In the wake of the Cold War’s end, state violence, militarization, and militarism continue to ravage the Global South. Latin America is no exception, suffering the indelible footprints of prolonged state violence. We maintain that the recovery of historical memory is part of the antidote to historical injustices. Through active recovery of historical memory and records from our base in New York City, HMP is committed:

  • To cultivate historical memory of the forcibly disappeared, the tortured, the massacred, the victims of sexual violence, and those whose human rights were violated by planned and coordinated actions
  • To teach and raise awareness of mass atrocities and state violence in the public university and grassroots communities of New York City, with the goal of shaping a new generation of memory defenders, promoters, and human rights archivists, seeking truth, justice, and critical human rights
  • To pierce the veil of silence over state crimes, wars, and genocide in Latin America by creating an active online learning experience that connects historical memory to local materials and primary sources, including human rights courts files, forensic evidence, expert witnesses, oral testimonies, war photography, and journalistic accounts. To this effect, we are creating an open historical memory repository for students and researchers of Latin America
  • To organize cultural and educational historical memory events, workshops, and seminars focused on recovering and keeping alive historical and collective memory in Latin America, especially photography. By bringing the past into the present, we are also creating a space for dialogue over enduring ideological and political conflicts


Our public events serve to accomplish these goals:

  • Bring light to the often hidden realities of the aftermath of war, dictatorship and state violence to College’s students, faculty and staff.
  • Deepen and nuance the CUNY community’s understanding of the legacies of human rights abuses and efforts to memorialize victims and to create a transcultural memory.
  • Empower immigrant communities through the sharing of collective memories and learning about a past that is intrinsically related to groups’ identities.

Current events

Coming soon

Past events

© Somos los Otros NY

  • Antonio Tizapa, father of Jorge Antonio Tizapa, one of the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa
  • Marcia Esparza, Director, Historical Memory Project, Department of Criminal Justice, John Jay College
  • Gerardo Renique, History Department, CCNY
  • Florencia Ruiz Mendoza, Event Coordinator at Historical Memory Project

Historical Memory Project is proud to present Rebel Memory. This new series of dialogues featuring conferences, roundtables and seminars will highlight those hidden, rebellious memories from marginalized communities, so often neglected by official narratives in post-Cold War Latin America.

Our first event will focus on memory from the state of Guerrero, southern Mexico, where 43 students from Ayotzinapa were disappeared. The history of Guerrero is an example of the deplorable legacy of colonialism, still reflected through its repressive structures, disguised today as democracy or the “war on drugs” and where the possibility of living under the rule of law and democracy is still very elusive.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 West 59th Street, Conference Room 9.64
New York, NY 10019

All events are free and open to the public. RSVP requested.

Funding for this work was provided by a grant from the Office for the Advancement of Research at John Jay College.

© Juan Carlos Cáceres

The Historical Memory Project is honored to invite you to our upcoming event Rebel Memory #2: Legacies of State Terrorism in the Americas.
Legacies of State Terrorism in Latin America will analyze the inheritance of the recent past of countries where state terrorism, dictatorships, war and genocide are intimately linked to today’s corruption and criminalization of human rights defenders. The HMP considers this discussion urgent and necessary to understand and take action against ongoing legacies that hinder efforts to eradicate the root causes of violence in the region.


  • Ulrike Capdepón, Institute for Studies for Human Rights, Columbia University. Associate Researcher at the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) of the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA)
  • Julieta Cuéllar, Global Networks Program Manager, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience
  • Marcia Esparza, Founder and Co-Director, Historical Memory Project, Department of Criminal Justice, John Jay College
  • Gloria Ochoa Sotomayor, Social Anthropologist, Memorial Paine, Chile
  • Nina Schneider, Senior Research Fellow, Global South Study Center (GSSC), University of Cologne
  • Antonio Tizapa, father of Jorge Antonio Tizapa, one of the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa
  • Ximena Vial Lecaros, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Columbia University, and 2014 Fulbright scholarship
  • Jeff Blustein, moderator, Professor of Philosophy, The City College of New York, Co-Director, Historical Memory Project
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 West 59th Street, Conference Room 2.61
New York, NY 10019

All events are free and open to the public. RSVP requested.

