I was first introduced to the scandal of the Pinochet years by a Chilean exile professor in a class on testimonial literature at the University of California, Riverside. Among the texts we read in that class was a scalding memoir by a detainee and torture victim named Hernán Valdés, Tejas verdes: Diario de un campo de concentración en Chile. The museum reminded me of the inhuman violence carried out by Pinochet's government and of the importance of an institution like El Museo de la Memoria.
And yet . . .
I haven't been able to shake the heretical thought that an authentic museum of memory would include more voices. Not just more Allendista voices but testimonies and experiences from those who were oppressed and dispossessed during the Allende years. Allende won the 1970 election with just 36.61% of the vote. When Pinochet was turned out of office in the 1988 plebiscite, 44% of those casting votes wanted him to stay. In other words, a museum that doesn't acknowledge or preserve the many voices of those who opposed or were devastated by Allende's socialist government and the voices silenced by the inexcusable violence of the years of Pinochet's dictatorship probably ought to acknowledge that it is a shrine and a memorial not so much to memory as to memory of a particular kind and point of view.
There ought to be, in short, a way to hear other voices in ways that go beyond the mockery of a film like "The People Who Still Love Chilean Dictator Pinochet."