March 3, 2000

I’ve never harbored such a visceral hatred for the man that returned today. Pinochet, after two years spent in house arrest in London, comes back to Chile. You couldn’t even call it an arrest, though, he was living in a mansion with his wife in London and was allowed visitors, some justice that is! Supporters of the murderer are said to be gathering at the airport to welcome their leader home. They argue he saved us becoming a “second Cuba,” no, he saved us from nothing. Without him, we may have economically suffered, yes, but never the amount of suffering that those 17 years brought to Chile in every facet of life.

Those years are affecting all of us still, they are reaching into the lives of my children, now 5 and 7, they’re just beginning to open their eyes to Chile and I don’t want them to experience any of the fear we’ve felt. I want them to know a world of justice, of peace, and of goodness, of freedom without consequence, not the awful, repressive world I knew for so long.

No media is allowed at the airport apparently…of course not, why would the military ever want the public to see such a shameful, failing man who once was the epitome of power and might?

I just returned from an all-night vigil in the city as part of an anti-Pinochet protest. Bernardo and I have become members of the protest group, Families of the Detained-Disappeared. Our president Viviana Diaz spoke to the news last night and eloquently said, “He is going to be put on trial in Chile. The criminals are here among us, he’s going to return on grounds of compassion but he returns as he is – a criminal.” Such a fearless leader, I’m so glad we found the group, it’s so heartening to share emotions with people who have felt the same loss as your own, who finally can speak up about their loved ones and ask what really happened to them. Bernardo and I have filed a criminal complaint to the Human Rights Watch. We’re one of 170 so far, according to Jose Miguel Vivanco, our lawyer of HRW, that have been lodged against Pinochet. I know there will be more. And already 59 civil lawsuits against him! Honorable Judge Juan Guzman said on the news after the announcement of Pinochet’s extradition: “I believe the conditions are in place for the development of a good trial in our country and from next Monday I will dedicate myself exclusively to this end”. I hope he succeeds. Pinochet believes he is above the law, being a life-long senator gives him immunity from being charged, but the Supreme Court stripped him of this in August. Parliament is now trying to reverse this ruling by trying to pass a constitutional reform saying that all current and former heads of state have full immunity. Unconscionable.

I feel terrible for the Spaniards, along with Switzerland, Belgium, and France, they were hoping to try Pinochet there, all of them had cases against him. He terrorized the entire world! So many disappearances. It’s all so awful. Though he is not in power, the ripple effect of his reign still are felt today. I feel Daniel’s missing presence everyday, and will continue to do so until I die. I just can’t help but think of all the loss this country has felt because of one man’s desire for power over a people. He should be put to death as soon as he steps off that plane, but I doubt he will see any courtroom for some time. His lawyers are trying to argue that he is unfit for trial, such a weak and feeble man. Stand up, General! You must face what you have done, there are no excuses even at your age!

Frei has been a neutral mess in his attempt at maintaining support from both sides. He’s afraid of the military’s hatred. “It will be the Chilean courts that will decide whether Senator Pinochet is responsible for the crimes imputed to him,” he said on the news yesterday. After the Rettig Commission came out, very little happened and no one was found, I guess we’re used to the hope for relief but seeing none. I hope this won’t continue when it comes to Pinochet’s return.

1 thought on “March 3, 2000

  1. ssvolk says:

    As much as I would have liked to see him extradited to trail in Spain, I can’t say I’m unhappy that he’s back. For months and months his supporters have been bleating on that Chile is the only country that can try him. OK, now’s your chance. I only hope that our government, which has been so wishywashy about this whole thing, will support the cause of justice now that he’s back on our soil, a soil he’s so fouled. But there is a certain pleasure in seeing him return, at least for the cameras, as a broken man, weak, missing some of his marbles, when he always wanted to be the strongest man in the room. Do you remember that picture of him that came out in El Mercurio a few weeks after the coup? The one with him sitting with his arms folded across his chest practically daring the country to fuck with him? Ha! Now, I hope, we’ll see!

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