Photographs by Richard Freeman
The first week I arrived in Buenos Aires was during Easter in 1987. That week there were uprisings led by junior officers on army bases across the country. They no longer wished to stand trial for the atrocities comitted by the military dictatorship from 1976-1983. Argentina was the first nation in Latin America to put its former military leaders on trial in civilian courts. I accompanied my new friends to the Plaza de Mayo and waited with nearly 1 million of their countrymen for over 12 hours until President Raul Alfonsín appeared on the balcony of the Presidential Palace overlooking the plaza to announce that "There will be no bloodshed in Argentina tonight!" It was like being on the set of a "B" movie about a revolution in some banana republic. But this was no movie. The fear and concern on the faces of the people in the plaza was palpable. Thus began my fascination with the country. Eventually I returned for two years to do anthropological field research on the culture of their politics, participating with the youth group from the Democratic-Socialist Party (the JPSD), the oldest socialist party in Latin America. Being such a prime focus of my time there, I have amassed quite a collection of images. To aid with navigation, I have broken the portfolio into subgroups. For more on the aspect of the visual politics of the city, and my use of photography in ethnography, see my publication entitled: "The City as Mise-en-Scène: A Visual Exploration of the culture of politics in Buenos Aires." See the bibliography link on the Buenos Aires Homepage for the full citation.