Isn't it ironic (doncha think?) that murderous dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet died in his native Chile on International Human Rights Day? I think so. Rent the 1982 film "Missing" with Sissy Spacek and Jack Lemmon to get a sense of what it was like in Chile leading up to Pinochet's overthrow of the democratically-elected Allende government on Sept. 11, 1973.
From the UK Independent: "This is a moment of freedom, of joy, and of catharsis for an entire nation that lived through one of the worst dictatorships of all of Latin America," said Daniela Lillo, a mother and actress who stood in Santiago's Plaza Italia square, with a glass of champagne in hand.
With her four-year-old daughter in tow, she said her daughter she would never forget this day and her first sip of champagne.
But others say they were disappointed that Pinochet never saw his day in court for the 3,200 deaths and disappearances that took place under his rule.
"Pinochet has died without ever served justice," said Carmen Soria, the daughter of a Spanish diplomat assassinated during the dictatorship. "The courts and four government of the Concertacion [Chile's ruling left-wing coalition] were not able to condemn Pinochet.
It is ironic that he also died on the International Day for Human Rights. "This day is bittersweet because we weren't able to make him spend a single day in jail," lamented Ximena Muñoz, a human rights activist for an association for Chile's disappeared.
"Still, he's been judged by the public and that will go down in history, so today he is dead and you see today that it's a carnival for Chile's people. The dictator has died. Now we must forge ahead to try the rest of the assassins and torturers of his era."
Remember the desaparecidos.