100 Words: On The Shadows Of The Disappeared

Jun 11, 2013
Originally published on June 12, 2013 11:38 am

In 1975, the right-wing dictatorships of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay embarked on a military plan called Operation Condor. The mission was to eliminate opponents to the regimes. Many of the victims came to be known as the "Disappeared," because the government would simply make its detractors vanish.

It's estimated that at least 60,000 people died as a result of Operation Condor. From the Amazon jungle in Brazil to the cold lands of Patagonia, thousands of victims were placed in unmarked graves, while others were thrown alive into the ocean from airplanes.

By documenting the survivors and families of those who were killed, I hope to help generations of South Americans know and better understand this dark period in their countries.

Joao de Carvalho Pina was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1980 and started working as a photographer at 18. He's spent most of the past decade working in Latin America. Operation Condor stories have led him across South America and to Cuba. More of his work can be found on FotoVisura.

100 Words is a series in which photographers describe their work, in their own words. Curated by Graham Letorney.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.