Archives of Terror, Paraguay

Amnesty International Group 254 sponsored a Kansas tour of university campuses by the Co-Directors of the Paraguayan Center for Documentation and Archive of Human Rights (CDyA) . The visit by Dr. Luis Maria Benitez Riera and Lic. Rosa Palau Aguilar took place September 21-28, 2003, and included the University of Kansas, Pittsburg State University, Washburn University, the Kansas Supreme Court, and Kansas State University. Co-sponsoring the tour were theKansas/Paraguay Partners and the Kansas State University Office of Diversity and Dual Careers . Site visits were arranged by the KU Center for Latin American Studies , PSU's International Studies Program , Washburn University School of Law , and the Kansas Supreme Court.

The general goal of this project was to establish a foundation of Kansas support to CDyA for disclosing widespread human rights violations carried out by the Stroessner dictatorship and Operation Condor. Two specific objectives were to 1) advance public education on the history surrounding the Archive, and the need for its protection and employment; and 2) use this issue to attract public attention and members to Amnesty International for its human rights work. At each site in the visit, a public lecture was given by the CDyA Directors, along with meetings with faculty, students, and community leaders.

The organizers drew attention to the 2003 "Año de Memoria" (Year of Memory) observed in Paraguay in remembrance of past human rights violations. In this they received support from a Proclamation by Governor Kathleen Sebelius, declaring the tour week as the "Kansas/Paraguayan Week of Remembrance and Reconciliation". Samples of advance publicity before the visiting lectures included campus press releases , community newsletter annoucements, student newspaper articles , flyers, and public viewing of a 1992 BBC video about the Archive, Secrets of the General . In addition, background readings from the library and articles compiled from websites were made available to students, and faculty were encouraged to send classes to the public lectures.

The Paraguayan Students Association at KSU collaborated on publicity and translation, distributing flyers and programs for the lecture, which was attended by approximately 200 faculty and students. At Washburn University, a video was made of the public lecture, which will soon be offered online from this website [Check this location in November].

In the Kansas Supreme Court, CDyA Directors met by Justice Lawton Nuss , who discussed the structure and function of the Kansas judicial system and made inquiries into the status of the Archives. They toured the Supreme Court Law Library with Director Fred Knecht, who demonstrated online information systems serving the law community. In the Office of the Governor, they were met by Lieutenant Governor John Moore , who presented them with the Governor's Proclamation.

More background information on the historical context to the archive at CDyA can be found in the libraries and on websites from several Kansas universities. For a rapid entry into the subject, cut and paste the following subject heading : Paraguay Politics and government 1954-1989 to a search of the University of Kansas Libraries Online Catalog and visit the Archive of Terror website from Pittsburg State University.

As a result of this visit, several initiatives are being explored in Kansas to garner assistance for CDyA. They include preservation assistance, seeking support to complete the cataloging of all archive records, and aid to public education and research based on the archive. A Kansas-wide support group has been initiated by AI Group 254 to follow up on the successful lecture tour, and we will use this website to report on events and opportunities for assistance in the coming year. To offer assistance, news, or related links, send email labeled "CDYA" to

Noticias de Paraguay (in Spanish)

Notices from Kansas (in English)