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Irish Left Review
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Patricia Verdugo 1948-2008

category international | gender and sexuality | other press author Friday February 29, 2008 13:21author by Obit Report this post to the editors

Woman who exposed Pinochet's Brutality

" We should preserve in adults the confident and Joyful attitude of children"

Patricia Verdugo has died. She helped form in Chile 'The Women's Movement for Life' ( 1983), which comprised
women politicians, activists and writers;a cauccas of women opposed to the Pinochet regime. The WML
organised protests against Pinochet .

She was a journalist , an activist and an academic, who in the immeadiate aftermath of her father's assasination
began her career to expose the Pinochet Regime.

She founded 'Hoy' , established 1977. The Publication operated throughout the dictatorship and retained an
independent critical position against the dictatorial regime.
Her books included; 'Bucharest 187' and 'The Claws of the Puma' (1989)

Patricia Verdugo RIP
Patricia Verdugo RIP

The books formed the basis for the legal cases instituted against the Pinochet regime.

'The Claws of the Puma' detailed 75 extra-judicial murders in the period just after the coup, when 'The Caravan
of Death'- a Puma helicopter travelled picking up dissidents and murdering them.

She never gave up despite the great personal cost, which disallowed her time to grieve the murder
of her father and copper-fastened her desire to expose the brutality of the regime which she found herself
living in.

'Bucharest 187'- was written in the immediate aftermath of the extra-judicial murder of her father, whose body was
found in the Mapacho river, which crosses Santiago. She discussed her inability to cope with the post-traumatic
disorder that resulted from the disappearance of her dad and decided consciously to create a movement
against human rights violation from her trauma and in solidarity with women who had suffered the same traumas.

She was nominated for the Nobel peace Prize in 2005

author by Obit IIpublication date Fri Feb 29, 2008 19:15Report this post to the editors

The Puma, in this case referred to the helicopters that went on a death mission to take
out Allende loyalists.

General Arellano Stark , an officer delegate of Pinochet arrived by helicopter in Northern towns
to review and expedite the cases against dissidents, whilst he was doing this officers in his
entourage clandestinely rounded up and executed 75 people.

The book by Verduga deals with the issues surrounding 'The Caravan of Death'. She
undertook in the book to investigate Pinochet's consolidation of power in the direct
aftermath of the coup D'Etat. That book began the series of incidents which led to
the General's arrest in London.

In another article on this newswire: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/80021
there is a photograph of the vigil for Pinochet, with a badly spelt sign calling the man
'inmortal'. Sometimes all that is left after a death is an imagistic or visual
association.Pinochet's name will be forever associated with torture and cruelty.

Verduga's name should be associated with endeavour, integrity and bravery.

RIP

author by Commentpublication date Sun Mar 02, 2008 15:21Report this post to the editors

" Yes, if the tormentor could express himself- then nearly everything
would be gained. only he could fix on a pin this harmful human insect
-only he sees through it. But the Tormentor never speaks, he is the most
laconic being that was ever created. He forces his victims to do the talking,
the wailing, the stammering- he himself is silent- one might think it was stupidity,
but it is not stupidity, one might think that it was contempt for words, but he does
not despise words, he is interested in words. It is perhaps quite simply inability.
He is bound to the action, the victim is bound to the word"

Mirjam Tuominen, 1947. (Survivor of Nazi-ism)

In Memory of Patricia Verdugo (1948-2008) who transcended the role of 'Victim",
prescribed for countless thousands under the rule of Pinochet.

author by Obitpublication date Sat Mar 29, 2008 20:39Report this post to the editors

some of the members of International PEN (women) will commemorate the
work of Patricia Verdugo at the 2008 meeting in Bogota, this is to highlight
her bravery and integrity against the Pinochet regime-

because of the consistent emphasis on the negative and the violent, many
forget the names of those who have fought to expose the regime. Patricia worked
in solidarity with many women's groups ,and women writers wish to
honour her life.

What occurs to writers and readers is why the names of the torturers and abusers
persist and the names of those who have fought them are quietly forgotten?

When we speak of Chile, we should begin to speak of Verdugo and not of
the man whose violence brought down the democratically elected government of
Salvador Allende...

Someday we will teach our kids to forget the names of those who have taken
part in illegal wars/human rights abuses; and remember those who oppose violence instead.

RIP Patricia Verdugo.

(the only reason to remember the name of pinochet is to ensure that his
like is not repeated- tall order)

 
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