Skip to main content

As Chilean left struggles to preserve memory, right-wing Pinera government works to erase it

As Chile nears its 45th anniversary since the socialist government of Salvador Allende was overthrown, former National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) and National Information Centre (CNI) agents are being released from prison on parole, despite having been handed multiple lengthy prison sentences.

by Ramona Wadi

Part 3 - The return to democracy has failed to support Chilean collective memory

Lissette Fossa, a journalist from Londres38, spoke to MintPress about how subsequent governments after Chile’s return to democracy remained tied to the dictatorship’s legacy: “The Concertacion governments generated a transition pact with the dictatorial regime and its allies, resulting in an inability to pursue truth and justice. In the words of former President Patricio Aylwin, ‘to do justice to what extent is possible.’

Fossa noted that the Valech commission has been required, by law, to keep victim testimonies as classified information for 50 years. Meanwhile, most court sentences for human rights violations are not proportional to the committed crimes, while the imprisoned perpetrators receive many benefits in prison. She added: “We have information that only about 10 percent of dictatorship-era state agents have been tried and detained. This has made it easier for Pinera’s government to release criminals under the guise of benefits or parole.

One major demand from the Chilean left-wing public was to close down Punta Peuco — the luxury five-star prison that houses convicted torturers from DINA and CNI. Despite pledging to close the prison and transfer inmates to ordinary jails, former President Michelle Bachelet — who was herself a torture victim and whose father was murdered by the Pinochet dictatorship — ultimately reneged on her promise, which she had made to Carmen Gloria Quintana. During a protest against the dictatorship — on July 2, 1986 — seven Chilean military officers doused Quintana and Rodrigo Rojas de Negri with petrol and set them on fire. Rojas died of severe burns while Quintana remained heavily scarred for life.

Last July, the Chilean Supreme Court granted provisional liberty to seven former dictatorship agents imprisoned in Punta Peuco. Two agents, Moises Retamal Bustos and Manuel Antonio Perez Santillan, were students at the School of the Americas (SOA), a U.S. army facility that trained thousands of Latin American personnel whose names have surfaced as torturers and assassins over the years. The facility is now run by the U.S. Defense Department and known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). Santillan was sentenced two years ago for his role in covering up the murder of former DINA biochemist Eugenio Berrios, who was tasked — along with U.S. citizen, CIA and DINA agent Michael Townley — with the production of sarin gas.

Another of the released agents, Emilio De la Mahotiere Gonzalez, formed part of the Caravan of Death squads under the supervision of Sergio Arellano Stark, by which at least 75 Chileans were brutally murdered between September 30 and October 22, 1973 — the aim being to terrorize Chileans and thus prevent revolt against the dictatorship.

According to the conducted psychological and behavioral analysis, none of the seven inmates has demonstrated any remorse or acknowledgement of their crimes against humanity.

In October 2017, it was reported that DINA’s worst torturer, Miguel Krassnoff Martchenko, as well as CNI chief Alvaro Corbalan, had petitioned the Santiago Court of Appeals for parole. In the wake of the released inmates from Punta Peuco, which is also Krassnoff’s current location, defense lawyer Raul Meza, who represents Punta Peuco’s inmates, stated: “I am convinced that Miguel Krassnoff is innocent.” Krassnoff is currently serving 642 years for crimes against humanity.

Fossa emphasised the repercussions of such a possibility: “Londres38 considers the possible release of Krassnoff as extremely serious. He is responsible for hundreds of killings and disappearances. His image is symbolic due to the calculated cruelty and coldness in his crimes, apart from never showing the slightest remorse or the intent to collaborate. Releasing Krassnoff would have severe implications for Chile’s justice system — it would constitute an undeniable advancing of impunity. The current court decisions reflect a vision that does not take into account the severity of crimes against humanity and their consequences.

More than a year ago, Londres38 launched the campaign “Toda la Verdad, Toda la Justicia” (All Truth, All Justice). Fossa explains: “We launched this campaign because we believe that impunity is a phenomenon that affects all of society in many ways, not only the families of the detained, disappeared and executed. The campaign aimed to raise awareness about the fact that only 10 percent of the dictatorship criminals are in prison, while we do not know the whereabouts of many of the disappeared.

She added: “Other crimes in Chile have gone unpunished, such as the case of the three detained and disappeared during democracy — the case of Jose Huenate, Hugo Arispe and Jose Vergara, as well as other crimes against the Mapuche in Southern Chile. Allowing past crimes to remain unpunished generates a society where new crimes are not investigated and where popular power is obscured and repressed in favor of the most powerful.

Francisco Estevez, the Director of Museo de la Memoria, explained to MintPress how the decision to release the seven former torturers and agents affects “the international commitment of the State of Chile to comply with seeking full justice with regard to crimes against humanity committed during the Pinochet dictatorship. When the state is involved in violating the rights of its citizens, it must be treated with different criteria than if it were a common crime.

