3 marzo 2000 – carta a Mateo

Querido Mateo,

I hope that you are staying safe today, but even if you don’t get this letter in a timely fashion, I hope you are still being sensible. I know that you are not apathetic to say the least about Pinochet coming back to Chile, but I want you to think before you do anything rash. You have come a long way from the schoolyard fights and classroom disruptions. Your mother and I are so proud of you. To think that after all this time, you would be living and working in the same neighborhood where our laundry was! We want to see you and Patricia have the kind of life and future together that we never truly had.

Think about it this way: the junta was prosecuted in Argentina. Why not in Chile? What would be more satisfying than watching Pinochet die in prison? To me that would be better than seeing some vigilante take his life. I was never tortured, and none of my close friends or family members were killed or disappeared, but I lived in hiding – imprisoned in my own home – for many years. To me, seeing the same happen to the junta members would be the ultimate recompense. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the matter though – you know your generation will be the one to pay the penalty or reap the rewards of whatever happens in the next year or two with the prosecution (or immunity) of Pinochet and his subordinates. I want to see the rule of law succeed here, the way that it did before 1973. I know for you Allende is just a historical figure – a romanticized hero on good days, a dusty old dinosaur otherwise – but to me he was a real person, someone your mother voted for. I know rule of law is not something you and your peers really understood growing up, but your parents and grandparents want to see it obeyed in Chile.

Stay safe. Don’t go to any demonstrations. Who knows if there will even be massive demonstrations? Who knows anything? But if there are, I don’t want you going. Try to stay out of trouble with the electricians’ union. Please give me a call when you get this. I want to know that you are being sensible. It would mean a lot to your mother. She is still coping with your abuelita’s passing. (Sorry to have to guilt you like this… but if you called us more often, I wouldn’t have to!)

Con cariƱo,


1 thought on “3 marzo 2000 – carta a Mateo

  1. ssvolk says:

    Mateo is grown and married! Congratulations. It sounds like your worries were not necessary. But we worry, don’t we? Maybe that’s our legacy, that’s what we carry with us. “Don’t go to demonstrations!” Will our worries get in the way of how our children live their lives? Will what we have seen not just mark us, but them, as well. I hope not!

Leave a Reply to ssvolk Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *