Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Human Rights Museum

We ran into Santiago on Saturday to see the Human Rights Museum, also known as the Museo de la Memoria (the Memory Museum).

It is dedicated to remembering and documenting the 17 years that Chile lived through Pinochet's dictatorship. It was a sad and recent chapter for Chile (1973-1990), during which human rights were abused and thousands of Chileans were tortured, killed and/or disappeared for political purposes. It was also a sad chapter in US history as the CIA played a direct role in assisting Pinochet and military leaders in overthrowing the democratically elected Chilean government of President Allende in 1973 in the name of the cold war.

It is a beautiful museum and they did an amazing job documenting some very difficult history. It names those who were disappeared and pays tribute to the brave people who risked their lives to bring back democratic rule to Chile.

A year ago, we wouldn't have thought the kids were ready to see such a museum. But they have grown up a lot this year and the memory of Pinochet and the effects of that period on Chile are very near the surface. So they kids have been learning all year about some pretty intense topics. The last exhibit in the museum is "Nunca Más" or Never More, and it includes a video of the inaugural speech of the first democratically elected president following Pinochet.

We weren't allowed to take photos in the museum, but here are some of the many human rights posters that decorate the plaza in front of the museum.


  1. The kids are learning so much this year, including a different perspectivie on U.S. history. It's pretty amazing.

    Grandma Mary

  2. You're right Mom. There's a little loss of innocence too that is a little sad. But they are learning about a world that is neither black nor white, but shades of grey. Pretty cool.