Rightwing lawmakers in Chile's Chamber of Deputies hold a minute of silence on the eighth anniversary of Pinochet's death.

Right wing lawmakers in Chile’s Chamber of Deputies hold a minute of silence on the eighth anniversary of Pinochet’s death.

He died eight years ago in Santiago’s Hospital Militar, ironically on the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. His ashes are kept in a chapel on an estate owned by his family, one of several properties he acquired during his lifetime. And he still has his admirers, as demonstrated by no less than 28 tributes published in the obituary section of El Mercurio, Chile’s largest newspaper. Here’s one: “We will always remember you for your great work for the good of Chile, for the restoration of its democracy and the enormous development achieved and projected, and for having kept the country’s peace, without ceding a centimeter of territory.”

And a group of lawmakers from Chile’s rightwing Union Democratica Independiente (UDI) party tried to hold a moment of silence in Pinochet’s memory. Ignacio Urrutia made the motion in the Chamber of Deputies, prompting lawmakers from other parties to walk out in protest. One politician from the Party for Democracy (PPD) remained in the chamber in order to break the silence, while a number of younger UDI politicians remained but did not take part.

An un-Merry Christmas catalogue

Not exactly representative of Peruvian children--a page from the Saga Falabella Christmas catalogue.

Not exactly representative of Peruvian children–a page from the Saga Falabella Christmas catalogue.


Four little blonde-haired girls beam at the camera. They are holding dolls (three blonde, one redhead), and the photograph is part of a Christmas catalogue distributed by a Chilean department store’s Peruvian affiliate, Saga Falabella.

Commercial advertising in Latin America is not exactly known for racial diversity, and few of the industry’s models seem to have any indigenous ancestry. But the image has sparked a storm on social media. Peruvian writer and playwright Eduardo Adrianzen wrote on Twitter

“Could anything be MORE RACIST in Peru than the Saga Falabella Christmas catalogues? It can’t be. ¿No? In the USA and Europe there is much more racial variety than in these photos, I swear. Pretty little girls, yes, but how many Peruvians do they represent? 1%? (too much?) The rest of us can’t shop at Saga: it isn’t for us. Seriously, the people who approved these catalogues must live on Narnia or in some arch-Caucasian country that exists only in their minds. Should we impose a lot of fines against RACISTS (in capital letters) or would it be better to send them to urgent psychiatric care?”

The public reaction has prompted Saga Falabella to withdraw the Christmas catalogue from its 25 Peruvian branches, and to issue a statement saying that the company “respected and appreciated diversity in the broadest sense.”