Funding for this work was provided by a grant from the Office for the Advancement of Research at John Jay College.

Upcoming events

Coming soon


The recovery of historical memory is part of the antidote to historical injustices.

We share our unique archives of mass atrocities with our audience, providing a comparative lens on state violence, war, and genocide. Our collections expose the Massacres of Panzos in Guatemala, Villa Grimaldi in Chile, and the Santo Tomas Chichicastenango Firefighters’ records registering their daily work during the genocide in Guatemala, to name some of the horrific events, records and sites of memory that demand public attention. Our archives document the Cold War ideologies of National Security and Development embodied in local, U.S.-trained security forces and counterintelligence operations carried out in the region. By publicizing these silenced connections, we promote a humanist community that bears witness to mass atrocities and defends against them.

Media (Coming soon)

  • Newspaper articles
  • Letters
  • Testimonies
  • Audiovisual materials
  • Photography

Countries (In progress)

Click on the images to browse our content



In Guatemala, the army and its collaborators launched genocidal campaigns against impoverished poor Maya communities (1981-1983) in more than 600 massacres.



In Chile, the regime of General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte persecuted, detained, disappeared, tortured, killed and sexually abuse thousands of political opponents after his coup d'etat deposing democratically elected socialist President Salvador Allende.



During the genocide in Guatemala, Municipal Firefighters from the Maya township of Santo Tomás Chichicastenango kept a log registering in painstaking detail when the truck went out into the mountains picking up survivors and corpses. Mr. Victor Garcia was part of the team of firefighters.


Professor Marcia Esparza conceived the Historical Memory Project based on her field research experiences with the United Nations’ Historical Clarification Commission, or Truth Commission (1997-1999), which uncovered gruesome war atrocities against the rural Maya people of Guatemala. To continue to reveal state crimes, war, and genocide against the indigenous population, Afro-descendants, workers, students, and peasants, Professor Esparza established Historical Memory Project at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, a public institution serving the children and grandchildren of immigrants, many of whom have vicarious or direct experiences with the brutal realities of state violence, war, and genocide. Nearly 40% of John Jay’s student body is of Latino descent. Since 2002, Historical Memory Project is in direct, constant connection with the bustling diversity and immigrant history of New York City, where the history of wars, genocide, and military dictatorships resonates all too loudly.

Advisory Board

  • Alessandra Benedicty, Center for Worker Education (CWE), City College, CUNY
  • David Brotherton, John Jay College and Graduate Center, CUNY
  • Amalia Cordova, New York University
  • Daniel Feierstein, President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), UNTREF
  • Baltasar Garzón, former Judge, Spain
  • Matthew Gold, Digital Initiatives, Graduate Center, CUNY
  • Jennifer Harbury, U.S. Human Rights Lawyer and Activist
  • Angelica Macario, Maya K’iche Human Rights Activist, Chichicastenango, El Quiché, Guatemala
  • Gerardo Renique, City College, CUNY
  • Veronica de Negri, Chilean activist, Mother of Rodrigo Rojas de Negri

The HMP Team is grieving the recent loss of our esteemed Advisory Board Member, renowned criminologist Jock Young, Distinguished Professor, John Jay College and the Graduate Center, CUNY.


