During dictatorship´s years, we passed our childness and adolescence
at school in a quite atmosphere. Saint George´s kept its georgean spirit during all those years. Even though the school was returned to the Holy Cross only in 1986. We grown up in a privilege area in Santiago, where people lived, worked and walked without any danger. While in downtown, we knew years later, torture, kidnaping, and murder was the destiny for any disident of the facto government.
This quite atmosphere was kepted by the press. The most prestigious newspaper was constantly drawing our ambient as a country in progress. That it was. But TV, never gave a real talk about the dictator. My god, he has a terrible voice. And there were paralele lives suffering persecution. And that word is hard.
My little friends, with political information and with higher consciousness about the situation, gave us awareness on part of what was going on. Barbara, Claudio, Eugenio, Keka and Octavia, open our eyes and taught us on the importance of democracy and having empathy with people who was suffering. These guys were shinning since little stars.
Anyway, i have my own dictatorship at home, so I really didn’t fully commit to the cause. My father was like a general in a bad mood. So i had my own fight with a ruthless figure. I could be more extensive about this, but for now i can tell my father was strict, excentric and a good cooker, plus charming and quite violent sometimes. Not too much violent, but not nice. Just to say, for me this was my daily civil war. While people organized themselves in downtown to do some expression of disapprove, I did not do mine.
Claudio, Eugenio and other friends were one year older than us. They have a real compromise with poor people, they were christians but most of all, politicians. Except for Diego. Diego was the brother of my friend Octavia and he was always free. Now is a super astrophysic, studied in Harvard for many years and is part of those teams of the big astronomic observatories at the North of Chile.
But was Octavia and her whole family who had a big influence on me. They lived in an old and big house at Providencia. Arturo her father was a top doctor in psychiatry and her mother Olaya was a free spirit. They all lived together even they were divorce. Arturo has his psichiatric office at front house and his home above. And Olaya and her 3 kids lived in the second floor.
Olaya was curious, always searching for something. I remember when she tinted all her clothes in red to follow the instruction of the Bagwan, Osho. Years later I found her in New York on roller blades going out from her acupunturist office at the east side in Manhattan. And she loved her 3 kids Magdalena, Diego and Octavia, 3 kids full of light. From them i learnt to love music, the beatles, latin american music, chilean music and clasical music. And I smoked my first joint with Octavia in Mallarauco, where i didn´t stop laughing. The same weekend her grand father kiss me on the mouth. A shock for me, a lucky moment for him.
The two other great friends of this story were la Barbara y la Keka. They born in Santiago the same day, same clinic. Barbara was the older of 5 brothers and her father was the son of a Chilean Prime Minister who was killed by an extreme command. His name is on an important crossing of avenues in Santiago, Perez Zujovic. Keka was arriving from living many years in Washignton, DC, because her father was an eminence doctor from Georgetown and her mother was a journalist from an important political magazine. She has long and funny fingers for playing the piano. Both came from the international school of Nido de Aguilas and both love skiing. They were super charismatics. Two beautiful girls, sweet, talented and very intelligents.
Santiago, kept growing aswell, as a homogeneous group of people, all with differents roles, living mostly on the valley and others on the mountain hills. Even longer and quiter aveneus start colonizing the wild nature of the hills around Santiago. Where there was space for rising your comet, houses and buildings get their spaces. And the role model was an american way of life. Anyway we are americans with open cities and open spaces. But I mean, south americans, we were not cowboys.
Cowboys arrived years later on big trucks as men of Texas, but now I´m talking of the early 80´s. Progress was given people their dreams, at least on the material world. And cars defined you. A big car, a small car. And a car was needed to go from one place to another. You could take the public transportation but it took too much.
My first car was a dark grey Beetle VW from 1968. I bought it cheap, but cheap, in this kind of things, is always expensive. I realized I have to rebuild it.
And i don´t know what to say about this car defining me. I thought for years I was paying some doubts of my past lives. This car came from the past. Me and some friends in other lives doing things and now paying. Like a cursed. Indeed, it finished burnt in a long avenue, entering Santa Maria de Manquehue. Burnt the karma in fact. But above all, I can say it was beautiful, even classy.
The neoliberal economic model ruled the country and installed a new mind on the people. Chile works, was one of the mantra of one growing bussiness, a coaching business. This model was the most intelligent thing that Pinochet used to promoted and legitimize his government. And the reason as well, why he obtained many fans.
The economic group led by Agustín Edwards Eastman, owner of El Mercurio, was decisive in setting up and consolidating the neoliberal model during the military dictatorship. The business conglomerate not only decisively helped to impose it; it also benefited from many subsidies and concessions granted by General Augusto Pinochet and his ministers.
It is said, El Mercurio, along with other Chilean media outlets, received funding from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), with the consent of Henry Kissinger, with the aim of destabilizing the Allende government.
At home, we received the newspaper everyday. We were a very informed family. On sundays the newspaper came bigger, with all kind of supplements, arts, politics, cinema, fashion, interviews, etc. El Mercurio moved all around the house, starting at my father´s room.
But, times were changin’. And the press started changing as well. It means the director of the newspaper changed opinion, or at least some people advised him to change. I remember one weekend El Mercurio opened the information. A scoop about presuntos detenidos desaparecidos, missing people. Pinochet couldn´t resist without the silence of the press.
Intellectuals, some journalists and also conservative people in Santiago, what in spanish is called la derecha, started to speak louder about themes of missing people, torture and persecutions.
While we were still living a quite and normal life, growing up too. In parties, skiing, and studying aswell.