Chilean drama series exposes Pinochet repression

July 29, 2011

Pînochet and his generals in 1973. Photo Chas Gerretsen, Nederlands Fotomuseum

A new historical drama series on Chilean public television, set during the Pinochet years in order to retell the first discoveries of the regime’s widespread use of torture and disappearances, is drawing large numbers of viewers and exasperating some on the Right, the Associate Press reports:

In “The Archives of the Cardinal,” a team of lawyers and investigators working with Catholic Church officials discovers the first proof that the military dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet had committed summary executions of political prisoners and other crimes. The characters are fictitious, but the story is based on true events. … The first episode aired last Thursday and was repeated Sunday, leading the ratings and reviving old divisions in the country Pinochet ruled as a dictator from 1973-1990. The leader of President Sebastian Pinera’s National Renovation party, Sen. Carlos Larrain, led the attacks, saying Chile’s public television should broadcast programs that affirm the country’s collective life. In a letter to the leading El Mercurio newspaper last week, he accused TVN of instead turning against society by spreading a leftist message that “you have to keep hate alive.” Still, in a remarkable admission that suggests just how powerful an effect the series may have on a society that has struggled to come to grips with its recent past, the former private attorney and insurance industry executive acknowledged that he himself had been too complacent about human rights abuses under Pinochet.

More here.