo and recounts the history of Latin America, accounting for a long cycle of violence and repression but also the strength of the people as well as the magical elements of Latin American reality.



Inés de la Cruz, Sor Juana (Mexico). The Answer: Including a Selection of Poems. New

York: Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 1994.


This work is a collection of genres, such as poetry and the letter, in which Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a Mexican nun (1651-1695), defends her right to study and write.  As a child Juana was a prodigy, she spent time during her adolescence as a lady in waiting to the wife of the Mexican viceroy and later entered a convent, where she filled her room with books and scientific instruments.  She was later attacked publicly by a supposed friend for her interest in secular studies, which led to increased criticism and repression ultimately leading to Juana’s permanent forfeit of her studies.   



Martínez, Tomas Eloy. The Peron Novel. New York: Pantheon Books, 1988.


This literate and sophisticated novel roughly chronicles the rise and fall of Argentina's charismatic general Juan Peron. Focusing on the psyche of the South American dictator and the political intrigue that characterized his regime, the novel opens on the day a tired, elderly Peron flies home from Spanish exile in a futile attempt to resume power. Martinez juxtaposes actual clippings and interviews with highly imaginative musings to convey the slide into chaos, moral decay, and duplicity that came as larger forces overwhelm Peron.



Martínez Moreno, Carlos. El infierno. Trans. Ann Wright. Intro. John King. London:

Readers International, 1988.


El Infierno is set in Uraguay and documents the events of the late sixties/early seventies (internal political conflict between State forces and urban guerrillas around the time of the coup d’état that resulted in a twelve year dictatorship in Uruguay).



Miranda, Victoria.  On the Edge of a Countryless Weariness:  Poems.  Ism Press, 1986.


On the Edge of a Countryless Weariness is a book of poetry about repression and dictatorship in Chile and includes both English and Spanish versions of the poems. **



Neruda, Pablo (Chile). Canto general. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.


Originally published in 1950, this work is a collection of approximately 340 poems written during the author’s exile from his native Chile.  In this collection, Neruda examines the history of Latin America – the central theme of many of the poems included is the struggle for human dignity and social justice.

*some of the artists poems are accessible at:



Peri Rossi, Cristina (Uruguay). Ship of Fools. Columbia, LA: Readers International,



In this experimental novel, which takes the form of a pastiche of travel writing, the protagonist, Equis, is a misfit who travels to a number of deliberately vague locations. The novel exposes the dangers of arbitrary dictatorial government in its inclusion an emotional depiction of a concentration camp in a country which remains unspecified, but which could be based on any of the various Latin American dictatorships of the latter half of the twentieth century. The title of the book is taken from the Ship of Fools legend, which is reworked by Peri Rossi in the novel itself. The novel shows sympathy for those condemned to the ship of fools and there is a clear parallel between this medieval episode and the modern-day aforementioned concentration camp passage.



Piglia, Ricardo (Argentina). The absent city. Durham: Duke University Press, 2000.


A type of mystery novel, this story takes place in a fictional re-creation of Argentina’s violent military dictatorship (1976-1983), a period also known as the “Dirty War”.  The story follows a journalist, whose wife has been disappeared in the political violence, in his search for a magical “storytelling” machine that will tell his wife’s story, as her disappearance has denied her voice the opportunity to speak.



Piglia, Ricardo (Argentina). Artificial Respiration. Durham: Duke University Press, 1994.


[Originally] published [in Spanish] in Argentina in 1981, it was written at a time when thousands of Argentine citizens "disappeared" during the government's attempt to create an authoritarian state. In part a reflection on one of the most repressive and tragic times in Argentine history, this is one of those rare works of fiction in which multiple philosophical, political, and narrative dimensions are all powerfully and equally matched.



Puig, Manuel (Argentina). Kiss of the Spider Woman. New York: Knopf, 1979.


Two political prisoners, Valentín and Molina, pass the time telling their stories.  Although the two are very different men, Valentin is a Marxist revolutionary and Molina a homosexual window-dresser, and initially Valentin is annoyed by Molina’s incessant talk of movies, after their time together the two fall in love.

Roa Bastos, Augusto (Paraguay). I, the Supreme. New York: Knopf, 1986.


Focusing on the character of the dictator – a recurring theme in Latin American literature – the novel’s central character is based on José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, who made himself dictator of Paraguay in 1814.



Skármeta, Antonio (Chile). Burning patience. New York: Pantheon Books, 1987.


