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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le dictateur, les États-Unis et les nazis

by Pierre Barbancey (interviewer)

Chile: The Dictator, the United States and the Nazis

Translated Monday 1 January 2007

Chilean journalist and film-maker, arrested and tortured during the Pinochet dictatorship, José Maldavski remembers for l’Humanité those years of darkness

HUMA: How did you feel when you learned of the death of this dictator?

JOSÉ MALDAVSKI: I never rejoice at the death of someone, because I love life. The difference between Pinochet and myself, is that he, precisely, loved death. It was death that controlled his mind and which led him to kill, according to the official statistics, 3,000 people in Chile, to have thousands of Chileans tortured, and to force nearly a million others into exile.

My feelings are more towards the families of the victims of the Pinochet dictatorship, because he was never judged. He appeared in front of the court, but was never condemned. This creates an enormous void, a scream of anger, because it means that international justice never played the role it could have played. One saw what happened in London, a few years ago, when the dictator was able to leave again, but this also happened in Chile. International justice does not function as all the fine democrats in the whole world would like it to function.

HUMA: The public lawsuit disappears with the death of Pinochet. What should be done now?

JOSÉ MALDAVSKI: Of course, he will never be condemned. But one must find a way of condemning his regime. The trial must go on, and especially the trial of his close collaborators, some of whom are in jail. There are trials are taking place in Chile, and we could say that the cause of justice has advanced. Not fast enough for sure, but it is still progressing. You have to go all the way, and especially analyse what this regime really involved, so it never happens again, so that fascism is no more, to let the whole world know what happened.

HUMA: Pinochet’s coup d’état was supported by the CIA. What is the best way to ask these questions in the public forum?

JOSÉ MALDAVSKI: The death of Pinochet makes people talk about what happened and the younger generations learn the reality of 11 September 1973, now masked by another 11 September, the one of 2001. But it is an opportunity to talk of this situation again, to testify to the reality of a dictatorship and spread the value of democracy. In France, there is freedom of speech and the new generations may not appreciate the value and significance of this freedom, what it means to be able to talk freely. It is extremely important.

HUMA: Can one be sure that such a tragedy will not happen again?

JOSÉ MALDAVSKI: One can never be sure, insofar as this type of tragedy is continually being repeated. The tragedy that lasted 17 years in Chile makes us to look at the tragedy of the whole world. One looks on in silence, as people are dying in Africa or what is happening in Palestine. Walls are being built everywhere. Half of the world’s people live on less than two dollars a day. We must continue to struggle against the capitalist system that creates inequalities and poverty everywhere.

HUMA: You are a film-maker. You are just finishing a documentary on Chile. Does the death of Pinochet have any bearing on your film?

JOSÉ MALDAVSKI: This film describes a nazi group in Chile, the Dignidad Colony - as in "Dignity" - set up by a former nazi, who has been charged with being a pedophile. He found refuge in Chile in the 1960s, and was an arms-source for the Chilean dictatorship. He was working with another nazi general, who became a refugee in the United States and worked for the CIA until his death in 1992. He became one of the most important collaborators of Pinochet and transformed this "Colonia Dignidad" not only into a refuge for former Nazis, but into a laboratory for experimenting on human beings, like in the German concentration camps, and a torture centre, where hundreds of people disappeared. A centre surrounded by barbed wire, like in Auschwitz, which was allowed to exist for 45 years, and was tolerated by the Pinochet dictatorship and used by the CIA in the notorious "Operation Condor" which killed so many people, those on the left and democrats from throughout Latin America.

The film will be shown on the channel "France 5" next March and on other TV stations broadcasting throughout the world.

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