By Guest Writer Mario Seth Morales

Latin American dictators during the 20th century were characterized by their cruelty, including the use of torture and murder: Pinochet in Chile, Videla in Argentina, Banzer in Bolivia, and many more in Central America, like the Somoza family who ruled in Nicaragua.

Desapariciones (“Disappeared”) is one of the most symbolic songs of the album “Looking for America” that Panamanian Rubén Blades recorded in 1984, singing against these dictatorships.

The song is about people disappearing suddenly, without explanation. They are taken to be interrogated, tortured, and killed. Why do they “disappear”? Because the dictatorships want them silenced. They do not want these people to express their desire for freedom, or their political viewpoints.

The Mexican Group Maná did a version of this famous song to criticize the dictatorships and repression that occurred in Latin America for many years—while European and American officials did nothing to stop the violence.

Personally, this song reminds me of the injustice, oppression, and abuse in the land where I was born, and as a Central American immigrant to US in the late 1970s. As I hear this song, images of those who disappeared from my barrio and university pop up because they were silenced by the tyranny of dictators in power. This song also resonates as an inspiration to recover from the trauma caused by abusive and oppressive social systems in Latin America that still, to this day, perpetuate poverty and crush human dignity.

I believe that, in Christianity, humanity’s dignity rests on Jesus Christ as God, in whose image we were created, and this is what gives a priceless value to all humans to the extent that God offers Godself for the salvation and restoration of humankind. In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of God as Good News has taken over history and is now both an already and a not yet; the church is an extension of God to humanity. The Good News restores in proclamation as well as in action. Our present state of salvation is clearly implied in the fact that God so loved all humans that he gave himself in the form of Jesus Christ so that we all can be saved.

About Guest Writer Mario Seth Morales

Mario is a part of International Ministries, where he serves as regional missionary for Ibero-America and the Caribbean, working in community and sustainable development.

Maná Videos & Links

Maná Performing Desapariciones:

Desapariciones English Translation

Maná Performing Their Song Justicia, Tierra y Libertad:

Justicia, Tierra y Libertad English Translation