Dec. 10, 2006 Pinochet dies

Today I was on my way back from the market and someone shouted out of the car that Pinochet died. When I got home I turned on the TV and it was true. In no time people were out to the streets to both celebrate his death , and to support him. My son and his family are visiting right now as the kids are on summer break. My grandson, who is only 16, went out to join those celebrating the Pinochet’s death. I’m sure my father would be rolling over in his grave if he knew—he supported Pinochet through and through. I don’t even know why my son would let his 16 year old go out like that, but what can I do. I just sat at home and watched things unfold on the news. Point is, he’s home safe, nothing got too crazy luckily. After the protest though, I had really my first real conversation with Daniel about the dictatorship. His brothers are younger and don’t seem to be interested, or really understand what happened. He hasn’t asked me many questions before, but I guess a combination of growing up, going to high school, and Pinochet’s death made him start asking me questions. He wanted to know what I was doing the day of the coup. What was life under the dictatorship like. Was it different? Was there really a curfew at first? Did you support Pinochet? (And why?!?!) What about Allende? What was your life like with Allende? What about at the end? Did you want Pinochet out? Did you vote Yes or No? Was it scary during the dictatorship? Did you know people who were killed? I told him what I could. I told him that after a while life in the dictatorship was normal life for me, I had my job and my family, and things were stable. I told him a bit about his abuelito (well great grandfather technically) who was the mayor of Viña del Mar, and came to be acquaintances with Pinochet. He didn’t like to hear that, since he has basically come to understand that Pinochet was a bad guy, a black mark on Chile’s democratic history. I don’t think the younger generation understands what a mess Allende and communism was and how toxic it all was for our country. That is no small detail when understanding Pinochet. I tried to explain that. He should really talk to his uncle Jaime for a different side of the story to mine though. Jaime still lives in Sweden, but comes to visit sometimes. I’m sure Jaime is rejoicing right now, and I’m happy for him, really. But anyways, that conversation was hard and I’m sure there will be more conversations to come as Chile seems to be more and more willing to look into its past.

1 thought on “Dec. 10, 2006 Pinochet dies

  1. ssvolk says:

    Maybe the past always lives with us…in our children and grandchildren. As hard as it is, I’m glad that your grandson asked you about the past. After all you (and I) are little pieces of history. We might as well share that knowledge!

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