A memorial listing all the names of Valparaiso’s executed and disappeared victims of the Pinochet dictatorship was vandalised with spray paint in the early hours of Monday morning. Valparaiso’s Commission against Torture has urged the public to share the news, as part of the collective memory struggle against oblivion.
Former Chilean General Patricio Enrique Jeldres, an inmate at Punta Peuco prison, was indicted last Friday for the kidnapping of 20 year old MIR militant, Juan Mauricio Poblete Tropa.
The crime occurred on September 23, 1973, in Chillan. Poblete was kidnapped from his home close to midnight. His headless corpse was discovered on December 24, 1973. The forensic results of the remains were communicated on December 19, 2017.
On April 11, relatives of 101 students from the University of Chile who were executed and disappeared during the dictatorship were given symbolic academic degrees as part of a reparation and memory process which seeks to recognise the student victims of the dictatorship.
The ceremony was described as an act of memory and resistance, with speakers reminding the audience that those who justified dictatorship crimes are now back in power in Chile.
A new edition of Luz Arce’s memoir, “The Inferno: A Story of Terror and Survival in Chile” has been published by Tajamar Ediciones.
Arce formed part of Salvador Allende’s security known as the Grupo de Amigos Personales (GAP). Kidnapped and tortured by the dictatorship at Londres 38, Villa Grimaldi, and Tres y Cuatro Alamos, Arce later turned informer and collaborator with DINA. Upon the dissolution of DINA, she formed part of the CNI which was tasked with the surveillance and annihilation of leftist dictatorship opponents. Arce’s collaboration with DINA involved revealing the identities and hiding places of her comrades.
Two former DINA agents, Manuel Carevic and Patricio Silva, have been sentenced to 541 days of imprisonment for the kidnapping and disappearance of Gonzalo Toro, a professor of Musical Arts at the University of Chile and MIR militant.
Toro was kidnapped on April 4, 1974 and severely injured. He was transferred to the military hospital where he remained until August 1, 1974, when he was due to be discharged from hospital. On the same day, DINA agents apprehended him from hospital. He was subsequently disappeared.
In contrast to his electoral campaign rhetoric which was on a milder level than that of his counterpart Jose Antonio Kast, Sebastian Pinera’s adherence to right-wing ideology is revealing itself with the appointment of Hernan Larrain, a defender of Colonia Dignidad’s leader Paul Schafer, as Minister for Justice.
During an interview, Larrain defended Schafer, saying that the accusations levelled against the German Nazi who established a colony in Chile and collaborated with the dictatorship was the victim of a frameup.
Alicia Lira, President of the Association of Relatives of Executed Political Prisoners (AFEP) denounced the appointment, declaring it a “sad precedent”, in view of the fact that Larrain was part of Schafer’s circle of friends.
Colonia Dignidad was shrouded in secrecy, thus making investigations into human rights abuses difficult. Schafer had fled from Germany to Chile after accusations of child molestation in 1959. For dictator August Pinochet, Schafer provided both location and opportunity for dictatorship crimes, including torture, murder and disappearance of political opponents. In return, Schafer’s depravity and torture of his own community were assured of impunity.
Former right wing presidential candidate Jose Antonio Kast has accused Judge Mario Carroza of “inventing homicide”. The comments tweeted by Kast happened in the aftermath of Carroza’s sentencing of former DINA agent Miguel Krassnoff Martchenko to ten years imprisonment for the murder of MIR militant Miguel Enriquez which occurred on October 5, 1974.
Kast also attempted to ridicule Salvador Allende’s well known statement from his last broadcast before the coup: “History is ours and it is made by the people,” by using it as a premise to denigrate the court’s verdict on Krassnoff.