Almost nobody remembers Pinochet anymore

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There were still a few days to referendum that has to define the content of the future Chilean Constitution, he feminist collective LasTesis threw into the sea and as a spell a copy of the Carta Magna which was written in the image and likeness of dictator Augusto Pinochet four decades ago. The authors of A rapist in your way They arrived at the port of Valparaíso dressed in black. “Without freedom, without equality, there are no rights or dignity. Go back the way you came. Today we sink fear, “he repeated during a ritual with an air of purification. Later, the water swallowed the text that sought to eternalize the work of the military regime.

The final stage of dismantling the institutional matrix that Chilean democracy inherited from pinochetism. The general boasted of knowing even the slightest movement of a tree leaf. One of the mechanisms for eliminating dissent was, precisely, to throw them from helicopters into the depths of the same sea where the pages of that one have been metaphorically and materially dissolved. Carta Magna.

“His” Constitution was validated in 1980 in the framework of a consultation in which the “yes” obtained 67% in the midst of complaints of electoral fraud. It made its tutelary force felt over the years, even in a democracy. By then, Pinochet and his political and economic legacy were one and the same. The Theses put on stage the desire to close an era. On this occasion, the fiery defenses of the general who died in 2006 missed the appointment.

Things were not like that in October 1998, when the Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón ordered the arrest in London of the dictator and the political and cultural right vowed to defend him to the last consequences. The still young Joaquin Lavín and Pablo Longueria they traveled to England to support the general for life. “Fascitas”, they shouted in the streets at the leaders of the far-right Independent Democratic Union (UDI). And they were about to jump into the fight. What would they not have done for Pinochet. If Lavin and Longueria saw those images they would not recognize each other. Twenty-two years later, they both support the “I approve” in the plebiscite on Sunday.

Without exaltations

Almost no one sonically evokes the dictator, not even on the right, with the exception of a columnist like Hermógenes Pérez de Arce. He President Sebastian Piñera he always criticized the general as authoritarian. During the pandemic, a rumor spread that the widow by Pinochet Lucia Hiriart he was about to say goodbye to the world. The UDI senator, Iván Moreira, denied the news. “I can tell you that it is well cared for and will live more than 100 years,” said one of the few apologists left to the family. The last name Pinochet, not long ago written in capital letters, has long been a rarity in the newspapers, and sometimes it bursts in due to a decaying lineage. His granddaughter, Macarena Santelices, was barely three months in the Government as Minister of Women and Gender Equity.

The indifference that Pinochet provokes does not exhaust the looks on the past. The Chamber has approved a bill that seeks punish denialism of the abuses committed between 1973 and 1990. The initiative, which has yet to be debated by the Senate, penalizes with up to three years in jail anyone who “justifies” or “denies” human rights violations. For Human Rights Watch (HRW), “offensive expressions should be countered with arguments, not criminal sanctions.”

The economic inheritance of the dictator it is still a judicial issue. And there is also a political heritage to be discussed when preparing a new constitution. It has to do with carabinieri, the militarized police whose brutality during the social outbreak still refers to part of the protocols learned and developed under Pinochet: indiscriminate shooting, infiltration of demonstrations, torture. And, in addition, those responsible have been accused of tax fraud and abuse of force but, unlike what happened in the action of the feminist group Las Tesis with the Magna Carta, it is still afloat.

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