The past two years have changed me irrevocably. Somehow, I have become very politicized since Pinochet and his gang took power. The country I believed in has broken my heart. I have seen such horrors, my very core has been shaken.
Shortly after the coup, I moved from Puerto Montt to Santiago to continue my law practice closer to the center of events. I did not at this time knowingly wish to oppose the regime, but I knew I had to learn more about what was going on and that I could not close my eyes to the violence, murders and disappearances that began to rack Chile after Allende’s overthrow. After moving to Santiago in November 1973, I made some new friend’s through my father’s old contacts in the Christian Democratic Party. With two of these men Carlos and Julian, I created a larger law practice in my new city, since we all shared similar goals of using our legal degrees to help people. While many of my new friends ceased their involvement in politics after the coup, most were involved in the Christian Democratic Party before the coup. They all have very different and evolving opinions on whether or not the coup was justified. Nonetheless, no one is happy with the way things turned out. Even though that had supported the coup did so believing government would soon revert to civilian rule.
Last week, two of my friends – Juan-Baptista and Artur, went missing. I had met them through Julian and they were among to more ardent opponents of the regime that I knew. Their vehement hate of the junta came from a deep sense of betrayal after supporting in the initial coup against Allende. Their passion was remarkable to me, as much as I am against the junta, in the past few years I have done little against it.
Allende’s last words follow me everyday — “I am certain that my sacrifice will not be in vain, I am certain that, at the very least, it will be a moral lesson that will punish felony, cowardice, and treason.” I can’t stop thinking that I have been a coward. Therefore, I’ve decided that I must, at once, start to fight for the freedom of my country.
Artur and Juan-Baptista had introduced me to a man named Christian. He belongs to an organization called the Revolutionary Left Movement. I met with him Christian again yesterday outside Santiago and learned more about his group. Although it espouses ideals very far from my own, I think I might try to become involved with them. I need further reflection and I am going to look for other groups that oppose “President” Pinochet with political goals closer to my own. No matter what, I will not stand idly by as I have these past two years, watching from a distance as my nation has been bound with chains.