1 March 2010

La locura del general

Dear readers,

I recently read a book written by the Chilean world-wide famous novelist, Luis Sepulveda.
I do not know the English title of the book, but translating from the Spanish version ("La locura del general"), in English should sound something like "the madness of the general", where the general is the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
The book consists of a collection of articles published world-wide by Sepulveda on several newspapers during the period of the Pinochet detention, in London, because of the international mandate of arrest signed by the Spanish judge Garzon.
In this period, Luis Sepulveda, and with him all people who still believes in justice, in Chile and all over the world, hoped that finally the Dictator could have paid for the crimes he commit during his 16 years-long dictatorship.
These articles are interesting to understand the feelings of Sepulveda, that changed everyday moving from a sense of hope and trustworthiness in the justice and in particular in the Spanish judge Garzon, who still represents one of the most prominent judge in the world, brave enough to ask for the arrest of Pinochet, and the sense of impotence and sadness, since too many people in Chile and in the entire world still helped Pinochet to escape from the justice.

In this short but highly intensive summary of emotions across a couple of years (from the arrest of the dictator to his return to his, by him destroyed, homeland), Sepulveda remember several facts happened during his dictatorship.
He remembers in particular the high expectation and hope among Chileans followed the victory in the 1970 election of Salvador Alleande.
He remember how young people helped the president to realize his way to socialism and how strong was the engagement of Allende's followers. He also remembered how the putsch started and happened, when Allende politics was stopped with all the possible means (including corruption of trade-unions responsible in order to cause problems to the country, and as a direct consequence to Allende government).
He remembers when Chilean extreme-right parties together with the supporter of USA, realized that there was no semi-legal way to stop Allende, and therefore they finally plot, as extreme solution, the putsch realized on Sept. 11, 1973 (note: it does not exist only the Hollywood one, but at least two).
As we all know, the dictator won also his last battle: He was able to return to his homeland, where he was celebrated by his supporter. After his return, almost everybody in the parliament was willing to forget, better, to cancel what happened during the dictatorship. The solution elaborated by the socialists and Pinochet party was to decide to cancel that period of Chilean history and consequently not to prosecute the criminals, who are still today actively involved in the Chilean politics at all level of the government, locally and nationally speaking.
Pinochet was protected, by both sides, and as immediate effect he was elected senator, keeping his place in a humiliated parliament until his death.

Chile decided not to judge his past as many other countries (e.g. Spain, Italy, etc.).
This is worse political decision that a government can make.
If a country does not judge and condemn the crimes committed by someone inside and outside it, it will, sooner or later, still have to deal with this part of society, which normally should have been condemned and imprisoned, and instead it is still very active and condition the political life.

Your sincerely,