The UN Human Rights Commission, Estevez states, requires of states the responsibility and duty to remember situations of systematic human-rights violations. The Chilean Supreme Court’s decision “clearly runs contrary to these international guidelines, since there are more than 2,200 victims of forced disappearance and the remains of only 100 have been discovered.

Building upon the slogan “Never Again,” the Museum for Memory seeks to build social and cultural awareness. Estevez explains that is is not enough to confront threats coming from “negationist behavior and the denial of truth.” Rather, he says: “Education is the spirit behind the museum that teaches the values of tolerance and non-violence, because the sacrifice of the victims, and the people’s collective pain, can only be repaired if justice — through a culture of peace and human rights — becomes permanent in our country.

Estevez suggests linking the slogan “Never Again” with the sense of urgency to combat the prevailing impunity: “More than ever, ‘Never Again’ needs to open a dialogue within society. This is because there is an ethical consistency in defending human rights violated during the dictatorship and defending those same rights if they are violated in times of democracy.

On August 19, Chilean media reported Pinera announcing the creation of a “Museum of Democracy” to showcase Chile’s democratic history and its return after Pinochet. According to Pinera, Chile has lost the “capacity for dialogue — hence the establishment of a Democracy Museum, “because democracy is a fundamental value that should not be taken for granted, because there are countries that have lost it.

Given the recent developments in safeguarding impunity, however, Chile is still far from embodying democratic values.

Source, links:


[1] [2] [4]


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

It's definite: Elizabeth Warren is the female Obama, can't be trusted

globinfo freexchange

One year from the 2020 US presidential election, things start to become clearer day by day. In the US political scene, we can now recognize the authentic progressives from the fakes, and certainly, from the establishment neoliberal centrists. 
In the presidential-candidates level we can now identify only Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard as the ones who are willing to fight the establishment and try to implement progressive, anti-imperialist policies. After her latest position, concerning the military coup in Bolivia against the democratically elected Evo Morales, Elizabeth Warren could be considered a pseudo-progressive, equal to a female Barack Obama. Therefore, progressives definitely can't trust her.
Warren tweeted:
The Bolivian people deserve free and fair elections, as soon as possible. Bolivia's interim leadership must limit itself to preparing for an early, legitimate election. Bolivia's security forces must protect demonstrators, not commit …

Technocracy now: The US is working to turn Lebanon’s anti-corruption protests against Hezbollah

While Lebanon’s protests remain focused on the economy and widespread corruption, Washington is increasingly determined to exploit the movement as a geopolitical weapon in the region.
by Rania Khalek
Part 1
Lebanon erupted in massive protests this October. The demonstrations transcended sect and class, and quickly spread across the country. The movement was spurred by the levying of regressive taxes and the persistence of a corrupt neoliberal order that has mismanaged the economy and hollowed out the public sector while enriching a handful of elites amid a looming economic collapse. 
Though the protests remain focused on class issues and corruption, the US is increasingly determined to co-opt the movement for its own goals. At the forefront of Washington’s agenda is ousting Hezbollah from the Lebanese governing coalition and marginalizing the Shia political-military movement as a means of weakening Iran. In its place, the US and its proxies inside Lebanon are demanding a “technocratic” g…

Latest WikiLeaks revelation and its treatment by the mainstream press explicitly demonstrate why the imperialists are determined to eliminate Julian Assange

globinfo freexchange
On November, 23, WikiLeaks published an e-mail, sent by a member of an OPCW fact-finding mission to Syria to his superiors, in which he expresses his gravest concern over intentional bias introduced to a redacted version of the report he co-authored.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons sent a team of experts to investigate allegations that a chemical attack took place in the Syrian city of Douma on the 7th of April 2018. The author of the e-mail was a member of that team and claims the redacted preliminary version of the report, misrepresents the facts he and his colleagues discovered on the ground. The e-mail is dated 22nd of June. It is addressed to Robert Fairweather, Chief of Cabinet, and forwarded to his deputy Aamir Shouket and members of the fact-finding mission to Douma.  


In short, the OPCW whistleblower actually claims that the report has been somehow altered. And it was done in a way to fit the scenario, according to which, the Assa…

WikiLeaks evidence that the imperialist machine was monitoring anti-imperialist Jeremy Corbyn at least since the US invasion of Iraq

The WIKILEAKS Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD)holds the world's largest searchable collection of United States confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications. As of April 8, 2013 it holds 2 million records comprising approximately 1 billion words. The collection covers US involvements in, and diplomatic or intelligence reporting on, every country on earth. It is the single most significant body of geopolitical material ever published. The PlusD collection, built and curated by WikiLeaks, is updated from a variety of sources, including leaks, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and documents released by the US State Department systematic declassification review. 
globinfo freexchange
A cable from December, 2002, proves that the US officials were closely monitoring anti-war activities. The particular cable was describing a protest "against a possible U.S.-led operation against Iraq" in Istanbul, Turkey, and there is a spec…

Here's why Bernie could end up being better than even FDR

globinfo freexchange

In his speeches, Bernie Sanders frequently refers to the 32nd president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), and his New Deal program that helped millions of Americans after the 1929 Wall Street crash. Sanders and other progressives are proposing a similar program adjusted to the modern environmental challenges. The Green New Deal has now become a popular vision, especially among young Americans. Around it, the progressives are aiming to build a whole new model beyond destructive neoliberalism and even obsolete capitalism.

