Anyway, today i met a friend for a coffee in a cafe on Plaza Victoria. As i arrived a few minutes early, i had a stroll around and took some photos i'd been meaning to take for a while. Plaza Victoria is a pretty nice square with some cool buildings surrounding it although Ripley, a large Chilean department store chain tore down one of the plaza's nicest buildings in order to construct a hideous concrete and glass building. Thanks for that.
In the middle of the Plaza is a fountain imported from France around 1870 and there are huge palm tree that provide shade in the summer. It's a nice place to sit and watch the world go by.
To one side of the Plaza is Valpo's main church. Chile is a very conservative and Catholic country. The Church has a major hold over everyday Chilean life and politics, something i really, really, really don't agree with. To the side of the Church there's a huge plaque, pictured below. I've done a translation. Everybody's entitled to their opinion I suppose.
In memory of those murdered before they were born.
They killed us because they said we were too many,
like Herod said Jesus was too much.
Nobody could defend us,
It was all done in silence in the bellies of our mothers.
They chopped us up, drowned us and poisoned us
With the coldness of a hangman.
They paid for our death
With the price of blood, just like Judas.
They threw in the bin
The pieces of our of little bodies
Or they burnt us in the incinerator
So they could leave no trace of our murder.
We didn't even receive a tomb or a headstone.
We didn't receive a name
Nor were we baptised.
We're part of a macabre number
Of tens of millions a year.
The powerful collaborated in our death,
Among them those who swore to respect life,
Even our own parents.
May our shout save the lives of others!
Lord in Heaven,
You wanted them to be your children.
We ask for your mercy
So they can be with you
And we beg you to grant
Regret and forgiveness
To those who took their lives.
Nice, eh? Friendly people the folks running the Catholic Church.
Whilst having the coffee i was there for, a bunch of reporters and cameramen turned up. At first i thought they'd come to see me :) but then the real celebrities came in. One of them was the sub-secretary for health (no idea of her name) and the other was Don Miguel. Don Miguel is famous in all Chile as his photos adorns every single cigarette packet in the country. He has a smoking related disease and has a hole in his neck. You'd think that Miguel would be seen as a role model and someone to look up to seeing as he's facing his future with courage and dignity but...he's been abused and attacked from all corners. He's actually the grandfather of a friend of a friend of the girlf and we'd heard he was getting stick from people in the street and also online. I talked to one of the reporters and he confirmed what we'd heard. Really sad. Anyway, Don Miguel will soon be seen no more as a new campaign will take his place on Chile's ciggy packs.