President Boric’s enthusiasm for the commemorative acts of the 50th anniversary of the military coup contrasts with an indifferent atmosphere in Chile. A recent poll revealed that 36% of the country thinks that the military “was right” in carrying out the coup in 1973. And almost half of Chileans believe that the Pinochet regime was “partly good and partly bad.”
A few months after the 50th anniversary of the Coup (it will be fulfilled on September 11), and on a tour of Europe, Boric wanted to demand consensus. This Thursday at the Sorbonne University, in Paris, he recognized “the advances in the 30 years of Democracy, without a doubt. But there are still many debts that Chile carries in terms of truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-repetition. As long as we continue to lack our disappeared, we will not stop looking.”
The Chilean president, in front of the Richelieu amphitheater auditorium, also asked from his “provincial naivety” a common condemnation to guarantee basic principles. In this way “the universal value of human rights will be obtained for the present. And commit ourselves that, when we have problems in Democracy, we will solve them with more Democracy”, alluding to the words of Allende in his historic speech before the UN.
Recent scandals within the Boric government have tarnished the commemorative nature of the anniversary. The coordinator of the event himself had to resign amid criticism of the trivialization of the dictatorship.
In conversation with RFI, Máximo Quitral, a Chilean historian and political scientist from the Metropolitan Technological University, assures that he does not see a united country in the commemoration. “We are going to live for about 50 years with the country well convulsed. It also happens because of an educational system that has not emphasized aspects of memory.”
For Quitral, sectors of the country’s right do not accept that the dictatorship is installed as “a mechanism of permanent memory.” The political scientist acknowledges that Chile’s internal problems can serve as ammunition to “request tougher governments,” and that there is “a certain relaxation with respect to dictatorships.” “It corresponds to do a job that demonstrates to the public that events that tarnish the history of our country cannot be repeated,” concludes Quitral.
This debate on Pinochet’s coup among the new generations comes under the mandate of the president who was born at the end of the dictatorship. The lack of unity contrasts with the example of Uruguay a few weeks ago.