Human rights memorials are built to remind us of what we should never do again. Just as there is Auschwitz because of the atrocities committed by the Nazis there, hundreds of monuments, plaques and artworks were erected in Chile after the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Memorial sites that have been vandalized since the social outburst of 18 October last year.
A cadastre by the Chilean Institute of Human Rights put the number of attacks on human rights memorial sites at least eleven. Scratches, messages of hatred and even the destruction of commemorative plaques are some of the events that have been seen throughout the country.
From La Serena in the north of the country to Valdivia in the south. These atrocities have been seen. For example, in Concepción, the “Memorial for the Detained and Disappeared” located in the city’s Bicentennial Park was broken, scratched and excrement thrown. Another is the “Mirador de Los Angeles,” which commemorates the murder of two minors (ages 8 and 9) by members of the Arica Regiment of La Serena. In the latter, symbols of ultra-right-wing paramilitary groups during the government of Salvador Allende were scratched.
The most serious is the attack on Victor Jara’s grave. And although the grave of the Chilean singer-songwriter, a well-known activist for the Popular Unity government, is not officially a human rights memorial, over time it has been transformed into a meeting place for those who seek to dignify his life and sad death at the hands of the Chilean Army.
There is fear among the victims and their families, because they have not seen any action or condemnation of these events. Many of these damages have remained unpunished and it has been the community itself that has had to go out and recover the place.
In January of this year, the director of the Human Rights Institute, Sergio Micco, said that “pertinent administrative and legal actions will be presented so that these facts are clarified and those responsible are sought and punished. So far, everything remains the same.
If you are interested in knowing more about Chile, I will be writing about the demonstrations and the internal conflicts that are taking place in the new section ‘That experiment called Chile‘.