Many would argue that this is quite an extremely optimistic view. That Sanders is just an old-school moderate Social-Democrat who will only manage to revive some typical social policies of the past, and that's it. He will never manage to seriously challenge the current power structure, which, indeed, has grown enormously, controlling nearly every aspect of the political and economic life.

Yet Sanders already managed to achieve …

LIVE: Bolivians resist military coup in La Paz

How a mass bot network is pushing the coup in Bolivia

New research found that, of the 17,427 accounts studied using anti-Morales hashtag #BoliviaNoHayGolpe, almost a third were created on November 11, the day of the coup.
by Alan Macleod 
Bolivia. November 11. Generals appear on television demanding the immediate resignation of the elected head of state, Evo Morales. Ever since Morales won the October 20 election, the country had been in upheaval. The right-wing Bolivian opposition claimed that the socialist had won by foul means, an accusation repeated by the Organization of American States. All over Bolivia, the opposition attempted to intimidate or terrorize the government into submission. For example, the Mayor of Vinto, Patricia Arce, was kidnapped, tied up, had her hair shaved off, covered in paint and dragged through the streets as she was physically and verbally abused. It seemed like a classic Latin America-style coup in the U.S.’ backyard.

But on social media, it was a different story. Twitter was full of tweets in both English …

The UK media is in the midst of the biggest propaganda campaign since the War to destroy Corbyn

globinfo freexchange
British historian and journalist, Mark Curtis, spoke at a conference in defence of Julian Assange at St. Pancras Church in London. Curtis points out the decline of the mainstream journalism in our days as it is depicted in the cases of Julian Assange and Jeremy Corbyn:

                    We are meeting at an extraordinary time. The UK media is in the midst of the biggest propaganda campaign since the War to destroy Corbyn. And it makes the 2003 propaganda campaign over Iraq look like sideshow. And what's going on at the moment is totally relentless, it's every day. And Julian [Assange] has been vilified by the same forces that are now attacking Jeremy Corbyn.

Οργανισμός Αμερικανικών Κρατών: Στην υπηρεσία της Ουάσινγκτον

του Ανδρέα Κοσιάρη
Ο Οργανισμός Αμερικανικών Κρατών, που εξέδωσε την έκθεση για την εκλογική αναμέτρηση στη Βολιβία, η οποία «δικαιολόγησε» το πραξικόπημα εναντίον του Έβο Μοράλες, είναι στη θεωρία ένας ουδέτερος οργανισμός κρατών. Στην πραγματικότητα όμως έχει μακρά ιστορία υποστήριξης των επεμβάσεων των ΗΠΑ στη Λατινική Αμερική, και σήμερα χρηματοδοτείται κατά πλειοψηφία από τα ταμεία του αμερικανικού κράτους. 
Παρά την ίδρυσή του το 1948 με σκοπό την «προώθηση της ειρήνης και τη διευθέτηση διαφωνιών μεταξύ των κρατών-μελών», ήταν μάλλον από την αρχή όργανο της αντικομμουνιστικής εξωτερικής πολιτικής των ΗΠΑ.

Ο ΟΑΚ υπήρξε σιωπηλός ή και στήριξε όλες ανεξαιρέτως τις αμερικανικές επεμβάσεις στη Λατινική Αμερική, είτε αυτές λάμβαναν τη μορφή εισβολής, όπως στην Κούβα το 1961, είτε τη μορφή στήριξης σε πραξικοπήματα και δικτατορικά καθεστώτα, όπως στη Χιλή το 1973 (και στην Αργεντινή, τη Βολιβία, τη Γουατεμάλα, τη Νικαράγουα, την Αϊτή, τον Παναμά, τη Βραζιλία, την Παραγουάη και τον Ισημ…

Bolivian UN ambassador: “racist elite” engineered coup to restore neoliberalism in Bolivia

Democracy Now!
Thousands marched across Bolivia Monday to demand the resignation of Jeanine Áñez, the right-wing senator who declared herself president of Bolivia last week after longtime socialist President Evo Morales resigned under pressure from the military. 
The coup d’état has thrown Bolivia into crisis, with violence across the country leaving at least 23 dead. On Friday, the military gunned down nine pro-Morales protesters outside Cochabamba, where indigenous people took to the streets again on Monday. Thousands more marched to the presidential palace in La Paz. 
The wave of protests are condemning the spike in anti-indigenous violence under interim President Áñez and demanding the return of Evo Morales. Áñez has a history of using racist, anti-indigenous language, and last week she issued a decree protecting the military from prosecution for violent acts and said that Morales would face prosecution if he returned to Bolivia. 
Morales is Bolivia’s first indigenous president, a…