El Estadio Nacional-Una Memoria Nacional
The Estadio Nacional (National Stadium) was the first torture center established in Chile under the Pinochet regime in 1973.
Thousands of detainees passed through the stadium between 1973 and 1978, including my chilean host father, where today, soccer games and other events are held. On May 30, the Estadio Nacional was open to the pubilc for free tours, although visitors could not enter the stadium because of structural damage sustained during the recent earthquake. Wally Kuntsmann, the head organizer for a human rights group dedicated to commemorating sites of historical memory such as the Estadio Nacional, invited me to join a special tour through specific sites around the Estadio Nacional including La Caracola (the Snail) where torture victims were interrogated, and La Piscina (the Pool), where over 800 women were held and tortured by electric shock.
To follow up on an idea I had last year, I’ll be juxtaposing photographs a fellow journalist took of the Estadio Nacional (he graciously agreed to help me with my project) on Sunday, with old archived photographs of the stadium during the time of Pinochet. I’ll be making comparisons between how the buildings appear physically then and now, and also how the building appear in the minds of the people who visit the stadium. Activists such as Wally Kuntsmann believe that constructing memorials around the stadium to commemorate the victims killed or disappeared under Pinochet is an important step in ensuring the future generations of Chileans don’t grow up without proper knowledge of their history. As the group’s motto says: “Un Pueblo Sin Memoria es Un Pueblo sin Futuro.”
A People Without a Memory is a People Without a Future.