Ex-Pinochet ship not an appropriate role model

Esmeralda Chilean torture ship coming to Victoria BC

On University of Victoria’s independent radio program Democracy Now! I heard Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón speak. He had ordered the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998. To investigate cases of torture, war crimes and other offences around the world and in Chile, he used Spanish courts.

He stated a sobering observation: Because of that indictment, Pinochet was held in Britain for a year, until eventually he was allowed to go home. Eventually he died without accountability – as is the case with all of Chile’s top brass involved in torture after their likely murder of former president Salvador Allende in 1973.

Roman Catholic priest Michael Woodward was among those tortured and killed. Prior to his death, he was held on what has become known as the torture ship – the Esmeralda. A hundred people were tortured and raped on board.

The young cadets who travel with Esmeralda are not responsible for what happened then.

Mayor Dean Fortin and council passed a courageous resolution urging the navy and provincial and federal to rescind inviting this ironically elegant ship to Victoria. Its captain needs to tell the cadets why the ship is not welcome.

Larry Wartel


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