Saturday, July 24, 2004

America's Amnesia Matthew Rothschild July 2004 Issue

America's Amnesia Matthew Rothschild July 2004 Issue:
"When Veronica de Negri first saw the pictures from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, she happened to be writing her testimony for the Chilean commission investigating human rights abuses during the regime of Augusto Pinochet.

'That kind of abuse was what I lived in Chile under Pinochet,' says de Negri, who came to the United States twenty-seven years ago. Even the vocabulary carried an echo. 'They told us, too, they were trying to soften us up.'

De Negri was detained in 1976. 'I was beaten up. I had electroshock,' she says. 'I was raped not just by the torturers but with a mouse. It's very repulsive. Imagination cannot reach the reality.'

She recognizes that 'the torturers in my case were Chilean,' but she blames Washington for helping to overthrow Salvador Allende in 1973, for supporting Pinochet, and for training Chilean torturers. De Negri left Chile with her family in 1977, but her son Rodrigo Rojas went back almost a decade later. 'He was participating in a national strike on July 2, 1986, when he was arrested, badly beaten, and set on fire and burned alive by Pinochet's forces,' she says.

Americans are 'very naïve,' she says. 'They don't want to see' the involvement of the United States in torture over the years. The Abu Ghraib scandal 'is nothing new,' she says. 'This has been happening behind your eyes for many years.'"

con·cept: America's Amnesia Matthew Rothschild July 2004 Issue