Today Augusto Pinochet died.
I’m not exactly sure how I feel. The man who tortured my father and our country never saw the inside of a prison cell. He was only confined to his mansion. Yes, he spent the last couple of years of his life dodging indictments but never seemed to face any danger of imprisonment. A couple of years dodging indictments does not equate to the punishment he deserved.
However, that’s just the revengeful side of myself talking. What I should be more focused on is the meaning behind our country finally choosing to try and punish this tyrant for his injustices. All the indictments, while fruitless in putting Pinochet in jail, allowed for our country to properly move along in its healing process. We finally recognized the criminality of his actions! The Rettig Report played a huge part in our country coming to terms with its past. It recommended that we receive reparations for what happened to my father. I care very little about that money, if I will ever see a dime of it anyway. More importantly, it told our country the true account of what happened and who was responsible. We recognized the fault in our history and in our former leader. When my son, who is 16, and my daughter, who is 20, would watch tv, they would see a man finally being forced to face the consequences of his actions. They would see our country punishing Pinochet for their grandfather’s, and my father’s, murder. They saw our country attempting to find justice.
Yes, Augusto Pinochet never saw the inside of a prison cell. He never saw the courts, which he once controlled, declare him guilty of his sins. However, what he did see, and what our country saw, was the recognition from our Chilean community of Pinochet as a tyrant, a murderer, a torturer, and an enemy of humanity. Revenge was not achieved to its fullest but recognition was. For the sake of my family, I am happy for this.