SANTIAGO, Chile — Yelena Monroy was 3 years previous when she was imprisoned for greater than a 12 months alongside together with her youthful sister and her mom, a socialist activist focused by the regime of Gen. Augusto Pinochet after he got here to energy in Chile in a army coup in September 1973.
“We had been scared, we had been crying,” recalled Monroy, now a 53-year-old industrial engineer and one in every of greater than 1,000 kids and adolescents who had been detained within the identify of combating communism and leftist guerrillas throughout Chile’s army dictatorship from 1973 to 1990.
When Pinochet put in himself as chief, the age of majority in Chile was set at 21 years. However being a minor was no safety from the dictatorship’s crackdown. Kids had been detained, tortured, killed, and even used as decoys to apprehend their mother and father.
The trauma of that interval has made most of the younger victims of the army regime reluctant to talk out, and the method of prosecuting that period’s crimes and making reparations typically has made no distinction amongst victims primarily based on age. So, the kid victims of the Pinochet period haven’t had a lot visibility, although minors symbolize practically 10% of the deaths attributed to the regime.
“We don’t classify them by age, as a result of all of them suffered,” Gaby Rivera, president of Chile’s Affiliation of Relations of the Detained-Disappeared, advised The Related Press.
Nevertheless, the Nationwide Fee on Political Imprisonment and Torture figures present that the Pinochet regime detained 1,132 minors below the age of 18. Of those 88 had been below 13 and 102 had been arrested together with their mother and father — or had been born in jail.
Some 307 kids below the age of 18 had been killed throughout that interval, in line with human rights teams’ evaluations of documentation from the Nationwide Fact and Reconciliation Fee. About 3,200 folks total had been killed throughout the dictatorship, or went lacking and are believed useless.
Chile’s Nationwide Stadium, within the nation’s capital, grew to become the biggest detention heart of the army authorities. That’s the place they arrested — and beat — Roberto Vásquez Llantén, when he was 17, for being an lively militant of the Revolutionary Left Motion.
He had been in hiding because the begin of the coup, however was arrested on Jan. 15, 1974. Vásquez Llantén, who’s 67 in the present day, spent a 12 months within the Chacabuco Jail Camp within the Atacama desert together with 16 different minors. There was no electrical energy or sizzling water, he recalled. There have been antipersonnel mines exterior the barbed-wire to maintain prisoners in line, whereas guards saved watch from towers.
If minors had political significance, they had been detained identical to adults. However in addition they had been used as lures to entice and detain their mother and father.
The Fernández Montenegro sisters had been imprisoned in February 1974 after they had been youngsters.
Viviana, 14, and Morelia, 17, had been accused of being guerrillas within the Chilean port of Valparaíso the place they lived, some 120 kilometers (75 miles) northwest of the capital. Their mom was arrested and launched after 24 hours. The entire household, except for the daddy, had been lively communists.
The sisters had been first held collectively within the Silva Palma Navy Barracks, on one of many many inhabited hills of Valparaíso.
“I used to be in a cell, sporting a hoodie, whereas some guys put electrical energy cables on my fingers, yelling and screaming profanities and threats,” demanding to know the place the weapons had been, Viviana Fernández recounted.
“The one factor I did was cry and cry … I felt very afraid, very afraid,” she mentioned.
Fernández, who’s 64 in the present day, and Yelena Monroy are members of the Affiliation of Former Minors Victims of Political Imprisonment and Torture, created 9 years in the past partially to lift consciousness concerning the destiny of kids and adolescents below the dictatorship.
Fernández, who’s the spokesperson, says the group has about 100 members, however she thinks there are lots of extra, and that many are nonetheless afraid to speak about what occurred to them throughout these years.
Many different minors of that point didn’t survive to inform their story.
José Gregorio Saavedra González, a militant of the Revolutionary Left Motion, was executed on the age of 18 by troopers in Calama, within the north of the nation, along with 25 different political prisoners on Oct. 19, 1973. He was one of many disappeared who years later had been positioned — and recognized.
“They gave us a little bit little bit of a finger in a small field, and a little bit little bit of what I think about was a small tooth,” remembers his sister, Ángela Saavedra, who’s 81.
Monroy and Fernández fault the Chilean authorities for not absolutely acknowledging previous violations of kids’s human rights.
“We have now been completely forgotten by the state, it is extremely a lot in debt,” Fernández mentioned.
Comply with AP’s protection of Latin America and the Caribbean at https://apnews.com/hub/latin-america