Caseros Prison in Buenos Aires, a Sobering Reminder

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La carcel de Caseros at sunriseThe Caseros Prison in Buenos Aires is not just a regular jail. Used to lock up political prisoners during La Guerra Sucia (Dirty War) of Argentina, it is the cause of much controversy and criticism. Visiting the ‘carcel de Caseros’ is a sobering reminder of the turmoil of Argentina’s not-too-distant past. Caseros prison has long been abandoned, and from outside the formidable but crumbling walls you can see the imposing central tower, which stands like a silent, hollow sentinel.

Caseros Prison towers.Close to the intersection of Avenida Entre Rios and Avenida Caseros, the jail is located in a tranquil part of southern Buenos Aires. In theory, Caseros Prison should no longer exist; it is a cruel reminder of the atrocities of the Dirty War. Political prisoners were held there during the military dictatorship and the survivers tell stories of the inhumane conditions and terror they were subjected to (up to 30,000 people “disappeared” during the last military dictatorship).

The government of Buenos Aires announced in March 2003 that “in 130 days the building is going to disappear.” However, because of legal issues and potential dangers associated with its demolition to the neighbors (among them two hospitals), the process is taking much longer than expected, and four years later the walls still stand.
The walls of Caseros jail in Buenos Aires.Caseros Jail, which takes up two city blocks, contains the newer prison, which is being dismantled, and the old prison, which, dating back to 1870, is of great historical significance. There are many ways to get to the jail, as Caseros is a busy avenue. Among the options by bus are lines 101 from the center heading towards Parque Patricios and 28 from the southern suburbs of San Telmo and Barracas.

Thanks for the CC-licensed photos, Caseros11, Caseros12, and Caseros6 go to Tobias Baccas.


eve on October 15, 07

This is a really good post. I’ve had this photo of the carcel as my screen saver for a while. There’s an exhibit covering the history of Las Madres at the Cultural Center Rojos belonging to the University of Buenos Aires that includes mention of the other sites associated with Los Desaparacidos like the ESMA.
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César Gonzalez on October 16, 07

Thanks for the picture and the tip on the exhibit Eve!

[…] The answer usually lies in word of mouth, but any random night at the neighborhood centro cultural can prove fruitful. A flyer at a bar listing a party Saturday night at the centro cultural in Parque Patricios (also home to Caseros prison) led straight to a goldmine in local hip hop, reggae, and cumbia talent. […]

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