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Juan E. Méndez Book Award Ceremony


Francesca Lessa

The Condor Trials: Transnational Repression and Human Rights in South America (Yale University Press, 2022) by Francesca Lessa is the winner of the 2023 Juan E. Méndez Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America. The judges were unanimous in their choice of the winner. Through the voices of survivors and witnesses, human rights activists, judicial actors, journalists, and historians, The Condor Trials unravels the secrets of transnational repression masterminded by South American dictators between 1969 and 1981. Under Operation Condor, they kidnapped, tortured, and murdered hundreds of exiles. South America became a zone of terror and impunity for those who perpetuated the violence. Lessa shows how networks of justice seekers transcended national borders to win justice for victims. Based on extensive fieldwork, archival research, trial ethnography, and over one hundred interviews, The Condor Trials explores South America's past and present and sheds light on ongoing struggles for justice as its societies come to terms with the unparalleled atrocities of their not-so-distant pasts. Lessa will accept the award and talk about her work on Wednesday, February 22, at 5 pm in The Garage at Smith Warehouse on the Duke University campus.


Civic Engagement/Social Action, Ethics, Human Rights, Humanities