October 27, 1986

Daniel has been missing for over 3 years now. Two days after the first National Protest, people say they saw him being pulled out of his apartment and put into a van that sped away. We searched for him, called the police, they said they couldn’t do anything. Bullshit. Daniel joins the long list of people disappeared since Pinochet came into power. I don’t even know what he did wrong. He worked with the National Workers’ Command, so peacefully. He wouldn’t cause any harm. I know he’s gone, he must be, but I can’t help but think that he is still here, that I might walk around the corner and he’d be sitting on the stoop like he usually did after I came home from work. But that won’t happen ever again.

On top of all of this, my father passed away about a week ago, he died of a heart attack suddenly while he was in his factory. A broken heart, mother said, because of Daniel, our family is shattered. He died surrounded by the workers he and Daniel loved. My mother is in shambles and the business is being sold, as no one in the family is able to run such a large company and my brother, Ben, is now studying in America. Hopefully the Junta doesn’t try to absorb it and then put all of those people out of work, my father would roll over in his grave if that happened.

On September 7th, the MRPF almost killed Pinochet. That bastard, in news stories he said, “My first reaction was to get out of the car, but then I thought of my grandson at my side and I covered his body with mine,” all lies, he only thought of himself first, just as he does with Chile. The next day, he declared a State of Emergency, basically giving himself the power to disappear anyone he chose. You could see the fear in people’s eyes as they realized what this meant. 

I’ve been working a lot recently with human rights groups, ever since Daniel, and missions across Santiago. People have been nervous about keeping up their protests in light of this threatening environment. A couple of weeks ago, the MRPF blew up part of a mall in Apumanque. Everything is so tense now. Just the other day, my friend, Luna, came screaming into the mission that her boy had disappeared. Men came into her house in the middle of the night and dragged him out, throwing him in a van. I’ve heard of neighborhoods resisting these types of intrusions by helping each other’s houses. Once they know a house has been infiltrated, they create a threatening alarm system by flickering lights and banging on pots and pans to scare the kidnappers away. I think this idea is genius and I am trying to get my neighborhood to do it now, anything to help prevent what happened to Daniel from happening to others.

Even more disturbing, the lawyer for the human rights group, Mr. Canteras, that I work with, received a box in the mail today. We wondered why it wasn’t labeled until we opened it up. It contained a pig’s head with a bullet hole through the forehead. I’ve never been so disgusted in my life. A military has the audacity to send its own people threats like this, has no right to be in power at all. According to the Junta, we have this state of emergency till the end of November, but I guarantee that the fearful sentiment will continue. People don’t even let their children out of their homes during the day because they’re afraid they will disappear before their very eyes. The arbitrary nature of the Junta’s kidnapping and arrests creates a perpetual fear environment. People are afraid that their phones are tapped, I am certain that I have not received some of my mail that was supposed to be delivered weeks ago. The Junta has once again put its people in a position of subservience.

Pinochet’s Car Post-Attempt

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1 thought on “October 27, 1986

  1. ssvolk says:

    Hi, Sophia. I’m so sorry to hear about Daniel. It’s so hard to believe that after more than a decade in power, the military is still doing the same thing it did back in September 1973. And look what it’s done to your family and to families all over the country. I don’t think that assassinating Pinochet would have accomplished anything (although I would have still cracked open a bottle to celebrate). But now we have the plebiscite to think about. I’ll think of you and your family as I work to defeat Pinochet.

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