A Note from the Day of Pinochet’s Return

March 3rd, 2000

Pinochet returned to Chile today. I can only hope that he will be brought to justice. They last decade has not been what I had hoped. There has been no justice for me and little for the people of Chile. “Civilian rule” is not what it should have been – the military retained a prominent position in society and our former tyrant was treated as a respected statesmen, the Truth Commission reported on grave injustices but did little to punish those responsible.

I have been active in Santiago since Aylwin came to the presidency ten years ago. I have spent most of my efforts trying to revive my law practice and create an advocacy group for other survivors of torture. I testified for the Truth Commission. Although I have built a group of survivors, we have accomplished little. Only one judge – Juan Guzmán – has been willing to truly investigate and bring to trial the perpetrators of the great crimes. The military has resisted at every step of the way, and most people – like my family – seem happy to just move on and pretend that 17 years of horror never happened.

All memories, all histories, are narratives. I am trying to fight for mine to be heard, but it often seems as if I am screaming in an empty room. If we as a society forget, if we move on, then all the suffering will have been in vain. Can there be justice? I am not sure any more. Is there even a truth out there to find? This is doubt as well, it seems that truth is simply what people make of it. Perhaps the coming months and years will answer these questions for me. I can only hope so.


1 thought on “A Note from the Day of Pinochet’s Return

  1. ssvolk says:

    As hard as it is, Sebastian, there will only be justice if those of us who have the memories of what happened continue to talk, to write, to demand.

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