This novel is considered by many to be a tribute to two figures that gave hope to many Chileans, ousted Socialist President Salvador Allende and Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.



Skármeta, Antonio (Chile). I Dreamt the Snow was Burning. London: Readers

International, 1985.


This novel portrays a group of Chilean youth who come of age during the presidency of Salvador Allende.



Tabio, Paco Ignacio (Mexico).  Four Hands.  New York: St. Martins Press, 1994.


Four Hands is set in Mexico in the 1980s, but moves back and forth in time and includes historical characters like Pancho Villa, Houdini, and Leon Trotsky. **



Traba, Marta (Argentina). Mothers and shadows. London: Readers International, 1986.


This novel presents the conversation of two women, one young, one older, who reunite after a period of time and discuss their common experience of having been witness to violence, as well as having been kidnapped, and sequestered during a time of political violence and repression.  Through talking of their shared traumatic experience, the two women are able to heal.



Valenzuela, Luisa (Argentina). Bedside Manners. London and New York: High Risk

Books/Serpent's Tail, 1995.


A woman returns to South America to enjoy restored democracy, only to learn from her maid that she must not read newspapers because thinking is banned, should not open the windows because the army is holding maneuvers, can't have breakfast because it was stolen, and so on. Political satire by an Argentine writer, author of Black Novel.



Valenzuela, Luisa (Argentina). Black Novel with Argentines. New York: Simon &

Schuster, 1992.


In New York City, an expatriate Argentine writer named Agustin Palant buys a pistol for protection. One a mysterious man gives him a theater ticket. An actress in the play he sees invites Palant to her apartment. The script seems to call for seduction, but instead Palant shoots her in the head. Why? The question, like the echo of the shot, reverberates in Palant's mind and almost shakes it apart. This is a murder without a motive. Nothing in his life, he thinks, has led up to it. The key to the murder, Valenzuela suggests, isn't a quirk in his individual psychology so much as his infection by the "dirty war" which, like the AIDS virus, can hide for a long time in the system before the delayed trigger clicks.



Valenzuela, Luisa (Argentina). Other weapons. Hanover: Ediciones del Norte, 1985.


Many of the works included in this collection of short stories denounce the repression and violence inflicted by the military government, often times focusing on a female character and the unique effects of dictatorship as experienced by women.



Vallejo, Cesar (Perú).  Human Poems.  New York: Grove Press, 1968.


This collection presents an apocalyptic vision of human alienation, possibly prompted by the slaughter of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). **



Vargas Llosa, Mario (Peru). Conversation in the Cathedral. New York: Harper & Row



The novel is a deconstruction of Peru under the dictatorship of Odría in the 1950s, and deals with the lives of characters from the different social strata of the country. The ambitious narrative is built around two axes, the stories of Santiago Zavala and Ambrosio respectively; one the son of a minister, the other his chauffeur. A random meeting at a dog pound leads to a riveting conversation between the two at a nearby bar known as the Cathedral (hence the title). In the course of the encounter Zavala tries to find the truth about his father's role in the murder of a notorious figure of the Peruvian underworld (this is revealed to the reader towards the end of the novel), shedding light on the workings of a dictatorship along the way.



Vargas Llosa, Mario (Peru). The Feast of the Goat. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux,



This novel follows Urania Cabral, a native of the Dominican Republic who fled her country for the United States during her adolescence out of fear caused by her father’s fall from the dictator Trujillo’s good graces.  The storyline follows Urania as she returns to her native country after many years of exile to visit her debilitated father.







Arce, Luz (Chile). The inferno: a story of terror and survival in Chile. Madison:

University of Wisconsin Press, 2004.


A victim of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship documents the psychological trauma suffered by individuals and families as a result of political detention and torture.  



Agosin, Marjorie.  Surviving Beyond Fear: Women, Children, and Human Rights in Latin

America.  Fredonia: White Pine Press, 1998.


Marjorie Agosin has compiled essays, interviews, and analysis about the different human rights situations in Latin America as seen by the women and children. **



Allende, Isabel (Chile). My Invented Country: a nostalgic journey through Chile. New

York: HarperCollins, 2003.


The book circles around two life-changing moments. The assassination of her uncle Salvador Allende Gossens on September 11, 1973, sent her into exile and transformed her into a literary writer. And the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, on her adopted homeland, the United States, brought forth an overdue acknowledgment that Allende had indeed left home. My Invented Country, mimicking the workings of memory itself, ranges back and forth across that distance between past and present lives. It speaks compellingly to immigrants and to all of us who try to retain a coherent inner life in a world full of contradictions.



