Rapoport Center Hosts Film Screening and Panel Discussions to Commemorate the 35th Anniversary of the Chilean Coup

Sept. 3, 2008

AUSTIN, Texas — The Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice and the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at The University of Texas at Austin will present two events on Sept. 11 and 12 to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Chilean coup d'etat and to honor the donation of Joyce Horman's archives to the Benson Collection.

The events and acquisition of the archives are part of a collaborative project between the Benson Collection and the Rapoport Center to make accessible primary resources about human rights in Latin America.

Joyce Horman's husband, American journalist Charles Horman, was one of the thousands of people who disappeared or were murdered in Chile following the Sept. 11, 1973 coup by a military junta headed by General Augusto Pinochet that overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. Joyce Horman, with her father-in-law Edmund Horman, has spent years attempting to determine exactly what happened to her husband and what role the U.S. government might have played in his death.

Horman's archives document this search for truth and include correspondence with government authorities, numerous declassified records and proceedings from her landmark lawsuit Joyce Horman v. Henry A. Kissinger. The collection closely examines the U.S. government's knowledge of events leading to Charles Horman's murder, raises themes of legal accountability for human rights abuses and provides insight into the lasting effects of torture and disappearances on individuals and societies.

For Joyce Horman, the archives now at the Benson Collection represent "a unique collection that can add to the public's knowledge and understanding of the human rights abuse sometimes inflicted directly by our government and sometimes indirectly through governments supported by our government."

On Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m. in the University of Texas Mezes Auditorium (MEZ 1.306), the Rapoport Center and the Benson Collection will host a screening of the movie "Missing" (1982), directed by Costa Gavras and starring Sissy Spacek and Jack Lemmon, which is based on Joyce and Ed Horman's investigation of Charles Horman's disappearance. The film was banned in Chile during Pinochet's regime and was challenged in a number of lawsuits by U.S. officials portrayed in the film. Following the screening, a question-and-answer interview and discussion will take place with Joyce Horman and Peter Kornbluh, director of the Chile Documentation Project of the National Security Archives. Kornbluh helped Horman secure many of the classified documents that played a vital role in her research and are now part of her archives. The panelists will discuss the Chilean coup, the process of making and defending the film, and its impact on bringing awareness to human rights abuses in Chile and the U.S.'s role in them.

On Sept. 12, the discussion will continue at noon in the Benson Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room with a panel entitled "Pinochet and the Pursuit of Justice: Chile Thirty-Five Years Later." Horman and Kornbluh will be joined by panelist Elizabeth Lira Kornfeld. Kornfeld is Chile's leading human rights psychologist and director of the Center of Ethics at Universidad Jesuita Alberto Hurtado in Santiago, Chile. She has written numerous books and articles on political reconciliation and on the therapy and memory of victims of human rights violations. Her visit is sponsored by the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, where she will spend the following week as a visiting resource professor.

Press contacts:

For more information about the Joyce Horman archives or other human rights collections at the Benson Latin American Collection, contact Christian Kelleher, archivist, at kelleher@mail.utexas.edu or 512-495-4581.

For more information about the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, contact Sarah Cline, center administrator, at scline@law.utexas.edu or 512-232-4857.

Read the full story about the acquisition of the papers and the upcoming events.

For more information, contact: Travis Willmann, University of Texas Libraries, 512 495 4644.