First Response: Dead Memories

In the late 90’s, Chile found itself in an awkward position of having just come out of  a dictatorship, but all of the members of the previous regime were still in positions of power.  Teresa Meade discusses the uncomfortable reality of post-Pinochet Chile where the government was unwilling to fully commit to recognizing the full atrocities of the previous government.

Meade argues that Ricardo Lagos, who was president after Pinochet attempted to maintain aspects of his Neoliberal ideals, along with the socialist ideals of Lagos’ own party.  Although public monuments were erected, Meade argues that Chile had not fully recognized the past atrocities.  This can be related to Temma Kaplan’s argument that Pinochet’s regime attempted to silence those that they tortured through their own shame.

A combination of an unstable political situation as well as the attempts by Pinochet’s government to silence their victims seem to have created an uneasy acknowledgement, but not a true acceptance of their past crimes.  This creates the question of how it is best to acknowledge the tragedy of ones own past.  There is a conflict in Chile between accepting the atrocities of Pinochet’s government and attempting to hide their shame in not prosecuting Pinochet nor fully acknowledging the mistakes made by his government.

This is perhaps best encapsulated by Meade’s description of one of these public monuments remembering the victims.  While the monument remains not vandalized around it do not seem to fully grasp the scale of the atrocities the monument represents.

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