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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Good riddance to General Pinochet

"Gen. Augusto Pinochet's death on Dec. 10 means the Bush Family can breathe a little bit easier, knowing that criminal proceedings against Chile's notorious dictator can no longer implicate his longtime friend and protector, former President George H.W. Bush." For more on this story, click on the hyperlinked title above.


Gary Moller comments:

I took Raquel to see the movie "Schindler's List" when it first came out. It upset her terribly. That was when I learned for the first time, the terror she experienced the night Pinochet's troops stormed the university compound in Santiago where she was studying and living. Some of her male friends helped her escape over a wall. All through the night until dawn, she listened to the fire of automatic weapons, punctuated now and then by a few moments of deathly slience and then the sound of single shots as her class mates who were still alive were executed one by one.

She escaped to New Zealand. So did another Chilean, Jorge Sandoval, who became a cycling club mate of mine here in Wellington. Jorge spent 14 months in a concentration camp where he was subjected to various forms of torture, including fingernail extraction.
When he won by popular vote, Allende was seen as a threat to exploitive US business practices, its ruling elite and the quest for global US domination. With CIA backing, the Allende government was brutally repressed. The story of Allende and Pinochet has been repeated many times around the world by US administrations that have consistently shown scant regard for democracy, human rights or the alleviation of suffering. What happened to Chile and in other countries of Central and South America and other places like the Palau, the Phillipines and East Timor are a blot on the USA, including members of the current administration and its supporters.
To learn more about how this sorry business fits into US politics, read Naom Chomsky's books on the subject. If you want to support the struggle for Central South American justice and independence, then what better than to support the work of a galant Moller? Go here to learn about the work of photographer, Jonathon Moller and consider buying his book that details the struggle of the people of Guatemala (Proceeds from the sale go to the Guatemalan people)
"With his photographs, Jonathan Moller reminds the present generation of the extreme wave of brutality that engulfed the people of Guatemala twenty years ago. Because of my Latin-American heritage,my blood turns to ice when I see these images. They speak of the horrors faced by my fellow Latin Americans in countries dominated by the externally imposed National Security Doctrine. Moller's photographs should be shown and debated in all schools and universities to teach tolerance and compassion to those who will hold power in the future."
- SebastiĆ£o Salgado
More about Jorge here And here is my followup article.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Someone send me a text early in the morning a few days ago and all he said to me was…”he is dead” … I knew exactly who he means.

I lay on my bed (it was early!) and start remembering almost straight away… everything was coming to me again…. I remember the day I was arrested, the first torture session, I was so scared that all I want was to get knock out quickly so they might stop beating me up. I remember being on my cell on my own “incomunicado” and hearing in the middle of the night the soldiers steps coming toward our area, hearing them unlocking steel gates, the sound of steel chains at that time of the night and waiting in panic, who was next?

Sometimes they stop before my cell, other they went pass, was someone else turn but many times they stop outside mine, I was so scare not knowing what was going to happen. My worst night was the day after my friend was killed, somehow I survive.

Pinochet was dead… after so may years waiting and hoping for this to happen, now he is dead but not the way he should have died… his death come on a very expensive bed, on a very expensive hospital, surrounded by the best doctors, not on a jail bed as we wish, he was never taken to court.

The way they kill my friends and many Chileans was very different, dirt everywhere as most of the torture was taken place on old sheds, ropes on their hands… blind folded… blood everywhere due to the torture. My friend’s die facing the people who kill them. We waited for many years for this to come and finally arrived.

I was just 17 the day I was taking into the local prison by the Intelligent service of the Chilean Navy. I was arrested with six other friends and during the seven days of torture I went through things I never imagine, nails ripped out, electric shocks and seen my friend killed change in the torture chambers change me for life. After the seven days of “questioning” one day they closed the whole street to take us “terrorists” out of there and to the Naval base 40 kmts away. I spend 12 days in a sport gym there along 400 other prisoners and then I was taken to the infamous Quiriquina Island in the south of Chile…from my house kitchen window, my family could see the Island across the sea about 20 kmts across the harbour every day.

When I arrived at the Camp, there where around 1200 other prisoners, the day I was free, only me and seven other prisoners remained there.

I don't know what sort of person is happy when someone dies because at the end of the day everyone, no matter how good or how bad you are, you've got your family who believe in you, and trust you and love you, and Mr Pinochet has his family.

But then putting everything into perspective, we've got the mothers whose sons were killed, the sons whose parents were killed, the husbands whose wives were raped and houses were destroyed…. What we tell them? How they cannot be happy? You have to go thought what me and 1000’s of other Chileans went thought to understand how I feel.

My only disappointment that he's dead - I'm not unhappy that he died - is that he was never brought to justice. We Chileans know exactly what he did, Pinochet was never man enough to front up.

Not a day goes by that I don’t remember the torture me and my friends endured under Pinochet's dictatorship.

This days I am a very privilege man, I live in a wonderful country, a great city, have two daughters, one son and the best grandson in the world, Oscar…my life is great, I even learn a bit of English!…now my life is a bit better.

My only concern is that because of the USA international politics, the story has been repeated many times. There are millions of Jorge Sandoval’s around the world right now, I am just one of them, a lucky one, million others are not so lucky and 1000’s are dying every day somewhere in this world because Mr Bush “freedom” fighting.

Congratulations Gary for a great article. As a Chilean and ex political prisoner, is a privilege for me to see that people who don’t live in our country, know what happens in Chile in 1973 and want other people to know, we are not alone.

Next time I might tell you the day I meet the person who torture me and killed five people in my hometown, I meet him in 1996 here in Wellington, New Zealand

Jorge Sandoval
Political Prisoner – Isla Quiriquina
October 1973 – December 1974