Americas Watch and the Women’s Rights Project.  Untold Terror: Violence Against

Women in Peru’s Armed Conflict. New York: Human Rights Watch, 1992.


This report documents the violence against women that occurred during the internal armed conflict in Peru during the 1980’s and 90’s.  During the conflict between the national armed forces and the subversive group, Shining Path, violence was concentrated in Peru’s Andean regions where the indigenous population suffered at the hands of the national as well as rebel forces.  Indigenous women suffered unique forms of violence and repression, some of which are documented in this report.    



Argentina. Comisión Nacional sobre la Desaparición de Personas. Nunca más: the Reportof the Argentine National Commission on the Disappeared.  New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1986.


The final report of the Argentine truth commission established to investigate the disappearance of persons during the military dictatorship (1976-1986).



Axelsson, Sun; Leander, Brigitta; Silva Cáceres, Raúl. Evidence on the terror in Chile.

London: The Merlín Press, 1974.


This book is a compilation of personal testimonies of political prisoners in Chile describing the acts of torture committed against them.



Arenas, Reinaldo (Cuba). Before Night Falls. New York: Viking, 1993.


The memoir of Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990) describes his search for freedom amidst a life of strict governmental control.  He speaks of the sexual revolution that was happening in Cuba alongside of the Cuban Revolution.  He also describes his persecution both for being gay and for writing in a way that was seen to threaten the stability of the regime. 



Barrios de Chungara, Domitila, with Moema Viezzer (Bolivia).  Let Me Speak! 

Testimony of Domitila, A Woman of the Bolivian Mines.  Monthly Review, 1979.


Let Me Speak! is the story of the courageous wife of a Bolivian miner who witnesses the labor organizing of Bolivian workers and attends an international women’s conference. **



Cabrezas, Omar (Nicaragua).  Fire from the Mountain.  Crown, 1985.


Cabrezas, who was a Sandinista guerilla, discloses his side of the Nicaraguan revolution and civil rights struggle. **


Casas, Bartolomé de las (Spain). The Devastation of the Indies: A Brief Account.

Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974.


Las Casas, a Spanish Dominican friar in the Americas during the Spanish Conquest, makes an attack on the encomienda system, describing the severe mistreatment of the native population by the Spanish encomenderos.  The Dominican directs his writing to the Spanish Crown, arguing for the abolishment of the encomienda. 



Casas, Bartolomé de las (Spain). History of the Indies. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.


Las Casas, a Spanish Dominican friar in the Americas during the Spanish Conquest, describes in this document the severe mistreatment of the native population by the Spanish encomenderos as well as the great dying of the indigenous population in the Americas. 



Casas, Bartolomé de las (Spain). The Only Way. New York: Paulist Press, 1991.


Las Casas, a Spanish Dominican friar in the Americas during the Spanish Conquest, proposes a new society, one in which the Europeans and the indigenous can live together in harmony – his proposition opposes the encomienda system which enables forced labor and conversion to Christianity through the use of violent methods.  Las Casas denounces the use of violence as a means to force labor and evangelize; instead insisting that peaceful evangelization is possible.



Catholic Institute for International Relations.; Latin America Bureau.  Guatemala, never

again!  Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1999.


This report details the findings of an investigation on the involvement of the Guatemalan government in the massacres and other human rights violations that occurred during the country’s civil war.



Conde, Yvonne M. Operation Pedro Pan: The Untold Exodus of 14,048 Cuban Children.

New York: Routledge, 1999.


Having herself left Cuba at the age of ten as part of the exodus, New York-based freelance writer Conde describes how over 14,000 children were sent unaccompanied from Cuba to the US between 1960 and 1962. She describes their experiences in temporary camps, foster homes, and orphanages, and for a few a reunion with their families after many years.



Cuevas, Tomasa. Prison Women. Trans. and Ed. Mary E. Giles. Albany: State

University of New York Press, 1998. 


This book contains a compilation of women’s testimonies on their experiences of incarceration in Spain during the War and postwar time.



Dalton, Roque. Miguel Mármol. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 1987.


The testimony of a revolutionary, as recorded by Salvadoran writer, Roque Dalton, which documents the historical and political events of El Salvador through the first decades of the 20th century. This Latin American classic describes the growth and development of the workers’ movement and the communist party in El Salvador and Guatemala.



