LAC Main Seminar Series: Launch of “The Condor Trials: Transnational Repression and Human Rights in South America” book by Francesca Lessa

Launch of “The Condor Trials: Transnational Repression and Human Rights in South America” book by Francesca Lessa

Zoom registration link:


Please join us for this roundtable celebrating the launch of Francesca Lessa’s second monograph, The Condor Trials. The event will be chaired by Professor Diego Sanchez-Ancochea (Head of the Oxford Department of International Development, ODID) and will include the following panellists:

  • Jocelyn Alexander is Professor of Commonwealth Studies at ODID, University of Oxford. She is a social and political historian and is currently working on the cold war military history of southern Africa’s liberation movements. She is co-author of Violence and Memory: One Hundred Years in the ‘Dark Forests’ of Matabeleland (with Terence Ranger and JoAnn McGregor), and author of The Unsettled Land: State-making and the politics of land in Zimbabwe, 1893-2003.
  • Par Engstrom (BA UCL, MSc London, DPhil Oxford) is Associate Professor of Human Rights at the Institute of the Americas, University College London, and Visiting Professor at the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA), at Sciences-Po.
  • Ezequiel Gonzalez Ocantos is Associate Professor in the Qualitative Study of Comparative Political Institutions in the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, and a Professorial Fellow of Nuffield College. He is the author of several books, including  Shifting Legal Visions: Judicial Change and Human Rights Trials in Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2016).
  • Francesca Lessa is Departmental Lecturer in Latin America Studies and Development, at ODID and the Latin American Centre, University of Oxford. She is also the author of Memory and Transitional Justice in Argentina and Uruguay: Against Impunity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).


Book synopsis:


Through the voices of survivors, human rights activists, judicial actors, and experts, The Condor Trials unravels the secrets of transnational repression masterminded by South American dictators between 1969 and 1981. Under Operation Condor, the regimes of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay closely monitored hundreds of exiles and kidnapped, tortured, murdered, or forcibly returned them to their countries of origin. This cross-border network designed to silence opposition in exile transformed South America into a borderless zone of terror and impunity. Francesca Lessa shows how, gradually, transnational networks of activists materialized and effectively transcended national borders to achieve justice for the victims of these horrors. Based on extensive fieldwork, archival research, trial ethnography, and over 100 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.

The Condor Trials - Discount Flyer