June 10, 1977

I have finally finished junior year. It feels good to be done with classes. Mama and Papa made me take so many advanced courses this year. They tell me this will help me get into the top universities. Maybe, but it was certainly a lot of work. Papa has now arranged for me to have an internship in the law firm of his friend Raul Gutierrez this summer. I just want to relax and enjoy the freedom of summer. I suspect my parents are keeping me so busy that I don’t get involved in any political organizing, like some of my friends have done. This year, my friend Luis, under the guise of the Philosophy Club, started Students Allied for Democracy, which he uses to criticize the repression of the Pinochet regime and discuss ways to oppose it. His uncle, a professor at the University of Santiago, was “disappeared” after he spoke out against the government. I am worried that Luis will become the next member of his family to be taken.

Life is tense in Valparaiso. Papa still has his job in the government thanks to keeping quiet. Since copper mining has remained nationalized, he helps determine how much and in what ways the mineral is extracted. However, he has stories about colleagues in his agency and other fields that have been dismissed and even detained for not conforming to the junta’s expectations. The streets are quiet. There have been no major demonstrations or strikes for the past several weeks, but every once in a while you hear about a disappearance. The newspapers publicize stories of successful operations against “subversives” or “terrorists” and how the military is maintaining security in the country through its vigilance. My parents repeatedly tell me to focus on my studies and not get involved with politics. They insist that I keep my politically-minded friends at an arm’s length so that I am not associated with them in the event of a crackdown. But who cannot be politically-minded in this day and age? I am finding it harder and harder to ignore the injustice that is perpetrated around me. I want to live in a normal, free society, where the expression of political views is not grounds for detainment and torture. My generation deserves that kind of future for its country.

 

1 thought on “June 10, 1977

  1. ssvolk says:

    These are hard time, Marco. I’ve had to drop out of school to get a job since my family isn’t earning enough. I hope that some day I can go back, but not for now. Meanwhile things are very quiet here. Every once in a while I see a leaflet that the cleaners overlooked, protesting the government, but people just seem to be going about their business and pretending that nothing strange is happening. How much longer will the military be around?

    [The school year in Chile ends mid-December, and the long summer vacation is between mid-December and mid-February. There likely wouldn’t have been any demonstrations in Valparaiso — or anywhere — in 1977. The situation was pretty locked down.]

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