About 200 people attended a memorial service for General Augusto Pinochet on Saturday, December 10, the fifth anniversary of his death. This year it was held not in Santiago but at the family’s estate on the Pacific coast. His widow Lucia Hiriart spoke to reporters outside the property, saying that her late husband “should be left in peace.” She also noted the absence of any government officials at the service, saying that President Sebastian Pinera “seems not to be a very good friend of ours.”
Most Chilean heads of state are buried in Santiago’s General Cemetery, but Pinochet’s ashes are hidden away in a chapel on the estate. He did not receive a presidential funeral, with full state honors, but a funeral for a former army commander and his family reluctantly conceded that placing his remains in a mausoleum would attract vandals and public protests. So after a wake at the military academy, a Catholic mass and fiery speeches by his daughter and grandson, Pinochet’s remains were moved to a crematorium and then transferred to the seaside estate.
There are no public monuments to Pinochet in Chile, though there are dozens of memorial sites dedicated to his victims, including an open air museum at the site of a former detention center and an enormous wall of names in the General Cemetery. The Pinochet Foundation (http://www.fundacionpresidentepinochet.cl/), located in a rather modest house in eastern Santiago, opened a small museum in his honor three years ago. There are four rooms containing some of his personal effects, including several statues of Napoleon, and a recreation of the office he sometimes used at the Foundation.