Diaz, Nidia.  I Was Never Alone:  A Prison Diary from El Salvador.  Ocean Press, 1992.


I Was Never Alone tells the story of an El Salvadoran revolutionary leader whose imprisonment led to an international human rights campaign. **



Dorfman, Ariel (Chile). Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey. New York:

Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1998.


The Chilean author’s memoir describes, among many things, the election of Salvador Allende, Dorfman’s ties with Allende during the few years that he was in office, and the coup d’état that resulted in Allende’s death as well as the exile of many of his followers, including Dorfman himself.



Drake, Paul W., and Iván Jaksic, ed. The Struggle for Democracy in Chile. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995.


This text provides important background information on the evolution of Chile’s military dictatorship in the 1970s and its erosion in the 1980s.



Green, Linda. Fear as a Way of Life: Mayan Widows in Rural Guatemala. New York:

Columbia University Press, 1999.


The author documents what she has learned from speaking with Mayan women who have been widowed as a result of political violence experienced primarily in indigenous regions of Guatemala.  The women tell of their struggles to keep their families together amidst extreme fear and the loss of the male figure.



Herzog, Kristin. Finding their voice: Peruvian women's testimonies of war.  Valley

Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1993.


This book documents Peruvian women’s testimonies of their experiences during the internal armed conflict in Peru during the 1980’s and 90’s. 



Jara, Joan (Chile). An Unfinished Song: The Life of Victor Jara. New York: Ticknor &

Fields, 1984.


The moving story of Victor Jara – the Chilean folk guitarist and singer who was kidnapped and murdered by the Armed Forces during the coup d’état in Chile in 1973 – told by wife, Joan.


Jesús, Carolina Maria de (Brazil). Child of the Dark: The Diary of Carolina Maria de

Jesus. New York: Dutton, 1962.


This work, which takes the form of a journal, describes the life of Maria Carolina de Jesus, a single woman struggling to raise her children and survive in the slums (a favela) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  A beautiful story of survival, even amidst extreme hardship, the author maintains her unconquerable spirit. 



Menchú, Rigoberta (Guatemala). I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala.

London: Verso, 1984.


In this book, Rigoberta Menchú, describes her experiences as an indigenous woman in Guatemala living in terror of the military government.  She denounces the effects of the repression and violence that are focused primarily on the indigenous villages. 



Mercado, Tununa (Argentina). In a State of Memory. Lincoln: University of Nebraska

Press, 2001.


In her memoir, Mercado describes the pain of exile, having been herself exiled twice from her homeland of Argentina, to France and later to Mexico.  One of many Argentineans who fled to Mexico during the military dictatorship, Mercado describes feelings of alienation and statelessness, as well as the struggles of many exiles to maintain their Argentineanness amidst the Mexican culture.



Partnoy, Alicia (Argentina).  The Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival in

Argentina.  Cleis Press, 1986.


This work contains vignettes from captivity when the author was one of the "disappeared" of Argentina. **


Also: You Can’t Drown the Fire: Latin American Women Writing in Exile (1988)



Poniatowska, Elena (Mexico). Massacre in Mexico. New York: Viking Press, 1975.


The author includes a collection of testimonies regarding the 1968 massacre of 325 unarmed college students who had been peacefully protesting in Mexico City.



Quijada Cerda, Anibal (Chile). Barbed Wire Fence. La Habana: Casa de las Américas,



This work is a testimony on the experience of a political prisoner in the Dawson Island concentration camp after the coup d’état in Chile in 1973.


Rojo, Grinor, and John J. Hassett. Eds. Chile: Dictatorship and the Struggle for Democracy. Gaithersburg, MD: Ediciones Hispamérica, 1988.


This text contains essays relating to the dictatorship in Chile and its oppositions.  Some topics that are addressed include: political opposition, Chilean women under dictatorship, and Chile’s poor.  



Servicio Paz y Justicia (Uruguay). Uruguay nunca más: Human Rights Violations, 1972-

1985.  Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992.


This report documents the testimonies of victims who suffered political persecution and human rights violations perpetrated by the military dictatorship in Uruguay (1973-1985).



Timerman, Jacobo (Argentina). Prisoner without a name, cell without a number. New

York: Knopf, 1981.


Timerman documents his experiences as a political prisoner during the military junta in Argentina that lasted from 1976-1983. 



