March 11th, 1990

Dear Diary,

Today was an emotional day for our country. Today, Patricio Alwyn was sworn in as the president of Chile, our now supposedly democratic state. People might claim that Chile is entering a new-era, but our actions don’t tell the same tale. After all, while Pinochet is stepping down as our dictator, he has made it clear that he will still remain as the “defender” of our country and its interests. He is still the Commander of the Army and will be a senator-for-life. Additionally, an exorbitant number of his conspirators still remain in power. He was even present at Patricio Aylwin’s inauguration, and was treated with great prestige, like he was some kind of hero. Here is a picture that has been circulating around our newspapers.


However, at least Pinochet has been removed from power, by the people more importantly! I should be an optimist rather than a pessimist. I hope for a bright future, one that includes a government that is Pinochetless.

My mother still continues to believe that my father will return from his “trip.” I suppose this is her way of coping. She doesn’t know that his body is out there, buried in some random, possibly mass, grave. Perhaps this is best for her, in her old age. I wonder how many other Chileans believe that their loved ones will return some day soon. My daughter is almost four years old now. Perhaps I will never have to speak to my mother about truly confronting what happened to my father, her husband. However, I know I will have to tell my daughter. I just pray that the day I do so, Augusto Pinochet will have received the justice he deserves. How can I tell my daughter what happened to her grandfather, and then have her see her grandfather’s murderer on television? How can she feel safe growing up in a country that idolizes a man who has murdered a member of her own family and countless more?

I pray for the day that Augusto Pinochet receives the punishment he deserves. And not from a gang of rebels, from a court and a country of people. There needs to be legitimate and nation-wide recognition of our tyrant’s human rights crimes. Until then, we can only pretend that we are healing.

I will pray for this. For my daughter. For my father. For my family and our country.


1 thought on “March 11th, 1990

  1. ssvolk says:

    How right you are. For all our sakes, what has happened has to be resolved. I keep thinking that we have just come out of a period of 17 years in which law and the justice system were used as mechanisms of our oppression; instead of offering a possibility of justice, they were used to tie us up. So now, they have to be reclaimed again for their original purpose. If they can’t bear the weight, I fear that they will never serve us again. What is your daughter’s name? She must be a great joy!

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