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Thursday, July 28, 2011


I have no memory of having been traumatized in any way in Chile. I do remember spending some interesting and pleasant time in that lovely country in the 1960s.

However, since my time there I have noted in myself a repeating and seemly unwarranted 'anger' related to my notion of Chile. This month, 40 years after my time in Chile, I was at my local library and asked the librarian to recommend an audio book to listen to. She recommended the novel Zorro by Allende. My prompt and unthinking response was that I wasn't interested in anything written by her, that I wasn't interesting in her father, or in any of the rest of her family. I judged that response to be a bit beyond what the situation called for. I librarian's job can be tough. I imagine that serving a neurotic old man is one of her lesser pleasures.

My education in foreign affairs had begun before my arrival in Chile, however it was there that I came to believe that the CIA was real.

What I remember includes is that Eduardo Frei was running for president of the Republic. He was a Conservative running against another Conservative. As I remember the traditional Conservative party's focus of control was with the great land owners. Frei's wing of the Conservative party's focus of control was with the 'young' industrialists of the country. Powerful people in the U.S., as represented by the CIA in Chile, found rightest Frei to be too far to the left for them. So the CIA began acting to destroy him, or perhaps just his chances to be president.

It was my perception that the great bulk of the Chilean people at the time were moderately liberal. Usually they would be attracted to vote for a candidate like Allende. However, many people in large population centers population centers like Santiago, were beginning to note that on the most local level Allende's campaign was using strong-arm and fear tactics. They distrusted and disliked that sort of tactics and so were trending to support Frei.

As I remember it was at about this stage of affairs that I decided that I wanted to return to the U.S. It seems to have been a very quick decision. I told myself that it was prompted by 'homesickness.' I arranged to take a  nitrate ship of the Wilson Line from Antofagasta to Charleston. It was on that ship, just off the coast of Charleston, President Kennedy had just been the subject of a political murder.

It was only later that I learned: that Frei had met Carlos Lleras Restrepo, that we had murdered Frei and so by paved Allende's way into office. It was later yet that I found that activities of the CIA and of Allende lead to the take over of Chile by Pinochet.

My traumatization seems in some way to relate to these happenings, but I have had similar learning experiences over much of the globe without the strong long lasting feelings.

The word 'torture' seems to be somehow to be associated with similar feelings I associate with Chile.

Please use 'comments' to correct history or data errors I may have made here.

Some short years ago I was reminded of some of these things on a flight from Montevideo to Los Angeles. The flight was on LAN via Santiago  Just as I was enjoying a marvelous view of the Andean peaks, the air-conditioning gave a kind of hiccup over my seat and several near-by seats. We all experienced a fit of coughing. Since that time I have experienced constant lung irritation and have been diagnosed as having emphysema. A reinforcing coincident.

So, I experienced a a coincident that seemed to somehow have reminded of , if not reinforced, some long held feelings of unknown origin. I'm not going to pay for psychological help, but I might accept some donated 'talk therapy.'

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