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Chile Earthquake: Disaster to Tragedy

Posted by feww on March 3, 2010

Submitted by a reader with additional information added by FEWW

Chile Megaquake Death Toll Rises above 800

How to turn natural disasters into national tragedies the Chilean way

‘When we have a catastrophe of this magnitude… the populace … starts losing the sense of public order’ —President-elect Sebastian Pinera

Never mind, the populace is hungry; the people need running water, food, electricity and shelter …

There’s goes your hopes for better times under the new management!

The President-elect Sebastian Pinera is clearly a philosopher; unfortunately, he comes from the wrong school of philosophy—perhaps he would have felt more comfortable joining the Chilean military.

The Concepcion “Looters”

If you landed in Concepcion by mistake, you would have been forgiven for thinking it was a war zone, with heavily armed soldiers paroling the streets, threatening to kill hungry citizens.

NO running water? Let them Have Coca Cola, “it’s the real thing!”

Outgoing Chile’s president,  Michelle Bachelet, has issued the victims of quake in Concepcion with an ultimatum:  Chill out, or you’ll be sorry the quake didn’t bury you!

To prove to the starved, traumatized and displaced that she isn’t kidding Ms. Michelle Bachelet confirmed that 14,000 troops were now operating in the region, planted in every street corner with loaded rocket launchers.

According to various media reports, police (and the army) have arrested just about everyone and their uncles in Concepcion, anyone who was scouring for food and clean water, and that is a very large number indeed, in a city of an estimate 750,000 victims.

Death Toll

As the death toll form the 8.8-magnitude quake rises above 800, search and recovery teams said at least 2 dozen others are still unaccounted for.

Missing

Anyone old enough to remember the spellbinding film Missing, would also be forgiven to believe the photo below was a freeze frame from the film.

Missing was an American drama directed by Costa Gavras in 1982, starring Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron, John Shea and Charles Cioffi, among others. The script was based on the true story of an American journalist, Charles Horman, who went missing in the bloody aftermath of the US-backed Chilean coup that deposed President Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973.

The US-backed military junta headed by the murderous head of the army General Augusto Pinochet usurped power. Pinochet allegedly ordered the murder of Allende, and ended the democratically elected Popular Unity government.

Pinochet established a military dictatorship marked by severe human rights violations that repressed Chileans until 1990.

Up to a quarter of a million Chileans were arrested, imprisoned and tortured by the Pinochet regime. Many thousands were murdered. Thousands more went missing.


A freeze frame from the film Missing? [Original caption: Police detain people on suspicion of looting in Concepcion, Chile, on March 1.]  Credit: Ricardo Pasten/AP. Image may be subject to copyright.

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