Aylwin, on the reform and on the moral courage

There are at least two claims criticism about Patricio Aylwin that have a certain circulation. The first is that its government to the extent of the possible built the society of the model, and in consequence his figure can not be recognized. The second is that supported the coup, and in consequence his figure can not be recognized. We will discuss each one of them, the first form much more extensive than the second.

A defence context of reformism, or in memory of Fabio Cunctator.

Given that the main institutions of economic and social place in the dictatorship are still standing it is easy to conclude that nothing has changed and that we are equal. That means to forget what was in the Chile of the ’80s (and early 90s). In a certain sense, is a sign of how much things have changed that it is now difficult to recover that was it. But it was to live in a country in which regular things happened, as in the case of the burnt, people who were burned in the plaza of Concepcion, the case of the beheaded and so with various other things. It was not a society in which it is discussed about the impunity in human rights, was one in which you continued to violate it quite often. A society in which the fact to speak up and say your opinion was something that was looked at with fear, I still remember the first focus groups to which I attended (mid – ’90, recently graduated from sociology), and how happy people were by the simple fact of being able to speak. The phrase of the joy comes already has provided many jokes, but in some sense he was correct: The Chile of the early ’90s, compared with the Chile of the past decade, the country seemed less gray and more joyful. It was a joy to standardization, and for those who live in a normal country and we may take it for granted, it is clear that this is not a great thing (as, in any case, should be): A “normal country” is at the same time a country with many faults. But if it is something that añoras when it is not.

The case is in addition that make it out of the darkness that was the Chile of the dictatorship was not something easy, or that you could take for granted. It is likely that the fear of a blow out more of what we call reality. However (1) it was a generation that had experienced in his own life the blow, and the personal trauma that this implies, I assume it is difficult to avoid -many of them still work under that ballast; (2) was the recent experience of Argentina, where Alfonsín had to deal with more of a military riot and (3) Pinochet was commander-in-chief, and willing to do so to note (as the boinazo and the exercise link did clear). And this without forgetting a fact does not cease to be decisive: In 1988 43% of the population voted for the dictator. In these conditions, in fact what was needed was prudence and care. Do not always require these qualities, and there are many other contexts in which they require the most opposite, but in the Chile of the early ’90s it was. In fact, there are several decisions of Aylwin of those years, which, though small in themselves, allowed for open spaces later. The pressure on the Supreme Court around to the doctrine that the cases of amnesty should be investigated first before you benefit from an amnesty, the very fact of the Commission, Rettig report, which helped establish it as a fact not debatable things in these years are discussed. What has been achieved in relation to the punishment in cases of human rights (let’s not forget, there are punishments and sentences) I think that has its point of origin in those moments, such as stones that you throw to roll and acquire strength with time.

Up to now I have referred to political issues. Important part of the criticism comes from the fact that not dismantled the institutional framework of neoliberal. Now, you may not be out of place to recall that the early ’90’s has to have been one of the worst moments for a political left throughout the TWENTIETH century. And although it doesn’t change anything fundamental, if, for example, increased social spending (and inflation fell, that does not cease to be a benefit, although it may not sound as ‘progressive’). More in general, Aylwin was administered to the model, in part because they do not perceive other alternatives, but without ever feeling very comfortable with him; and that attitude, I think, represented (and still represents) the feel good part of the population. The converts were more other, and dominated with greater clarity later. Some of the reforms are more in line with the model implemented under the Consultation were the following governments.

In general, the Aylwin government was reformist, ‘yellow’. But there are times that you require it. The problem is not being prudent in contexts that warrant, is not to leave it aside when new contexts. The roman republic during the war with Hannibal was saved by Fabio Cunctator, the patron saint of all the reformers, who slipped away to the open battle, and devoted himself to harass the forces of Hannibal, and to rebuild the army. But what saved the republic was not what made her win the war. To do this it required the boldness of Scipio. The romans expressed their gratitude to Fabio, and gave the sense of honor to the nickname of Cunctator (‘delay’) after the disaster of Canna, the open battle, Fabio avoided always, had the good sense to change leadership when the situation dictated it. To return to our case: Since the critical point of view, the problem was not the reformism of ‘yellow’ during Aylwin, was the inability to change route when they had acquired the achievements and securities of a reformism successful.

In any case, the above is secondary in some sense. There is nothing more mean-spirited measure other people by if they are in accordance with their own convictions, or if they were in the correct position. Ultimately, in these processes there are so many wills involved, that their results are due to more than one person. Where it does make sense to evaluate a person, I think, is about their reaction to the moral challenges of the time. And it is around these choices that we will discuss the second of these criticisms.

For the purpose of moral courage.

Aylwin defended the coup and the dictatorship in its early days, it was subsequently when it became one of his critics. There are several of their defenders are now trying to say that it was not, but I think with that they are losing what is truly valuable is in the relationship of Aylwin with these issues, and are in fact under his height.

Physical courage is one relatively common. Much more scarce is the moral, and in particular the courage to recognize the error. Says Borges in one of his stories (Biography of Tadeo Isidoro Cruz) biography of a man consists of a single point in time, when the person is revealed and you know who it is. In the case of Aylwin, the decisive moment, the one that showed the type of person that he was, was for the national chain on the Rettig Report, when it broke, cried and asked for forgiveness.

To recognize errors costs. Recognizing some of the responsibility for a tragedy of the homeland, and the events of ‘ 73 are some of the few where those words are not lofty but accurate, costs more still. Feel, and that’s why he emphasized the emotion of the response, guilt for all the harm, all the pain in the which has been one involved; and to recognize it publicly is also something that costs. Many, if not most, of what has been avoided; and have invented excuses and justifications. But at that time, Aylwin did not do that, although maybe later it wasn’t always at the height of that time.

It is for this reason then that, at least in a shining instant, he had the courage required. One that many of its apologists now do not have, to try to minimize the defense or excusarla. What becomes valuable to the gesture, and the person that emits it, is not trying to be positioned as the one who has never been wrong. We all make mistakes, we all-at some point – we have damaged. What is worthy of recognize it is not a person who is never wrong, little it would cost to gather all the errors and all the meanness made throughout a lifetime; what is worthy of recognize is a person that if he felt the weight of what had happened, and asked forgiveness for it.

It is easy, it is common to require reconciliations and forgiveness. Few have made the act that makes it possible to think of these processes: The contrition and the request veramente forgiveness.

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