Pinochet for beginners




Inside the dictatorship



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Declarations & Statements



November 1999. Seeking Answers

Dear Sir,

Do you have or do you know where could I find an article by Gonzalo Vial called "Reflexiones sobre un manifiesto"? This article is an answer to the document "Historians' Manifesto" published in your website. Many Thanks.

Lucía Brienza


25th October 1999. Puzzled in Chile

Dear Sir,

Many Chileans are deeply puzzled about the purpose of your ex-chancellor Norman Lamont's current visit to Chile. He says he wants to improve relations between the two countries, yet this former statesman is openly urging Chile's government to break all diplomatic relations with London. He also expresses his embarrassment at Britain's meddling in Chilean affairs, i.e. the arrest of General Pinochet, yet he himself has jumped right into the Chilean election campaign by echoing the indignation of Pinochet's supporters who think the Chilean government is not doing enough to get the country's veteran military strongman back home.

Perhaps Mr. Lamont should consider one reason why Chile's democratic government is so feeble in its protests: because it is only acting to placate a military not yet under full civilian control. It is hard to sound convincing with a gun pointed to your head. In reality, the Chilean government may not particularly want to have someone back who has persistently rattled his sabres against it, thus turning Chile's democratisation into a protracted and still incomplete affair. Only two years ago, as the army's unsackable commander-in-chief, General Pinochet was met with loud applause among fellow officers when he threatened another coup, if ever a socialist President should be elected once again. He has also sent his troops onto the streets to scare the elected government into halting its investigation of the so-called "Pinocheques", huge and unjustified sums paid by the Armed Forces to the ex-dictator's own son.

When General Pinochet was arrested in London nearly a year ago, many in the British Conservative Party were keen to back the "warnings" from retired officers in Chile that this would endanger the country's democracy. Now, all this has been exposed as idle threats. In fact, we can thank the arrest in faraway London for great strides in bringing human rights violators to justice and in making clear the limitations of the military's power in this country. Instead, people like Lamont are trying to sour the bilateral relations between two historical allies. Again, they will fail: Chile and Britain will essentially remain good friends as it befits two governments believing in democracy, human rights, the rule of law and the military's subordination to civilians. All the more reason to be puzzled: do the British Conservatives not believe in those values, too?

Rasmus Sonderriis, Santiago de Chile

Dear Sir,

After reading in your site the "Open Letter to Pinochet" written by Professor Carmen Galarce, as well as a number of testimonials, I am terribly saddened. We are supposed to be a modern and enlighten world. To think that man can be so inhuman is beyond my understanding.

As an African American woman, I share the same horrific history of the Chilean people. My people were also exiled from their native country (Africa) and forced to live in deplorable conditions.

As a Christian woman, I find myself asking God why people like Pinochet have been allowed to wreak havoc on the innocent law-abiding people of this world. God hasn't answered me yet, but I know He is sovereign and just. One day, it may not be until the after life, I believe Pinochet will receive his justice!

As a mother, my heart cries. To think of someone taking my child, for no justifiable reason. I don't know how those mothers to through each day not knowing where and how their children are.

I have a personal connection, through friends with Chile. However, many Americans or others in the world for that matter have no clue of the atrocities taking place.

My heart and prayers will forever go out to Chile. I pray that peace be restored and justice be served.

M. Howel, USA

August 1999. A Huge Mistake

Dear Sir,

A huge mistake was committed by not having killed them all. Leave Pinochet in peace.

Name and e-mail supplied

Dear Sir,

Today, Friday 2nd July a wonderful woman died. Sola Sierra, the leader of the mothers of the disappeared, left us. She spent 22 years looking for her husband, who was a prisoner of Pinochet and the DINA. Sola Sierra was the flame that showed us the way of truth and justice. Now in Chile the government (Christian and Social Democrats) is trying to negotiate both truth and justice with the murderers, i.e. the Army. They prefer a partnership with the criminals instead of the justice for the Chilean people.

We hope you will continue fighting for the extradition of Pinochet to Spain. There are no reasons to believe in this Chilean justice while the murderers are walking freely in the streets of Santiago.

E. Ruiz, Santiago

Dear Sir,

On Carmen Galarce's "Open Letter " I have recently been made aware of what has been going on in Chile. Speaking as a usually well-informed person, I must admit that I have been rather blind to Chile's incessant struggle under the brutal domination of Pinochet. In the terms of current events, everyone hears about the troubles in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East, but the affairs of Latin America seem to remain unheard of by most. The problems that have occurred, and still do occur in Chile are heinous and weighty ones. The world should be educated to their plight. How could Pinochet even attempt to run away from his crimes then? There are many witnesses against him now, but with the support of the world behind the people of Chile, there would be even more. I urge everyone to inform all who they know about Chile and Pinochet. This could be a good beginning.

E. J. Brooke, USA


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