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  • Papers in Latin America mean something. Or better said, they provide meaning by substantiating a claim.

    Most of the victims of dictatorships in Bolivia lack papers verifying their torture or the murder of their loved ones - their assailants rarely took their victim's future needs into account. Without these papers, you cannot receive government compensation for your loss.

    When you lack papers certifying what you say is true, you seek substitutes.

    At vigil-occupy-protests such as the one currently happening in downtown La Paz, papers are a central component. Everyone has something to "prove" what they say is true: newspaper clippings, old photos, handwritten lists of names.

    In this battle over history between the government and the victims, then, the dispute is not over the truth of their stories, but the truth of their papers. Truth may or may not lie in the ink of a photocopied newspaper article.

    This woman holds copies of old newspapers detailing what happened to her and her daughter under the military rulers of this country. For her, this is proof.
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