  • Marcia is a committed scholar of state crimes. In 2002, she founded the Historical Memory Project to preserve the collective memory of war and to promote critical awareness of long-term consequences of state violence and genocide in Latin America. Marcia’s field research includes interviewing war survivors as part of the United Nations’ Historical Clarification Commission in Guatemala (1997-1999), and later, with pro-army groups in the country’s highlands. Her post-doctoral research includes locating and examining Cold War human rights court files in Chile. She has co-edited State Violence and Genocide in Latin America: The Cold War Years (Routledge, 2009), with Daniel Feierstein, published in leading academic journals like the Journal of Genocide Research. Marcia has also received prestigious fellowships from the Ford Foundation (2010-2011), and the National Endowment for the Humanities, NEH (2011-2012). Currently, she is completing her second book, Silenced Communities: Legacies and Resistance to Militarization in Postwar Santo Tomas Chichicastenango, El Quiché, Guatemala (1997-2004). She contributes her extensive experience, disciplinary expertise, access to archival and multimedia materials, international professional network, and inspiring leadership to HMP’s vision.
  • Jeffrey Blustein is the Arthur Zitrin Professor of Bioethics and Professor of Philosophy at City College of the City University of New York. He is the sole author of four books, including most recently The Moral Demands of Memory (Cambridge UP, 2008) and Forgiveness and Remembrance: Remembering Wrongdoing in Personal and Public Life (Oxford UP, 2014). With Linda Farber Post, he is the author of Handbook for Health Care Ethics Committees (Johns Hopkins UP, 2015). Prof. Blustein teaches philosophy to undergraduates and to graduate students at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is excited to be co-director of the Historical Memory Project and looks forward to helping promote its valuable work.
  • Ecuadorian historian Paola Viteri has worked in museums, cultural centers, and with other researchers in her country in the areas of history, architecture, and art history. Her research involves subjects such as collective memory, social differentiation, and cultural identity. For some years, Paola has been researching about human rights violations in Latin America military dictatorships, especially those that occurred in Ecuador. Paola holds a bachelor degree in History Sciences from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. She has a certificate in Latin American Studies with an emphasis in Cultural Politics from the Andean Simón Bolívar University. She also obtained a certificate in Latin American Cultural Studies from the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO). Currently she is studying a Master of Arts in History-Practicum Option with a concentration in Public History at American Public University.
  • Stephanie has worked in different projects on human rights, public health and the preservation of memory for a number of years. Her interest is to combine quantitative and other research methodologies to improve the understanding of human rights violations and public health challenges during armed conflict. She has conducted field research with vulnerable populations in El Salvador, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Sierra Leone and other countries. She has received her Public Health Master Degree from Columbia University.
  • Pierre-Yves has over 25 years of experience, primarily as Copywriter and Creative Director, working with International advertising and marketing agencies, creating TV, print and digital campaigns for brands in all kinds of industries. He is eager to bring his expertise to Historical Memory Project (HMP) in all fields of communication. Pierre-Yves is also a Fine Art and Documentary Photographer, author of “Orphans & Widows”, a series on the genocide of Srebrenica and “The Escopeta Men”, a series on the legacy of violence in the aftermath of the war in Guatemala. For HMP, apart his role as Creative Consultant, he has curated a traveling exhibition, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the coup in Chile and showing the role of photography in the resistance to the dictatorship of General Pinochet.
  • Hernán is a Software Engineer with studies in the University of Chile, Santiago de Chile, and the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, with a large experience in research and development in world leading high technology companies. His current work involves using artificial intelligence concepts for the detection of failures in microprocessors and collateral software. Hernán collaborates with the Historical Memory Project as a Software Consultant.
  • Part time, paid thanks to a generous donation by our Co-Director, joined HMP Spring 2015: Researches potential funding sources; writes and edits grant proposals; participates in meetings; edits all printed correspondence.


We are grateful for the continuous support of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the City College of New York, the Center for Worker’s Education and the larger City University of New York (CUNY) for our endeavors and mission, with particular thanks to the Office for the Advancement of Research at John Jay College.


HMP is proud to work with up-and-coming scholars and human rights defenders by offering Undergraduate and Graduate Internships, as well as opportunities for Post-Doctoral Studies.

  • Internships (coming soon)
  • Post-Doctoral Studies (coming soon)

Since 2002, HMP is in direct, constant connection with the bustling diversity and immigrant history of New York City, where the history of wars, genocide, and military dictatorships resonates all too loudly.

Contact Us

Send Your Email

Contact Details

  • Email : info@historicalmemoryproject.com
  • Professor Jeff Blustein, Philosophy Department
    City College of New York, CUNY
    Co-Director, Historical Memory Project (HMP)
    160 Convent Avenue, NAC 5/145A
    New York, NY 10031
    T: (212) 650-7045
  • Professor Marcia Esparza, Criminal Justice Department
    Director, Historical Memory Project (HMP)
    455 West 59th Street, Suite 2125
    New York, NY 10019
    T: (646) 557-4744


We are thankful for our partners’ trust and relentless encouragement.