Mauricio Redolés: “There is no greater awareness in society of the wound left by the dictatorship”

 Mauricio Redolés:

” The dictatorship transformed this country into a country segmented into stagnant social classes and in a democracy that automatically reproduced itself with zero or very little social mobility,” says Redolés, who spent nine years, nine months and nineteen days in exile.

A little over a week ago, the Santiago Appeals Court confirmed the ruling ordering the payment of compensation to Mauricio Redolés for non-pecuniary damage, as a direct victim of torture and humiliation during the dictatorship.

In an interview with BioBioChile, Redolés reflects on what it was like to live far from Chile after being sentenced to estrangement.

“Exile should not be confused with emigration, for economic and even political reasons. In my case, I was sentenced to estrangement in a court martial carried out by the Chilean Navy on January 10, 1975”, he explains.

“When talking about exile, not it is specified that there were as many types of exile as number of exiles. Exile is not the same for a doctor as it is for a worker, it is not the same for someone who is in Argentina in 1975 -about to enter a dictatorship- as it is to be in Italy or England”, he assures.

“In my particular case, I spent nine years, nine months and nineteen days in exile, and for at least nine years I lived renting rooms in houses where I shared the bathroom and kitchen with unknown people&#8221 ;, he details.

During his stay outside of Chile, Redolés dedicated himself to giving talks recounting his experience as a former political prisoner, or forming musical groups of Latin American folk music or singing as a soloist.

“In front of the Chilean and Latin American community sometimes I read my poems. I took advantage of studying sociology at The City University obtaining the degree of “Bachelor of Science with Honors in Sociology” in 1982. I published two collections of poems and two books of poetry (between 1978 and 1985), and recorded two albums with my songs and poems (in 1978 and in 1985). In those years I wrote poetry, I composed songs and I started writing chronicles”.

“Rarely do we reflect on how the dictatorship changed us as a country”

For him, being away from Chile was decisive in his art. “Without a dictatorship, neither I nor you would be the same”, he acknowledges.

In this sense, he reflects on how our country emerges after seventeen years of dictatorship.

“The multiple fractures and traumas caused by the fascist dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet and Jaime Guzmán leaves us with a country with the task of recovering from those strong blows. Strong as those verses by César Vallejo that say: There are blows in life, so strong… I don’t know! Blows as of the hatred of God; as if before them, the undertow of everything they had suffered would pool in the soul… I don’t know!”

“It is rarely reflected in terms of what changed us as a country. It is not about mechanically placing all the blame on the dictatorship, they are not so vulgar processes, those that give a real and precise account of the damage of the dictatorship. There are much more complex processes that, rooted in various ways, result in the Chile of today”, he says.

For example, how have Chilean education been affected by the measures that with great will have tried to democratize it? And deep down, many of these measures have contributed to the destruction of public education. In other words, let’s remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I have no doubt about the good intentions of ending the exclusionary policies of the educational system. But the policy of the current school admissions system is destroying public education,” he reflects.

“It is often said that this is done so that sectors with less income can enter high schools in quality. Correct, I share that policy in that sense, but when saying lower-income sectors, the people are used as a synonym. But that generality does not differentiate between the working people and sectors of the lumpen that are not interested in education, and who are also people”, Redolés points out.

“And why does this happen? I am afraid that it happens because those who design these educational policies do not know the reality of the people. They don’t know how much drug trafficking and crime have permeated the popular sectors. And they don’t know it because this intelligentsia that designs the public systems of education, transportation, health, etc. They have their children in private schools, drive by car and receive care in private clinics. This “elitistization” of public policies and politics in general goes beyond the left and the right”, he says.

“The dictatorship transformed this country into a country segmented into stagnant social classes and in a democracy that automatically reproduced with zero or very little social mobility.Many times the young anarchists are attacked, the “white overalls” who go to the head together with the bureaucrats to end public education. Young anarchists are not children of the dictatorship, they are grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the dictatorship. In turn, the bureaucrats of the state apparatus are grandsons of the dictatorship and sons of the coalition democracy”, he points out.

For Redolés, the dictatorship continues to be an open wound in Chilean society.&# 8221;And the worst thing is that there is no greater awareness in society as such of that wound”, he emphasizes.

“For example, for the “social outbreak” the barras bravas were seen in Plaza Dignidad. Some dim-witted commentator said, the barras bravas are for social change, for the revolution, etc. However, Juan Cristóbal Guarello in the Días Contados program of the Vía X channel reminded us that several sectors of the barras bravas were Pinochetistas”, he exemplifies.

Redolés: “The coup d’etat they give public employees”

In that sense, he pointed to the State’s debt to the victims of the dictatorship.

“Let’s remember that the coup d’etat was carried out by public employees. Weren’t the Army, Navy, Air Force and Police paid by state money?”, he highlights.

“Many times the Armed Forces and Carabineros are spoken of as pure angels who have come from heaven to earth to help us. This is so pathetic that when there is a national catastrophe, such as large fires, earthquakes, tidal waves, tsunamis, floods, and they act by carrying out containment, rescue, recovery, and repair work, in the damaged sectors, presidents of the Republic appear, honorable parliamentarians, mayors, ministers, etc, “thanking them” for their actions. But they are not doing themselves any favors by carrying out those tasks! They are paid for them, they are given housing, health, welfare in unbeatable conditions compared to the rest of the Chilean employees! And by thanking them, one gives the impression that they carry out these actions as a good person and not because it is a duty of the State”, he says.

“I call on all the men and women who have ever they were kidnapped, tortured, imprisoned, by officials of the State of Chile to exercise the right to demand reparation from the state, and punishment of the guilty”, he concludes.

“I end this interview by thanking the lawyer Karinna Fernández and the lawyer Luis Pérez Camousseight who represented me in such good shape in these proceedings”, he concludes.

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