THE pressure to forget, the force of social amnesia, can be extremely powerful. In El olvido esta lleno de memoria (1995) Mario Benedetti (1920- ) asks two questions: What is to be remembered, and how is it to be preserved for future memory? There exists, however, a complex relationship between remembering and forgetting. Richard Terdiman writes that "recollection and forgetting are not contraries, but rather differential modes of existence of the same process in the representation of the past" (250). Coming from a region where governmental policies have consisted of forgetfulness, Benedetti, to the extent that he combines the private voice with the public, crafts his poetics to represent the individual and collective experiences of the Argentine, Chilean, and Uruguayan people as they find themselves on the verge of both remembrance and oblivion. (1) Issues of memory and forgetting, memory and repression, and displacement and return resurfaced in the wake of the restoration of democracy to the Latin American Southern Cone. Whereas Benedetti believes one of the most imminent dangers facing the area is chronic amnesia, many in government positions prescribe forgetfulness as a countermeasure to a potentially crippling anamnesis. (2) In order to maintain power and authority, ruling classes often resort to institutional forgetting, or a control of a group's collective memory and history, which may result in a general forgetfulness in search of meanings and definitions that serves its ideological needs. On an individual level, while for many people forgetting comes down to a refusal to remember or a conscious act of denial, often a self-serving shutting out of something that is inconvenient, unwelcome, or too painful to remember, Benedetti writes that "el olvido es, antes que nada, aquello que queremos olvidar pero nunca ha sido factor de avance" (Los espejos las sombras 75).