United States. Human Rights Watch.  Human Rights in Cuba: The Need to Sustain the     

Pressure.  New York:  The Americas Watch Committee, 1989.


This publication of the human rights organization, Human Rights Watch describes the violation of human rights as they were occurring in Cuba at the time of the report.  Each section in this book discusses a different right that is commonly violated in Castro’s Cuba, such as the freedoms of expression, of association, of privacy, of movement and of due process.  Actual cases are documented in support of the facts presented.



Valdés, Hernán (Chile). Diary of a Chilean concentration camp.  London: Gollancz,



In this book, the author documents his own experience of torture in the Chilean concentration camp known as “Tejas verdes”. 



Valenzuela, J. Samuel, and Arturo Valenzuela. Eds. Military Rule in Chile: Dictatorship and Oppositions. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.


This text contains various essays relating to Chile’s military government that ruled between 1973 and 1990.  Some of the topics include: economic policies installed by the dictatorship, the framework of the armed forces, political processes under dictatorship, opposition to the junta, the role of the Catholic church, and external relations.



Valls, Jorge (Cuba).  Twenty Years and Forty Days: Life in a Cuban Prison.  America’s

Watch Report, 1986.


This book is a personal account of a prisoner under Castro. **



Weschler, Lawrence (Brazil/Uruguay).  A Miracle, a Universe:  Settling Accounts with

Torturers.  University of Chicago Press, 1998.


A Miracle, a Universe is a non-fiction novel set in Brazil and Uruguay that tells the true stories of torture victims in fledgling democracies banding together to face their torturers, who are members of the current security force left over from the former regime. **



Wilkinson, Daniel (Guatemala).  Silence on the Mountain:  Stories of Terror, Betrayal,

and Forgetting in Guatemala.  Houghton Mifflin Co., 2002.


Silence on the Mountain is a personal account of Wilkinson’s travels to Guatemala and the stories of Guatemalans who suffered through the thirty-six year internal power struggle within the country.  Wilkinson shares his interviews of various Guatemalans, including members of the town of Sacuchum who told him of how the army tortured, raped, and murdered people in the town because the army believed the people supported the guerillas.  Wilkinson also discusses the origin and effect of the political and social problems Guatemala faces. **








Babenco, Hector. Caradiru. USA: Sony Pictures Classics, 2004.


This film portrays the living conditions and injustices that are allowed inside a Brazilian state penitentiary.



Babanco, Hector. Kiss of the Spider Woman. USA: Island Alive, 1985.


Based on the novel by Manuel Puig, Kiss of the Spider Woman portrays the experience of cellmates in a South American prison – one “guilty” of being homosexual and the other a political prisoner.



Barroso, Mariano. In the Time of the Butterflies. USA: MGM Home Entertainment, 2001.


This movie is based on the novel by Julia Alvarez, which is based on the true story of the Mirabal sisters who resisted the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic during the 1960s and who were also killed by this same regime. 



Buñuel, Luís. Los Olvidados. USA: Arthur Mayer-Edward Kingsley Inc., 1952.


This movie portrays the life and struggles of poor slum children in Mexico City, demonstrating the destructive effects of poverty on children.



Carri, Albertina. Los rubios. USA: Women Make Movies, 2003.


Albertina Carri, the director, and the actress who plays her lead the crew to a search for Ana María Caruso and Roberto Carri, dissappeared during Argentina´s dictatorship. Trough interviews, researches and fragments of the past the documentary fiction goes after one question: can we find the truth about the past or is it a chinese box of dismembered fictions?



Costa-Gavras. État de siège/ State of Siege. USA: Cinema 5 Distributing, 1972.


In Uruguay in the early 1970s, an official of the US Agency for International Development (a group used as a front for training foreign police in counterinsurgency methods) is kidnapped by a group of urban guerillas. Using his interrogation as a backdrop, the film explores the often brutal consequences of the struggle between Uruguay's government and the leftist Tupamaro guerillas.




Duigan, John. Romero. USA: Four Square, 1989.


This film chronicles the life, death and struggles of the Archbishop Oscar Romero, who resisted and was murdered by the oppressive regime in El Salvador during the 1980’s.



Guzmán, Patricio. Battle of Chile: Part 1 (La insurrección de la burguesía).USA:

Tricontinental Film Center, 1978.


