SANTIAGO – Several Chilean Cabinet ministers on Saturday in Santiago visited some of the sites used for detention and torture of regime opponents during the 1973-1990 Augusto Pinochet dictatorship on the eve of the anniversary of the coup that toppled the Salvador Allende government on Sept. 11, 1973.
The ministers visited Villa Grimaldi, the National Stadium and the Victor Jara Stadium, sites where human rights violations were committed after the military uprising led by Pinochet.
Interior Minister Mario Fernandez and Labor Minister Ximena Rincon visited the National Stadium, the country’s main sports venue, which during the first few months of the dictatorship was used as a concentration camp where political prisoners were tortured and murdered.
Justice Minister Javiera Blanco and Women’s Minister Claudia Pascual toured the installations at Villa Grimaldi, an old detention and torture managed by the National Intelligence Directorate, or DINA, Pinochet’s secret police.
President Michelle Bachelet and her mother, Angela Jeria, were held in 1975 at that site, located in eastern Santiago.
The ministers placed a floral offering in front of the wall on which the names of people who disappeared or were executed while passing through Villa Grimaldi are inscribed.
Meanwhile, Social Development Minister Marcos Barraza visited Victor Jara Stadium, a location that was renamed in honor of the singer-songwriter who was tortured and murdered there a few days after the coup.
The Chile Stadium, as it was called at the time, was another of the sports venues that was used as a detention and torture center.
Sunday will mark the 43rd anniversary of the toppling of Allende’s socialist government and the start of the Pinochet dictatorship.
Bachelet will preside at a commemoration ceremony at La Moneda Palace, which on the starting day of the coup was bombed by air force aircraft.