tejas-verdes

Jon and I went to Villa Grimaldi, the largest of Pinochet’s network of detention centers that had been a restaurant and was converted into a peace park in 1994. The day we visited park officials collected artifacts from torture survivors like Carlos Contreras.

The longtime Communist brought a paper chess set with green and white paper pieces that he used to play with other prisoners while he was imprisoned and tortured at Tejas Verdes, a detention center just south of coastal town San Antonio.   Detained in 1974, he’s kept the set ever since. He said that he came to the villa in part because he might meet someone who had been at Tejas Verdes with him.

Image by Jon Lowenstein and caption by Jeff Kelly Lowenstein. The brothers are in Chile reporting on the presidential elections. Four decades ago, the military overthrew Chile’s democratically-elected government. The Lowensteins are examining the elections, reform, and memory in the wounded country.

“Le pido modestamente como la persona que soy, a carabineros, militares, marinos,a todos quienes participaron de esta dictadura les pido por favor, a quienes maltrataron a su pueblo a sus propios hermanos, que no se pongan la mano en el corazón, si no en el cerebro.. y que algún día, digan donde están las personas desaparecidas, den algún nombre nombres… recién ahí puede que exista disculpa, pero no perdón, por que no habrá perdón, por que lo que hicieron no tiene perdón… perdón lo da otro”
Me torturaron, me quebraron el cuerpo, pero no me quebraron el alma.
—  Feliciano Cerda, sobreviviente torturado en Tejas Verdes, dictadura militar en Chile 1973
La Red-Mentiras Verdaderas.