Salvador Allende puts into motion a program of profound social and political transformations. From the first day, in order to resist against him [Socialist president, Salvador Allende], the [political] Right begins to organize a series of salvage strikes while the White House asphyxiates him economically.  Despite the boycott – in March of 1973 – the [political] parties that supported Allende win 43.4 % of the votes.  The Right realizes that legal mechanisms will not serve their interests, and from this moment on its strategy is a Coup d’état.



Guzmán, Patricio. Battle of Chile: Part 2 (El golpe de estado). USA: First Run Features,



The film starts with a roar with the failed coup d'etat, & from there builds up the tragic story of the Allende lead "Marxist" party, telling us who plotted against them & why, all set behind the backdrop of mass public support, eventually quashed by right-wing terror.



Guzmán, Patricio. Battle of Chile: Part 3 (El poder popular). USA: Unifilms, 1980.


Completed two years after _Batalla de Chile: La insurrección de la burguesía, La (1975)_ and _Batalla de Chile: El golpe de estado, La (1976)_, this film deals with the creation of thousands of local groups of "popular power" by ordinary workers and peasants to distribute food; occupy, guard, and run factories and farms; oppose black-market profiteering; and link together neighborhood social service organizations, first as a defense against strikes and lockouts by factory owners, tradesmen, and professional bodies opposed to the Allende government, and then increasingly as Soviet-type bodies demanding more resolute action by the government against the right.



Guzmán, Patricio. Chile: Obstinate Memory. USA: First Run Features, 1997.


After decades of fascist rule in Chile, Patricio Guzman returns to his country to screen his documentary, Battle of Chile, which until the time of the filming was banned by authorities. His audience, a new generation of Chileans who remember little of the revolution and ensuing coup reflect on their experience of watching the film after so many years of repression.



Guzmán, Patricio. The Pinochet Case.  USA: First Run Features, 2002.


True story of the saga that was hoped to be the long-awaited justice brought to bear upon Augosto Pinochet, Chilean dictator from 1973 to 1990. In September 1998, Pinochet flew to London on a pleasure trip but experienced back pain and underwent an operation in the London Clinic. Upon waking, he was arrested by Scotland Yard. Could it be that this was to become the first Latin American dictator to answer for crimes while serving as Head of State? After 500 days of house arrest, he nevertheless eventually returned unscathed to Chile, despite the compelling case built against him before & during this period by a young Spanish prosecutor, Carlos Castresana.




Herzog, Werner. Aguierre: der Zorn Gottes. USA: New Yorker Films, 1977.


After the destruction of the Incan Empire during the Spanish Conquest of the

Americas, a group of Spaniards, led by Lope de Aguirre, leaves the mountains of Peru to sail down the Amazon River in search of gold (El Dorado) and eternal fame.  The journey quickly becomes perilous as the group is depleted, morale deteriorates and fights ensure among the crewmembers. 



Joffé, Roland. The Mission. USA: Warner Bros., 1986.


This film portrays the conflicting ideologies that characterized the Conquest of the Americas, specifically showing the Jesuits in Brazil who attempted to protect the indigenous population from the mistreatment of the pro-slavery Portuguese conquistadors.



Kaplan, Betty (director).  Of Love and Shadows.  Spain: Miramax, 1994.


A film based on Chilean author Isabella Allende’s book with the same title, portrays the love of an unlikely couple, Irene and Francisco.  She, a member of the upper-class that has chosen to turn a blind eye the atrocities befalling the public; he, the son of a university professor and a family that is very aware of the political repression.  On their journey to find a missing girl, the two find more than what they had bargained for and put their lives in danger to uncover the truth of the wrongdoings committed by the military government.



Kazan, Elia. Viva Zapata!. USA: 20th Century Fox Film Corp, 1952.


This film depicts the story of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata who led a rebellion against the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz in the early 1900’s.



Loach, Ken (director).  Carla’s Song.  United Kingdom: Shadow Distribution, 1996.


Carla’s Song is the story of two lovers who return to the woman’s homeland of Nicaragua during the 1987 struggle between the Sandanistas and the Contras in order to free the woman from her past.  Their love, however, is unable to transcend the societal terror the two find in Nicaragua. **



Malkovich, John. The dancer upstairs. USA: 20th Century Fox, 2002.


A detective in an unnamed Latin American country searches for a revolutionary guerilla leader that opposes the fascist government.

Mandoki, Luis. Voces inocentes. Mexico: 20th Century Fox, 2004.

Voces inocentes portrays the struggles of a young boy in El Salvador during the Civil War of the 1980’s who has to choose between enlisting in the army, or joining guerilla forces.


