March 11, 1990

Today, Patricio Aylwin Azocar will be sworn in as president. Today, Chile can begin to heal.
I am not sure how this will be possible, when Pinochet, his generals, their lieutenants, and their officers continue to sleep in their beds, but we will continue to do what we have been doing for the last 17 years. We will make do, we will make it work. It will be good, to see Pinochet hand control over. I wonder, will he do it? Will it bring the old man to tears? In his television address, he beseeched Aylwin to consolidate the advances we have achieved, but I have no fear that this will happen. This election marks a departure from those previous “advances”. Today will be marked, not by consolidation, but by healing. I have some faith in Aylwin- that he will do, or at least begin to do, what needs to be done, for Chile, for its people, for justice. That there are some who wish for Pinochet to continue his genocide amazes me, but today marks the beginning of their end. The people are hurting. Their hearts, their minds, their pockets, all need much attention and care. The gaps have widened under Pinochet’s rule, with those at the top climbing higher on the backs of those with nothing.
Aylwin has much work ahead of him, and much opposition to overcome, but that he has made it this far gives me hope that he will be able to begin the healing process for Chile. Under Pinochet he was able to organize democratic forces against the dictatorship, and I am hopeful that being at least partially freed from its tethers he will be able to accomplish much more. He is tasked with recreating our beautiful home from the charred remains that Pinochet has left us.
If only mother and father were here to see this day. They would be so proud. Would they even be able to believe it? If only they had not attempted to flee. Maybe if they had stayed, they would be alive still. Or maybe not, for if they could be found even in Argentina, what hope could they have had in Chile?
Those whose sons and daughters have disappeared have the Madres to turn to, but for those of us whose parents are gone, who can we turn to? Who is our voice?

2 thoughts on “March 11, 1990

  1. ssvolk says:

    Hi, Fernando. A bittersweet day for all of us who have lost so much under this dictatorship. I’m so sorry to hear that you still have no news of what became of your parents in Argentina. At least they were able to jail the generals responsible for so much turmoil (at least for a while, that is). Meanwhile, what will you do now? What are you doing to keep body and soul together? Where are you living and what are you doing?

    1. Fernando says:

      So nice to hear from you Steve, thank you for your condolences. For now, I will try to remain a part of Chile’s future, while moving on from our past. I am not sure if I can do both, for so much of my past was spent working for the future. I am in touch with some University friends who are still here, and we try to get out of Santiago and visit the country side, and that has been nice, but I see that for many, the best way to heal is to directly address their past and their wounds

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