Search for Pinochet-era missing a “moral duty,” Chilean president says

Santiago, Mar 16 (EFE).- President Gabriel Boric said Thursday that Chile has an obligation to continue looking for the nearly 1,200 victims of the 1973-1990 Pinochet dictatorship whose remains have yet to be found.

“Much time has passed, it will be difficult, success is improbable. But we have the moral duty never to stop searching for those who are missing, for those who were murdered and made to disappear for their ideas,” he said at the site of a mass grave where bodies of victims of the military regime were found in 1990.

“We have committed ourselves to implement, in conjunction with the groups of families of disappeared detainees, a national search plan because it pains us, it tears the heart, the soul – and not only the human soul, but the soul of the homeland – that there are still people looking for their loved ones,” the president said.

Boric, who was joined by victims’ relatives at the grave in the far northern city of Pisagua, denounced apologists for the late Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who took power on Sept. 11, 1973, in a violent coup against the elected president, Socialist Salvador Allende.

“Perhaps there are still those – I hope not – who try to blame the dead or the tortured for what happened in Chile, we will not allow it,” the 36-year-old former student leader said.

“Only with a universal historical condemnation and a common view of the atrocities of the past will we be able to confront the threats that now stalk democracies around the world,” he said.

The national search plan is to draw on the experience and knowledge of other countries in the region, including Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Paraguay, and Colombia.

“Only with an unshakeable commitment to find our disappeared detainees will we be able construct a more human and freer future for all, that is the ethical commitment of our government,” Boric said.

Official figures show that some 3,200 people were killed by agents of Pinochet’s government, while 40,000 others underwent torture and arbitrary imprisonment.

EFE ssb-jm/dr

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