Marston, Joshua. Maria, Full of Grace. USA: Fine Line Features, 2004.

Maria, a young pregnant Colombian woman becomes a drug mule out of her desperation to make money to help her family situation and give a better life to her future child.



Meirelles, Fernando; Lund, Katia. City of God. USA: Miramax Films, 2002


Ciudade de Deus portrays the often violent realities lived in the “favelas” (shantytowns) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



Nava, Gregory. El Norte. Farmington Hills, Mich.: CBS/Fox Video, 1984.


Two young Mayan Indians, a brother and sister, travel from their remote Guatemalan village, after the military regime destroys their village and family. They arrive first in Mexico, then at the "promised land" of the north--Los Angeles. **



Piñeyro, Marcelo. Kamchatka.  Argentina: Argentina Video Home, 2003.


This film portrays the military coup and dictatorship in Argentina as seen through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy.



Polanski, Roman.  Death and the Maiden.  United States: Fine Line, 1994.


This movie is based on the play by Chilean author Ariel Dorfman, which portrays the life of a torture survivor now living a normal life who, after over a decade since her trauma, has a chance encounter with the man who tortured her.  The film portrays the tense and complex relationship between the three main characters: the torture victim, her husband, and his new friend, who is also her torturer. 



Puenzo, Luis. La Historia oficial. USA: Almi Pictures, 1985.


Also known as, The Official Story, set in Buenos Aires, Argentina – portrays the experience of an upper-middle class woman, her husband and adopted daughter, after the fall of the military dictatorship that had ruled Argentina since 1976. 



Salles, Walter. Motorcycle Diaries. USA: Focus Features, 2004.


Diarios de motocicleta portrays the motorcycle trip through South America taken by Ernesto “Che” Guevara in his youth during which he learns of the realities of his continent.



Sanger, Jonathan.  Down Came a Blackbird.  United States: Viacom Pictures, 1995.


In this film, a United States journalist (Laura Dern) and her lover go to an anonymous South-American country to interview a rebel leader.  The two are arrested, however, during a protest, separated, and tortured.  The journalist returns to the United States after being released and tries to begin the healing process.  Her past still haunts her, and she finds herself at a center for survivors of torture to do an article about its founder, a Holocaust survivor.  The article is difficult for her to write, however, and more pain and conflict erupt as a mysterious South American professor arrives at the center. **



Schnabel, Julian. Before night falls. USA: Fine Line Features, 2000.


This film is based on the memoir by Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990) – who is persecuted due to his homosexuality by the Castro regime and whose final resort in attempting to avoid further persecution is to flee his native country. 



Spottiswoode, Roger.  Under Fire.  United States:  MGM, 1983.


Under Fire tells the story of photographer Russell Price (Nick Nolte) who goes to Nicaragua with a radio journalist.  The two travel with the guerillas fighting against the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Somoza and end up helping the guerrillas fool the world into believing their leader is still alive. **



Stone, Oliver. Comandante. USA: HBO Documentary, 2003


This documentary records the director’s (Oliver Stone) meeting with Fidel Castro.



Stone, Oliver. Looking for Fidel. USA: Warner Home Video, 2004


This documentary records the director’s (Oliver Stone) interview of Fidel Castro regarding his recent crackdown on Cuban dissidents – also interviewed are men awaiting execution for attempting to hijack a ferry with the intentions of escaping Cuba.



Stone, Oliver. Salvador. USA: MGM/UA Home Entertainment Inc., 1986.


A US journalist travels to El Salvador to record the events of the country’s military dictatorship of the 1980’s.



Tort, Gerardo. De la calle. Mexico: 20th Century Fox Film de Mexico, 2001.


This film portrays the life and struggles of a group of street kids in Mexico City.



Wood, Andrés. Machuca. USA: Menemsha Entertainment, 2005.


In 1973, in Santiago, Chile under the first socialist president democratically elected in a Latin-American country, President Salvador Allende, the principal of the Saint Patrick School, Father McEnroe (Ernesto Malbran) makes a trial of integration between students of the upper and lower classes. The bourgeois boy Gonzalo Infante (Matías Quer) and the boy from the slum Pedro Machuca (Ariel Mateluna) become great friends, while the conflicts on the streets leads Chile to the bloody and repressive military coup of General Augusto Pinochet on 11 September 1973, changing definitely their lives, their relationship and their country.


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