Steward of Justice and Peace

In the 1970s and ’80s, Latin America was a hotbed of Cold War-related conflict and struggle. From the Sandinista revolution and the Contras in Nicaragua to the killing of Archbishop Óscar Romero in El Salvador, Latin America was in turmoil.

Operation Condor was a campaign of political repression carried out by U.S.-backed Latin American dictatorships and was designed to eliminate tens of thousands of left-wing activists. It was the idea of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who enlisted Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Brazil in a continent-wide campaign of oppression in which disappearances and torture were commonplace.

In the lesson, students will examine the roles of religion and nonviolence in modern protest movements. After reading excerpts from Adolfo Pérez Esquivel’s Nobel Peace Prize lecture and garnering an understanding of Argentina’s “dirty war,” students will learn more about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the process of restorative justice. The culminating activity for this lesson plan explores the strong connection between art and protesting, encouraging students to express their views on justice through a creative endeavor. They’ll also be able to define terms and words associated with the dirty war, such as liberation theology, juntas, atrocities, and restorative justice.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel is an artist, architect, and activist for peace. He is a champion of nonviolent reform in his homeland of Latin America and across the globe.

Because all the activities involve independent or group research that can be done online, this lesson plan fits into either virtual or in-person classrooms, with opportunities for discussion and collaboration on Zoom or with classmates.