ARMANDO URIBE by fjzhangxiaoquan



Pinochet's ghost

..................On Sunday 9th of July at 18:00 hours, Paris time, the poet Armando Uribe
initiated the reading of his conference Pinochet's ghost, in the great anfi-theatre of La
Sorbone, before an audience of 800 people. Uribe was one of two special guests to
dictate conferences in the framework of the General States of Psychoanalysis,
international gathering of the most noticeable practitioners of this discipline in 36
countries. The other was the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, who presented on
the cruelty, of interpersonal relationships in society in general and amongst States.
Rocinante publishes in these pages the initial part of Uribe's work.

In disorderly files, in newspaper clippings of diverse languages, books, photographs and
manuscripts, I conserve since the night of September 11 1973 until today the
omnipresent memories that Pinochet has embedded in the lives of the Chileans and
other peoples of the world. None of these days and these nights stop printing in our
lives his image and actions. I do not know any Chilean that hasn't had a dream and
nightmares in which his figure appears; or that have not had the fantasy to feel him
seated on the head, with his testicles hanging.

Many have said in the country and in exile: one must recognize that we all have a small
Pinochet inside. Even in Europe, in France, the word pinochet, written in lower-case,
has been considered a serious offense, object of complaint, criminal; and the judges
have condemned such offense. (Case of M. Chirac plaintiffs at the end of the 70s).

What is Pinochet?
        There are entire books about his person and his acts in a number of modern
languages. I personally published one in 1974, in Editions du Seuil (translated to more
than half a dozen languages); and another in 1999 call Pinochet the accident in
Castilian. And I should confess that in the 80s I wrote yet another unpublished one,
that compared the funerals of Pinochet with the one of the author (sadly both still
        I have been during 26 years and ten months a permanent “pinochetologist” (in
English: a “pinochet-watcher”).
        Does this constitute a personal mania?
        Unfortunately, not.

..................In all this time, almost 27 years, the newspapers of my country have been
occupied every day, without exception, by what occurs to Pinochet; and the television
and the magazines and the radio.
And the minds of the Chileans.
They will be able to say that the same thing occurs with other personalities in the
world: who exercise power over long periods, be they tyrants or not.

..................I would respond that yes this phenomenon, which I will try to explain now
in relationship to Pinochet does occur.
           I will do it like a layman who has certain experience; utilizing some words or
phrases in French or English or German (difficult to translate to Castilian), jargon of the
psychology of the depths.
           I do this clamouring “de profundis”.
           I use a wild although learned species of psychology, and a likewise wild
sociology, and a more serious political science since I have been for decades professor
of those last arts in this Sorbone. And I cite from the “Standard Edition” of the works
of Freud, and the edited version published by the great writer Masud R. Khan.

        For us Pinochet is “umheilich” or “uncanny”, and produces in us “unites
inquiétante étrangeté”; but at the same time corresponds to something that we feel our
own since ancient; we perceive it darkly, with displeasure and ambiguous pleasure.

         It is a mystery of the Chilean psyche (and perhaps from other places other
         There are countries that have collective conscience, a sort of historical national
identity, a common psychology. This is been recognized for European countries for
centuries by a number of literary authors, and it is attributed also to Greco-roman
political formations of the antiquity and to ancient empires such as the Chinese.

        Though historians and political philosophers, for example Montesquieu and
Gibbon, specified it already in the Century of Lights, it was more frequent in the XIX
and XX centuries. To illustrate this banality, I will cite Stendhal and Elías Canetti, and
even Proust who compare the reactions of countries in the Great War to those of a
single human being.

         If there is a national collective conscience, then it corresponds that there should
be an unconscious collective of the same group or mass? The book of Freud that in
English is called Group psychology has the title in German of Psychology of the masses
and analysis of the I. As is well known, in there he extends to the collective the
libidinal structure and other forms of the subjective psyche. The studies of precise
cases refer to “Two artificial groups: the Church and the Army” (chapter V), and in the
VI considers nations amongst the “larger units” with collective psyche. Similarly he
speaks in other works of metapsychology of the “wish phantasies of whole nations”;
without mentioning the extension of the Unconscious of the Hebrew people in Moses
and Monotheism nor Totem and Taboo. To add to this the unpublished text in 1985 of
Freud's 1915 Vue d´ensemble of neuroses of transfert, where he talks about the
“psichologie of peuples”. And in 1919, when he writes in An enfant est battu: “Ce qui
form it noyau of l´inconscient psychique est l´heritage archaïque of l´etre humain”

