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Posts Tagged ‘Casa Memoria José Domingo Cañas’

Aunque los pasos toquen
Mil años este sitio
No borrarán la sangre
De los que aquí cayeron
Y no se extinguirá
La hora en que caíste
Aunque miles de voces crucen este silencio.

(“Even if this place is touched
for a thousand years by footsteps,
they won’t erase the blood
of those who died here.
Nor will the hour in which you met your death
be extinguished,
even if thousands of voices cross this silence.”

Illapu, Aunque los pasos toquen

Casa Memoria, ´Avda. José Domingo Cañas no. 1367

Casa Memoria, ´Avda. José Domingo Cañas no. 1367. One pole for every person killed at this former torture centre.

One of my more memorable excursions whilst in Chile was to the memorial that has been built at Avenida José Domingo Cañas no. 1367. This address, in the heart of a well-to-do residential part of the Santiago district of Ñuñoa, was once one of the most feared places in Chile’s capital. While the pleasant-looking suburban home (complete with in-ground swimming pool) that once stood there might look to some like an address anyone in Santiago might count herself lucky to call her own, the screams that could regularly be heard emanating from inside for thirteen years (1974 – 1987) made it clear to the neighbours was a place to steer well clear of.

The “taboo house” – as some of the neighbours called it – at José Domingo Cañas 1367 was a torture chamber, one of many clandestine sites in Santiago and throughout the country operated by the “security” services of dictator Augusto Pinochet. For many of Pinochet’s political opponents, this was the last place they were ever seen, alive or otherwise. Many more physically survived the ordeal, but never truly recovered.

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