chapter  5
13 Pages

Constructing the past and constructing themselves: the Uruguayan military’s memory of the dictatorship

WithMariana Achugar

The investigation of representations of political conflict in discourse can help in understanding

current debates over how to remember traumatic pasts. Coming to terms with the past entails

exploring the role different social actors had in those events as well as how those events are

remembered. As with the Holocaust in Europe and Apartheid in South Africa, Southern Cone

countries are struggling with the traumatic past of the 1970s dictatorships, which constituted

a break in the social contract and the role of the military in society. Debates about human

right abuses and military misconduct during the dictatorship are still part of political debate

in Uruguay. The military has not admitted any wrong doing and until 2006 the government

had not created a political situation in which the judicial system could investigate crimes

committed during the dictatorship (Skaar, 2007).1