         I understand that Freud is referring to the true nations; that is to say something
more than numerous conglomerates of people who inhabit the same territory and enjoy
or suffer (or not) a State recognized by the community of nations.
         What other sign supposes the real existence of a nation?
         Without entering into this problem which has broken the heads of intellectuals -
from historians to philosophers - during the past centuries (and has broken the bones
of millions of victims in wars and persecutions), let's reduce this now to its main
characteristic – to my judgment - that Renan indicates in Qu´est ce qu´unites nation?
(1882) : “L´essence d´unites nation est that tous them individus aient beaucoup of
choses in commun, et aussi that tous aient oublié well of choses ” In our word: a
memory and common conscience and - attention!- likewise collective oversights.

       Oversights, “refoulement”, an Unconscious collective.
       We believe that is the case of Chile.

       This country has had this name for more than four and a half centuries, and its
population is formed by Europeans, mainly Hispanic, and native ethnic groups in good
part half-cast, besides minority immigrants of other parts of the world in its majority
mixed with families that already were in the territory. It can be argued that the same
thing occurs with other regions of America. Yes; but Chile has two or three particular
characteristics that have given the country its own character.

        First of all, it was the most distant place from Europe in all the continent; and
also the most distant one for those who entered the continent via the strait that today
we know as Bering in the extreme north of what decades of millenniums later was
called America. The word Chile has in the etymology of the native tongue the
following meaning: “where land ends” (Cf. Benjamín Subercaseux: “Chile or a crazy

        A great deal more than a “last European Thule”, Chile has been, for the
aborigines of the continent and the foreigners arrived with the discovery, the Conquest
and immigration, literally “finis terrae”. Where land ends, where the fire ends, the last
tip – Cabo de Hornos where the land disperses the Land of Fire. Those who arrived to
Chile did so to stay; they did not have where else to go. That, for millenniums, and
450 years more.

       A second peculiar characteristic: in this sheath of land (it was called by a
Spanish columnist in 1575), there was a warrior people that could not be dominated by
the Conquerors and the armies of this Indiana section of the Spanish Crown, nor by the
Republic that followed at the beginning of the XIX century, but after three centuries of
armed war: the mapuche, whom the Conqueror Alonso de Ercilla author of the largest
epic in Castilian verse (a fact recognized also by Voltaire in his prologue to the
Henriade), named Araucanians. This did not occur in the rest of the continent. Chile
is the only country of America whose origin was sung in verse and celebrated in an epic
of the XVI century, when in Europe epic heroic songs were no longer written.

        Am I boasting when I characterize my country in this way?
        If there is any boasting, that would be yet another characteristic of the Chileans
that in great measure descend from warrior conquerors and a people who have fought
with weapons during centuries. During more than one hundred years (until 1662) the
war was continuous in the south, and for another two hundred years sporadic but
always present. Moreover, to arrive in Chile to remain obliged, and to fight secularly,
well can be considered psychic and physical sources of tension in a geographical
environment that required difficult economic work. Lands often more ungrateful than
others of the Americas, mines mostly in the hard and high mountain range, before an
ocean so vast that Oceania and enormous Asia are found at the other side, to an
equivalent distance of almost half the globe. Lands and mountains of earthquake.
Precarious life that imposes persistence and stubborness.

        Before the crisis of nature, the war and the politics, situations of life or death,
and in every case pains, Chileans have given proof of secular stubbornness, no matter
the place or side in which they be situated; a great deal more than in the creole periods
of daily rest.

        They will say: all this occurs in other parts of the world. Nevertheless a sharp
columnist of the XX century, collecting what other writers and politicians had sensed,
said in wild psychological terms: Yes, what happens in Chile also happens in other parts
of the world, but here with twenty percent of exaggeration. (Joaquín Edwards
Beautiful, dead in 1968). This is another national characteristic. But we will not
continue with these brushstrokes. Let's reduce this to the War of Arauco, that marked
the country since its birth as such. Original causality of its birth and duration; a germ
contained in other external wars (three in the XIX century), and very present in the
internal clashes.

