New on Chilean TV: torture and murder
Chile's former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet (1973-90). (Getty Images)
August 1st, 2011
05:00 AM ET

New on Chilean TV: torture and murder

Editor's Note: The following piece comes from Global Post, which provides excellent coverage of world news – importantmoving and odd.

By Global Post

It was a big bet for a TV station — that Chileans, many of whom still remember years of dictatorship, would want to watch a show about torture and disappearances.

But so far it seems that is exactly what people want to watch.

"The Cardinal's Archives" ("Los Archivos del Cardenal") led the ratings when it debuted last week.

The show takes place in the late 1970s and early 1980s in Chile under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. It follows a team of lawyers and investigators working with the Catholic Church to discover proof of summary executions under the military dictatorship.

It is the first fictional series on public television to deal with human rights abuses under Pinochet, reports the Santiago Times. About 3,000 people died or disappeared during 17 years of military rule and almost 28,000 people were tortured, according to government reports.

The characters are fictional but the story is based on true events.

“It is very important that mass television is airing this. It is a good signal that the public debate over our (Chilean) historic memory will grow," Professor Eduardo Santa Cruz of the Universidad de Chile told the Santiago Times. "Chileans do not have much emotional distance from issues of the dictatorship, despite the time that has passed."

The detective serial includes 12 episodes in its first season.

"I've always been a fan of the series 'Law and Order,'" screenwriter Josefina Fernandez told El Mercurio. "I started thinking about how to make a story like that."

See clips from the show.

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Topics: Culture • Latin America

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    It's always easier for the civil society to come to terms with a sinister chapter of its history than the country's government!

    August 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  2. Bonita

    Dictatorship is one thing USA never suffered, so the secular mobs are getting crazier for no good reason.

    August 3, 2011 at 9:17 am | Reply
    • Marc

      Yes, but the US exports it quite liberally at times. Pinochet was helped to power by the CIA. Ironically, his coup happened on 9/11, 1973.

      August 3, 2011 at 11:13 am | Reply
  3. Pilar

    This lady should be ashamed of herself, digging about something that happened over 30 years ago; she needs to have have her head examined. Besides, half of what has been reported didn't happened.

    August 3, 2011 at 10:23 am | Reply
    • Patiat

      Spoken like a true member of the Chilean upper-middle class.

      August 3, 2011 at 11:13 am | Reply
  4. Patricia

    I am so glad that the real story of a brutal and sinister dictator who almost destroyed our country is being told and re told. We should never forget the errors of the past, and those who still support what General Augusto Pinochet did, and defend his economic plans, should consider where the world is now with their "free market approach" and the unethical practices of the capitalist system.
    I will continue to teach the story of this brutal man to my students, and that is my legacy to Victor Jara, and those who suffered and continue to do so after the loss of their loved ones.

    August 3, 2011 at 10:40 am | Reply

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