At least 3,200 people were murdered or forcibly disappeared by the military regime of Augusto Pinochet.
The president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, signed this Wednesday the supreme decree that launches the National Plan for the Search for Truth and Justice, a program that aims clarify the circumstances of disappearance, death and fate of the victims of the dictatorship led by General Augusto Pinochet between 1973 and 1990.
“In these days where there are those who dare to deny all this (the crimes of the dictatorship), How do you respond to those who invite you to forget?“, to those who deny what happened, to those who justify it and who are not able to say that they would not do it again?” express Boric from the La Moneda Palace, headquarters of the Presidency in Santiago, the capital of Chile.
In that sense, the president said that his Government considers that “the best way to provide answers to some of these questions is by putting them into practice and assuming, as a collective and institutional responsibilitythe responsibility that was assumed at the time by the “victims” of the regime that organized the coup d’etat against the democratic government of President Salvador Allende.
For Boric, “democracy is memory and future, and it cannot be one without the other,” for this reason, he said, the implementation of this plan translates into the “permanent” commitment of the Government and the State to “do everything” within their power “to clarify” the crimes of the military dictatorship.
“That truth has to be constructed and it is the State that has to contribute so that such is done.“added Boric during the ceremony in which relatives of victims of the dictatorship were present and which coincided with the International Day of Victims of Forced Disappearances, which is commemorated this August 30.
Boric added that his Government is not “mobilized by resentment” but by “the conviction that the only possibility of building a future that is freer and more respectful of life and human dignity is to know the whole truth.” To do this, he said, it is necessary not only gestures but also “concrete public policies with financing,” like the aforementioned plan, which help forge “robust democracies.”
What does this plan consist of and what is it for?
The Government of Chile detailed in a statement that the objective of the National Search Plan “is to clarify the circumstances of disappearance and/or death of people who are victims of forced disappearance, in a systematic and permanent manner, in accordance with the obligations of the State of Chile and international standards“.
In that sense, the State “seeks to trace the route of the victims’ disappearance, collaborate with judicial investigations and help set memory and non-repeat guaranteewithout prejudice to the establishment of criminal responsibilities” through three fundamental lines:
- Clarify the circumstances of disappearance and/or death of the victims of forced disappearance, as well as their whereabouts.
- Guarantee the access to information and participation of family members and society regarding the search processes for victims of forced disappearance.
- Implement measures of repair and guarantees of non-repetition of the commission of the crime of forced disappearance.
The plan, indicates La Moneda, “will have permanent governance and an assigned budget, so will exist as an instrument of public policy that must be implemented, executed and respected” by all the governments that succeed Boric’s.
Although the program had the participation of different social organizations, human rights organizations, relatives of the victims, academics, historians, among other actors in Chilean society, the Executive considers it pertinent to make “another effort” to have a more accurate record of the number of direct victims of the dictatorship.
Victims of the dictatorship
According to data from the Executive, based on “various judicial investigations” and the “work of different instances” of the State, The Pinochet dictatorship murdered and forcibly disappeared at least 3,200 peoplebetween 1973 and 1990.
Official figures estimate that 1,469 victims were forcibly disappeared. Of that number, families and authorities have only been able to identify 307 people.
The Chilean Government highlighted that in the work of justice, the State has managed to convict several state agents, soldiers of the dictatorship and civiliansafter confirming their responsibility as authors, accomplices or accessories to the forced disappearance, kidnapping, torture and murder of the victims.
Through the plan signed by Boric, the State will expand and continue the search effortsrecovery and identification of victims, as well as “the possible restitution of victims of forced disappearance.”
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