Evidence of Jorge

Documentary Traces of a Forced Disappearance in Colombia

  • Natalia Bermúdez Qvortrup
  • Marta Lucía Giraldo


Jorge Soto Gallo disappeared on July 15, 1985, during a trip from Medellín to Bogotá in Colombia. Jorge is one of the thousands of disappeared people in Colombia whose families are still searching for answers, yet Jorge’s life and disappearance have been memorialized and recorded through his sister’s work of preserving, cultivating, and activating his personal archive. During recent decades, families of disappeared persons have begun to assemble folders that carry the evidence of disappearances. This article explores the personal archive of Jorge Soto Gallo with the aim of understanding a recordkeeping practice carried out by families and communities, which focuses on disappeared persons and often leads to a broad repertoire of political activism in defence of human rights. We ask, Which records are included, how are they brought together during these periods of upheaval, what do they mean, and what role do they play? We argue that creating and preserving these archives of enforced disappearance act as liberatory memory work (LMW) and as instincts of the families against forces of impunity and oblivion. We show that LMW is a living reality in Colombia that operates on a person-centred level, going beyond transitional justice frameworks, and turning victims into recordkeepers providing the possibility of historical accountability for future generations.

Author Biographies

Natalia Bermúdez Qvortrup

Natalia Bermúdez Qvortrup is a PhD candidate in Archival, Library and Information Science at Oslo Metropolitan University in Norway. She has an MA in Theory and Practice of Human Rights from the University of Essex in England, a BA in Library and Information Science from Oslo Metropolitan University, and a BA in Humanities from the University of Essex.

Marta Lucía Giraldo

Marta Lucía Giraldo has a PhD in Comparative, Political and Social History from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and a master’s degree in Colombian Literature and a history degree from the Universidad de Antioquia. She is a full professor at the University of Antioquia, where she teaches courses on the relationship between archives and society and research in archival science. Her research interests include personal and community archives, the relationship between archives and memory, and the study of archives from a rights-based approach. She is a member of Archiveros sin Fronteras.

How to Cite
Qvortrup, Natalia Bermúdez, and Marta Lucía Giraldo. 2022. “Evidence of Jorge: Documentary Traces of a Forced Disappearance in Colombia”. Archivaria 94 (December), 204-30. https://archivaria.ca/index.php/archivaria/article/view/13875.