Related topics

Pinochet’s Arrest Raises Hope

October 27, 1998

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ Half a world and half a lifetime away from the Chile where his parents vanished, Luis Emilio Recabarren cherishes a sweet and macabre dream.

``I have a dream that my parents will someday come and tap me on the back and say: ’Here we are,‴ he said.

Recabarren doesn’t expect the dream to come true; he has no doubts that his parents are dead _ killed because of their opposition to former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

But with the 82-year-old dictator under arrest in London, Spain and Switzerland seeking his extradition and criminal complaints filed against him in Sweden and France, Recabarren said Monday he believes the time may be imminent for new facts to be revealed about the thousands who disappeared under Pinochet’s rule.

Recabarren’s uncle, Javier Munoz, was one of three Chilean immigrants who on Sunday filed complaints of murder and kidnapping against Pinochet with Stockholm police.

Prosecutors have not yet been given the complaints, and it was unclear whether Sweden considers itself to have jurisdiction in such cases. But Recabarren said he believes even a longshot effort is worthwhile.

``Evilness can come back if we continue forgetting,″ he said.

Recabarren was 2 1/2 years old when his parents were seized on April 29, 1976, after the family got off a bus in Santiago, the Chilean capital.

Their abductors emerged from three cars, grabbing the boy, his father _ a labor activist also named Luis Emilio _ pregnant mother Narvia Mena, and uncle Manuel.

Hours later, Recabarren was left alone outside his grandparents’ house and when his grandfather later went to find out what happened, he was seized too.

That’s all Recabarren knows _ if he even knows that much. He admits he’s not sure how much of the story he remembers and how much has been told to him by others. It’s all the more reason why he wants to find out what happened.

After his family vanished, Recabarren was raised by his grandmother. ``She gave me a lot of love, so that I would not hate all these people. She gave me a chance to get a life, to survive this.″

Recabarren came to Sweden at age 11 and now performs with a dance company in Stockholm.

``It has been great to live in a democracy,″ he said. ``You almost forget (what it means) that we’re living in a democracy.″

Though his dream of meeting his parents again will probably never come true, Recabarren said he wants to at least learn what became of them.

``We don’t know if they are under the ground, if they are in the sea,″ he said. ``We don’t have any grave to put flowers on.″

Update hourly