I am writing to you to support the many Chileans living in Greater Victoria, and many more I have met through the years. I worked in Chile in 1997 and had the privilege to share time with some victims of Augusto Pinochet’s horror regime. I also met many of those who managed to flee to Spain (where I am from) after the coup on Sept. 11, 1973.
Esmeralda was invited to Victoria from Aug. 1-5. Esmeralda is the Chilean navy vessel used by former Chilean dictator Pinochet, on which to torture, rape and execute civilians. Several international reports have clearly indicated crimes against humanity were perpetrated aboard this vessel.
Having this ship in our city will create public protest that might affect downtown businesses adversely, especially when, at the same time, cruise ships will be in the vicinity.
I respectfully ask you to consider supporting the ban of this vessel. We have the opportunity to stand together to send a valuable message as a community. It is not about vengeance, but about justice and restoring some peace and dignity to many.
Mar Martínez de Saavedra Alvarez