Human Rights Archive Blog Posts
I am Carmen Valdivieso Hulbert, a New York-based journalist-filmmaker born in Peru. I am currently co-directing and producing Uchuraccay, an investigative, human rights documentary for my company, Quinoa Films Inc.
The documentary attempts to find answers related to the assassinations of eight journalists and their guide in 1983 in Uchuraccay, a hamlet in the Andes of Peru. The murders occurred amidst warfare between the Maoist group, Shining Path, and Peruvian military forces. As part of my investigation of the case, I found valuable material among the Coletta Youngers Papers at the Human Rights Archive in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.Map of Peru showing location of Uchuraccay.
In the process of this ten-year investigation, I have found a large amount of information which at first did not stand out due to the complexity of the case. In February 2015, I found a copy of the original report on the assassinations filed by the government-appointed investigative commission in March of 1983. The group was led by Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa. According to the commission’s findings, the villagers of Uchuraccay were the sole culprits of the murders. Furthermore, the report fails to cite any military presence in the area when the murders took place.
This report was based on testimony given to the commission by the military chief of Ayacucho, the capital city of Huamanga Province, where Uchuraccay is located. He stated that the last military flight to the area took place on Sunday, January 23, 1983. His testimony conflicts with information I found in an article published on January 27th of the same year in the leading newspaper, El Comercio. The article, based on information received from the same military headquarters, indicates that a group of military and police officials arrived in the area from Lima on January 26th. Around noon, the group visited Uchuraccay, among other areas. This was the very day that the journalists arrived in Uchuraccay and were allegedly murdered around 4 p.m.
The discrepancy only hit me after I found and read the investigative report this past February. Had I not found this particular document in the Coletta Youngers Papers, it would have taken me longer to connect the dots.
A friend I met on my last trip to Lima in January of 2014 had mentioned that Javier Azcue, the journalist who wrote the story in El Comercio, had told him about the importance of that visit, and that no journalist had taken note of it. I was not sure what he was referring to until I re-read the official report at the Rubenstein.
On January 30, 1983, the date of the exhumation of the eight journalists’ bodies, villagers in Uchuraccay told a journalist who spoke Quechua, one of the main Peruvian indigenous languages, that the soldiers had told them to kill any stranger who arrived in the community on foot, and that they should remove their eyes and cut out their tongues while they were still alive. Apparently that did not happen, as indicated by the newspapers clippings I found among the Coletta Youngers Papers. While at the Rubenstein, I found some enlarged newspapers clippings of La Republica that showed close-up photos taken the day the bodies were exhumed. The photographs show the faces of five of the eight murdered journalists. As gruesome as these images are, they show two of the journalists with eyes half-closed and intact, and three with their eyes closed but without signs of having been removed, as some of the villagers had previously stated.Photocopy of article from La Republica. From the Coletta Youngers Papers.
Previously I had only heard the recordings of the villagers’ testimonies in their native Quechua, along with a transcript translated into Spanish. I was therefore able to recognize one of the villager’s photo and name in the newspaper clipping.
Post contributed by Carmen Valdivieso Hulbert, Rubenstein Library researcher, journalist, and filmmaker.
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The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University has received a grant of $200,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support Voices of Change: Preserving and Presenting Radio Haiti. This two-year project, set to begin in July 2015, will preserve and make widely available the written- and spoken-word archives of Radio Haiti Inter, the country’s oracle of democracy from the late 1960s until its closure in 2003. The announcement of the award coincides with the fifteen year anniversary of the assassination of the station’s owner and Haiti’s most prominent journalist, Jean Dominique, and amidst continuing news coverage about the ongoing trial of his accused murderers.Jean Dominique and Michèle Montas at Radio Haiti Inter, 1995
The Human Rights Archive at the Rubenstein Library received the archives of Radio Haiti in late 2013 as a gift from Michèle Montas, the station’s co-anchor and widow of Dominique. “To me, Duke University was the most welcoming environment for these unique archives, with knowledgeable teams of scholars and archivists able to preserve the past and help to use that recent past as a tool to re- imagine the future,” commented Montas about her decision to place the archives at Duke.
As evidenced in the more than 3,000 recordings and 70 linear feet of paper records comprising the collection, Radio Haiti distinguished itself from other media outlets in Haiti by covering not only events in Port-au-Prince but news from the rural areas of Haiti, including a grassroots democratic movement that eventually overthrew the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986. It was the first independent radio station in Haiti, and the first to broadcast in the language of the people, Haitian Creole, instead of the French spoken only by Haiti’s elite.
The collection is one of the most important and comprehensive resources available for studying and understanding the recent history of Haiti. Primary materials related to Haiti are relatively rare, and the archives of Radio Haiti are particularly distinct both for the depth and breadth of their coverage. According to Laurent Dubois, project advisor and Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History at Duke, “The Radio Haiti Archives represent a tremendous resource for scholars, educators, and the general public interested in culture and politics in Haiti from the late 1970s to the present. Under the leadership of Jean Dominique and Michèle Montas, the station served as a critical voice for reportage, debate, editorials, and news for several decades.” Access to these important primary materials will allow scholars to write the history of the country in nuanced and participatory ways.As part of preparing the grant proposal, Library staff completed a pilot project cleaning and digitizing a selection of tapes from the Radio Haiti Archives.
