It started with a coincidence — when Marc Raboy happened to discover that he shared a surname with a young leftwing Argentinian journalist who in June 1976 was ambushed by a rightwing death squad while driving with her family in the city of Mendoza. Alicia’s partner, the celebrated poet and fellow Montonero Francisco “Paco” Urondo, was killed on the spot. Their baby daughter was taken and placed in an orphanage. Her daughter was ultimately rescued but Alicia was never heard from again.
In Looking for Alicia, Raboy pursues her story not simply to learn what happened when the post-Perón government in Argentina turned to state terror, but to understand what drove Alicia and others to risk their lives to oppose it. Author and subject share not only a surname — a distant ancestral connection — but youthful rebellion, journalistic ambition, and the radical politics that were a hallmark of the 1960s. Their destinies diverged through a combination of choice and circumstance.
Using family archives, interviews with those who knew her, and transcripts from the 2011 trial of former Argentine security forces personnel involved in her disappearance, Raboy reassembles Alicia’s story. He supplements his narrative with documents from Argentina’s attempts to deal with the legacy of the military dictatorship, such as the 1984 report of the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons, Nunca Más (“Never Again”); as well as secret diplomatic correspondence recently made public through the U.S. State Department’s Argentina Declassification Project.
Looking for Alicia immerses readers in the years of state terror in Argentina which, decades later, cast their shadow still. It also gives an unforgettably human face to the many thousands who disappeared during that dark era, those they left behind, and the power of the memories that bind them.
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