Tag Archive | "Pinochet Dictatorship"

Chile Judge Jails 106 Ex-Agents of Pinochet Dictatorship


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Over 100 former members of the secretive National Intelligence Directorate, DINA, under Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet are facing jail time for the kidnapping and murder of 16 people belonging to dissident left-wing movements.

The sentence was issued early Friday against 106 secret police officers belong to “Operation Colombo” during the years that followed the 1973 overthrow of democratically-elected President Salvador Allende, when Pinochet was consolidating his U.S.-backed military government.

Judge Hernan Cristoso ruled that the 16 killed belonged either to the socialist party or leftist groups like the Revolutionary Left Movement, MIR. Those killed had been abducted before being transferred to torture centers in the Chilean capital, Santiago.

The 16 are among over 3,000 people who faced enforced disappearances and murder by the Pinochet government, which acted in league with neighboring governments in Argentina, Brazil and other South American nations through Operation Condor, a Cold War-era campaign across Latin America that resulted in tens of thousands of activist deaths.

The United States supported the right-wing governments during its competition with the Soviet Union, which it feared was undermining U.S. interests in the region through its own support for left-wing groups.

Chile has been attempting to grapple with its authoritarian past as judges and government figures increase convictions of Pinochet-era officials found to have committed human rights violations.

The 106 former agents have been sentenced to between 541 days and 20 years in jail, where they will be joining other former state security personnel that are serving time for other cases.

The Chilean government has also been ordered to pay the equivalent of US$7.5 million to the families of the deceased activists.

Posted in South AmericaComments Off on Chile Judge Jails 106 Ex-Agents of Pinochet Dictatorship

Chilean Play Dramatizes Remaining Traces of Pinochet Dictatorship

  • Undated photo provided by Teatro a Mil Foundation on March 24, 2017, showing the actors performing during the play "Mateluna."
    Undated photo provided by Teatro a Mil Foundation on March 24, 2017, showing the actors performing during the play “Mateluna.” | Photo: EFE/Teatro a Mil Foundation/Felipe Fredes
The director grew up during the Pinochet dictatorship and said he feels part of the social and political movements of the time.

A Chilean playwright presents in his work “Mateluna” evidence of an unjust trial that sent one of his colleagues to jail, and also dramatizes the remaining traces of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.

RELATED: Chile Sentences 33 Pinochet-Era Agents for Disappearing Communists

Playwright Guillermo Calderon told EFE in an interview in Sao Paulo that he wrote this play “to review the case and try to find justice for Jorge.”

Jorge Mateluna, a former guerrilla of the Marxist-Leninist Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front that fought against the 1973-1990 Pinochet regime, helped document Calderon’s 2013 play “Escuela” with his own true story.

Six months after its premiere, with the play still on the marquee, Mateluna was arrested for taking part in a bank robbery, a crime that had nothing to do with the sentence of over 10 years he had previously served for belonging to the guerrilla front.

“It’s an investigation through documentary theater. We find in the investigation a pair of clues and that’s what we use onstage, but there are really 100 different items of proof that Jorge had nothing to do with it,” said Calderon.

Shown onstage are shots of the trial and videos that show the corruption of the Chilean police and justice system in a case that remains closed.

“The idea is that there should be a political movement to reopen the case,” the director said.

“Mateluna” was presented at Berlin’s HAU Hebbel an Ufer theater complex last October, and this week formed part of the program at the Sao Paulo International Theater Festival, from where it traveled to other Brazilian cities before leaving for Mexico.

The work continues Calderon’s brand of “political” theater seen in other works like “Neva,” “Diciembre,” “Clase,” “Villa” and “Discurso,” which have been staged in more than 30 countries.

Calderon grew up during the Pinochet dictatorship and told EFE that he feels part of the social and political movements of the time, which, from his point of view, ended “when Chile began its transition to democracy.”

Nonetheless, “the dictatorship is a ghost that continues to haunt Chile,” he said.

To make his point, the playwright said that “in Chile. the constitution imposed by Pinochet is still in force” and “the neoliberal values” that regulate the economy to this day were introduced by the authoritarian regime.
“Despite decades of democracy, the country has been unable to unshackle itself from those impositions,” he said.

RELATED: Chile’s Pinochet Long Gone, but Torture Persists: Rights Expert

Years ago, Calderon moved to the United States as a refuge to “relax and write” stage plays, but since Donald Trump became president he has noted a difference.

“There is indignation, anger, pain, and a deep sadness I never felt in the US before…it reminds me of Chile during the dictatorship. The conditions are different, but the emotions are similar,” he said.

Calderon has dedicated his life to political reflection on stage and screen, because, he said, “when all institutions fail, the last thing that’s left is art.”

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