Grant funding will support a full-time project archivist fluent in both Haitian Creole and French to oversee the arrangement, description, digitization and preservation of these materials. To support multilingual and international research, audio recordings will be described in French, Haitian Creole, and English, and will be made freely available online via Duke’s Digital Collections, the Digital Public Library of America, and the Digital Library of the Caribbean.
In order to promote easy access to these materials in Haiti, the Library will partner with the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke and FOKAL (La Fondation Connaissance et Liberté/Fondasyon Konesans Ak Libète), a community organization in Haiti, to place digital copies of the recordings in libraries throughout Haiti. The team will also explore creating podcasts from the recordings to allow for easier access in regions with intermittent internet connectivity.
The Radio Haiti collection is a singular resource supporting a nuanced and comprehensive understanding of the last 50 years’ of Haiti’s history. By preserving and making accessible these archives, Duke University Libraries seeks to advance the dialogue not only about Haiti’s past but also about its future.
Those interested in learning more about the archives of Radio Haiti are encouraged to visit the pilot site developed collaboratively between the Forum for Scholars and Publics and the Library at http://radiohaitilives.com/. This site includes access in Creole and English to all the recordings reformatted as part of the planning phase of the grant.
Post contributed by Kat Stefko, Head of Technical Services.
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Date: Thursday March 19, 2015
Location: Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, Franklin Garage
Contact: Patrick Stawski, email@example.com 919-660-5823.
Rights!Camera!Action presents Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare , 2012 winner of the Full Frame Film Festival Human Rights Award. Directed and produced by Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke, Escape Fire tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: how can we save our badly broken healthcare system?
It’s not surprising that healthcare tops many Americans’ concerns and is at the center of a political firestorm in our nation’s Capitol. But the current battle over cost and access does not ultimately address the root of the problem: we have a disease-care system, not a healthcare system. Escape Fire examines the powerful forces maintaining the status quo, a medical industry designed for quick fixes rather than prevention, for profit-driven care rather than patient-driven care. After decades of resistance, a movement to bring innovative high-touch, low-cost methods of prevention and healing into our high-tech, costly system is finally gaining ground. A panel discussion will follow the screening.
Sponsored by the Human Rights Archive at the Rubenstein Library, and the Duke Human Rights Center @ FHI.
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Óscar Martínez, the winner of the 2014 WOLA-Duke Book Award, will give a talk and read an excerpt from The Beast: Riding The Rails And Dodging Narcos On The Migrant Trail. This book is Martínez’s account of the thousands of migrant disappearances that occur between the remote desert towns of Altar, Mexico, and Sasabe, Arizona, and the stories that he garnered during his two years traveling along the migrant trail to the U.S.
Martínez is the seventh author to win the annual WOLA-Duke Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America, which honors the best current, non-fiction book published in English on human rights, democracy, and social justice in contemporary Latin America. According to Holly Ackerman, Librarian for Librarian for Latin American, Iberian and Latino/a Studies at Duke University and one of this year’s book prize judges, “Martínez has written a definitional book with raw authenticity and graceful prose. The Beast does for Central America’s migrants what Michael Harrington’s The Other America did for the poor in mid-20th Century America; what Randy Shilts’ The Band Played On did for those affected by the AIDS epidemic and what Lincoln Steffens’ The Shame of the Cities did to confront corruption in turn of the century urban America. It uses frank encounters to promote outrage at social injustice.”
Óscar Martínez writes for ElFaro.net, the first online newspaper in Latin America, and is currently investigating gang violence in Latin America. In 2008, Martínez won the Fernando Benítez National Journalism Prize in Mexico, and in 2009, he was awarded the Human Rights Prize at the José Simeón Cañas Central American University in El Salvador.
There will be a book signing and reception immediately following the reading.
Date: Thursday February 12, 2015
Location: Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, Franklin Garage
For more information contact Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist, Duke University at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-660-5823.
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Rights! Camera! Action! Presents: “The One Who Builds” (2013)
Directors: Hillary Pierce, Peter Carolla, and Nick Gooler
Total Running Time: 40 minutes
Date: Wednesday, February 5, 2015
Time: 7:00-9:00 PM
Location: Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, FHI Garage
The One Who Builds is a film about the life and work of Dr. Omer Omer, once a Sudanese refugee, now an American citizen who is paying it forward as the director of a refugee resettlement organization. Through the North Carolina African Services Coalition in Greensboro, Omer has transcended boundaries dictated by society, race and religion to build a new village, one friendship at a time.
Co-Directors Hillary Pierce, Peter Carolla, and North Carolina African Services Coalition Executive Director Million Mekonnen will lead a panel discussion will follow the screening.
Presented by the Duke Human Rights Center@FHI, John Hope Franklin Research Center, Human Rights Archive and Archive of Documentary Arts, Rubenstein Library, and Screen/Society
For more information please contact: John B. Gartrell, 919-660-5922, email@example.com
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