peace is the key word in these days. First of all, my father has finally found peace. The doctors were quick to point out that his death was caused by a heart attack, but I do believe that he died of a broken heart. Since Mum was gone, he has changed entirely and past November, shortly before the elections, his loneliness has finally come to a close. At his funeral, which took place shortly before Christmas, both friends of my Mum and my Dad came to give their farewells. I was sad for myself but happy for him that he has finally reunited with my mother.
That my dad found peace is certain. But I do question if all those victims who had to suffer under the bloody machinations of Pinochet found their peace. To be honest, the Rettig Commission seemed like a bad joke to me. Why did they only investigate cases that ended up in assassinations? What about the innumerable human rights violations that left an even greater stain on the reputation of the country than the killings? Worst of all, the old man himself wasn’t even put to trial. He can live out his life and die as an old man.
But can we look forward now? The fact that we seem to have a relatively stable government under Alywin for ten years now seems to support my hope. Going to the ballot box again past December felt like a memory of days of old. After all these years I wouldn’t have imagined that a constitutional succession of power would ever be possible in this country again. And, in fact, history proves to be cyclic here. After Salvador Allende in 1973, Ricardo Lagos is the second democratically elected Socialist President in Chile. I just wonder if he will be able to continue with the economic success we’ve been experiencing under Aylwin for the last couple of years. San José is slowly recovering and there are even a couple of new bars that have emerged in Copiapó over the last 9 years. This looks like progress to me.
So the following years, Lagos has to prove if a democratically elected Socialist president is capable of leading the country to progress, stability and social justice, since Allende unfortunately was not able to finish his job (though Lagos seems to be more moderate than Allende). At least, he’s got 51% of the population behind him. Moreover, he has to prove that he’s committed to struggle for justice for all those who were affected by the human rights violations under Pinochet. Will he be able to reconcile the past with the present? I hope that, in a few years time when I retire, I’ll be able to look on my country with pride again. On behalf of my father and my mother that’s what I wish from the bottom of my heart.
And I believe that with the beginning of the new millennium our country is determined to work out the necessary steps to go forward again without forgetting about the past.