Chilean bishops’ appeal: “We need the truth about the disappeared”

Fifty years after Pinochet’s military coup, the Chilean Church launches an appeal to the entire population to ask anyone who knows information about people who disappeared during the dictatorship to make it known.There are our brothers and sisters who suffer because they do not know the truth about their family members arrested and disappeared”, said the president of the Chilean Episcopal Conference, Celestino Aósduring the traditional Te Deum of the Fiestas Patrias, celebrated in the metropolitan cathedral of Santiago, in the presence of the Chilean president, Gabriel Boric.

Aos invited anyone who knows useful information to communicate it, even anonymously, to the Church, which will then forward it to the authorities. The archbishop underlined that one can sin even by looking the other way, and dedicated his prayer to “those who sin by omission”. “We beg God to convert their hearts, to reveal the information they may have. Brothers who know something, we turn to you for the good of the families who suffer but also for your own good”, declared Aos.

The Chilean government warmly welcomed the Church’s initiative. It is a “highly significant” collaboration, said executive spokeswoman Camila Vallejo. In our country, President Boric recalled, “there are still more than 1,100 missing people. When the media wonders about reconciliation or the role that the authorities must play in it, I say that the best thing is justice, the truth and memory, do not forget. I believe that the archbishop has launched a very powerful invitation in this sense.”

Aos’ appeal comes a few days after the fiftieth anniversary of the coup of 11 September 1973. The anniversary has once again highlighted the difficulty of achieving a shared memory of the military coup, in a country where there is strong political polarisation. The progressive Boric, the first Chilean president born after the coup, launched a research plan to get to the truth about the many “desaparecidos” of the military dictatorship.

By Editor

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