3 March 2000

It’s hard to say whether Pinochet’s return will be the desired culmination of Chile’s search for justice. After over a year of being held in detention overseas, Pinochet has come back to Chile to face his charges on his own soil. On the one hand, this gives the Chilean people a chance of some slight version of closure. A trial, or many as I am sure the list of his wrongdoings is extensive, would be a healing process for the hordes of people he terrorized and instilled fear within. However, will the people be able to penetrate the fortress of immunity left over from his days of dictatorship? It could have been more fruitful to allow another country to bypass the senatorial exemption from indictment from outside of the country. I fear the legislative support system he created to protect himself from this very situation. Given my apprehensions, I can still sense a sigh of relief among many who are seeking vengeance and an escape from their years of brooding without restoration. Pinochet, even in his old age, has returned so Chile can move forward and rehabilitate itself.

My daughter Rosa will be turning five next month. Even though I had my worries about having a child with Pablo, the light she has brought into my life is far greater than any issues I thought we might face while transitioning from authoritarian rule. I feel safe in the notion that history will not be repeating itself in the near future, it’s the relating to her what it meant to live under Pinochet that I have trouble with. She’s old enough that listening into the adult conversations will instigate an overflow of questions about this man and the dark times we speak of. I talk to my father about it often. When he visits and she starts to trace the scars on his aging skin, I am overcome by helplessness. How am I supposed to be the one to tarnish her innocence with the truth? Of course she is only 5 years old. I have time. At least I have the victory of Pinochet’s return to Chile to reassure that there are positive histories I will be able to share with her when the time is right.

1 thought on “3 March 2000

  1. ssvolk says:

    Hola, Alita. I, too, think that having Pinochet back in the country can help us get on with some necessary business. After all, during all those months in which he was in the UK, his supporters here in this country kept saying that neither Spain nor the UK had a “right” to try Pinochet; only Chileans had that right. So, OK, then. He’s back; put him in the dock! It’s my sense that only when these things begin coming out in the newspapers and on TV that we’ll be able to tell our children what has gone on. (And congratulations on Rosa! Already 5! That’s amazing.)

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