It happens with depressing regularity in Chile: seemingly out of nowhere, a witness comes forth to give an account of a horrific crime from the Pinochet regime. This week it was a former conscript, Guillermo Reyes Rammsy, who called a popular talk show to say he was considering suicide and went on to describe his involvement in 18 executions following the 1973 military coup
“We shot them in the head and then blew up the bodies with dynamite, there was nothing left, not even their shadow,” he said. Though he did not give his name, or that of any of those killed, Chilean police quickly tracked Reyes Rammsy down and charged him with the murders of two members of the country’s Socialist Party. The Guardian has this story:
Meanwhile, there has been some acknowledgement of the military regime’s human rights abuses from an unexpected source: Augusto Pinochet Molina, the late dictator’s grandson. The former army captain came to public attention nine years ago when he gave a speech at his grandfather’s funeral, praising the elder Pinochet’s “war against the Marxists” and saying that he had produced a stable and prosperous country. The Chilean army responded by forcing Pinochet Molina to retire, along with another general who had given a speech praising the dictator.
But this past week Pinochet Molina told Chile’s La Tercera newspaper that in fact there had been some crimes committed under his grandfather’s rule.
“There were serious human rights violations during the military government, which in some cases were really criminal situations, like the assassination of Tucapel Jimenez,” he said, referring to the 1982 murder of the president of Chile’s public employees’ union. But Pinochet Molina maintained that there was a “dirty war against insurgents” and that “millions of people in Chile and all over the world have enormous affection” for his grandfather.
Thanks very much, Mary Helen, for this post. It is very important, for future generations, that this historical record remains with us. The great, distinguished Chilean film director, Patricio Guzman, often notes that in his opinion it will take 100 years for Chile to recuperate from the 1973 military coup. I agree with him.