         Shortly after the coup D'etat of 1973, President Frei Montalva, who was the
president until 1970, explained this in 1974 in New York to one of his former ministers
who was a high officer in the United Nations: “All the history of Chile consists of
avoiding that the Indians cross the Biobío river (the border of war with the
Araucanians); with the government of Allende and the Popular Unit, the Indians crossed
it; ¡this is what produced the Coup!”

        Naturally this is a metaphor; very interesting because the son of a Swiss,
Mr.Frei, qualified the Chilean people whom Allende represented as Indians, and the left
which certainly contains descendants of Conquerors and immigrants half-cast or not,
and had also ancestors of local ethnic groups. The main Chilean historian of the XX
century, Mario Góngora (considered such by Pierre Chaunu), wrote in 1982:
        “The first and fundamental image of Chile constitutes, within the Spanish Empire
in the Indias, a border of war, a land of war”.
        The openning sentence in the South American novel, La Vorágine could be said
of us: “I Played my heart at the roulette of fortune and Violence gained it from me”.

        There is a matrix epic scene in La Araucana (1569) of the Spanish Ercilla in
Chile: the native chief Caupolicán is captured by the Conquerors and subjected to the
agony of impalement by a spear through the anus. His woman Fresia, outraged by the
defeat and the prison of his man the leader, faces him, and in disdain of her husband
throws to his feet their common son. Impalement of the father and abandonment of
the son by the mother, that treats this man as “effeminate” and shouts “that I do not
want title of mother of the infamous son of the infamous father”.

        Primordial scene of violence in the cradle of the country of war. Internal
violence in the family, violence of torture and death in the rising country. They will be
able to say: it is the scene of a dramatic poem. Yes; some verses that have been
memorized generation after generation. Those of a Conqueror that was witness; and
generations repeating.

       Chilean brutality is famous in South America. The anthropologist and
“philosopher” Kayserling in his South American Meditations of the 1930s noted,
amongst another national characteristic: the worship of the ugly in Chile.

       The country was born and lived in the ugly violence, and learnt that it was
“necessary”; and that it should be justified bylaw.

        The conquest of America, its colonization by Spaniards and other foreigners, the
relations with the native inhabitants, the work of lands and mines, was meticulously
regulated by laws that formed an extensive legal “corpus”, called the Indiano Rights.
The Catholic Kings, Carlos V, Felipe II and their successors, were occupied in a way not
comparable to other colonial empires to legitimize the Public Rights in America Indiana.
The first matter was the recognition that the natives were members of the human race,
decided in a famous controversy of theologians and jurists (including the father of the
Right of Peoples Francisco of Vitoria) in Valladolid before the presence of the monarch
himself (1550-51).

        In spite of the law, but taking refuge in it to justify violence, the first gigantic
genocide was practiced (anachronistic word for that epoch) since the European
Renaissance to our days. Let's hear at the Oidor Santillán of the Real Audience of Chile
in the XVI century: “The Indians are scandalized (...); of the ones that more scandal
have conceived, are those in the provinces of Chile, because the most cruelties and
excesses have been used against them (...), killing a great sum of them under peace
and without giving them to understand what its Majesty says should be cautioned (-
without them knowing about the law - A.U.), and other burning and whitewash (- with
empalements - A.U.), cutting feet and hands and noses and breasts, stealing their
estates, estuprándoles their women and daughters (- in rapes and sexual crimes -
A.U.), putting them in chains with loads, burning all their towns and houses, drilling
their potato plantations, from which great illness came, and large numbers of people
died, of cold and hardship and by eating herbs and roots, and of those who survived,
out of pure need took for custom to eat each other of hunger, which further reduced
almost all the people that had escaped from all the other ” (Cfr. José Toribio Medina,
1888; Lewis Hanke: The fight for Justice in the Conquest of America).

        Of such native race originates the Chilean collective; and also from those who
committed such depravations, among which the Spanish authority indicates two
Conquerors as the worst in Chile: Francisco of Villagra and Francisco of Aguirre,
ancestors of many Chileans (the second one had various legitimate children, and more
than fifty bastards whom he recognized as his and many more not recognized).
Pinochet Ugarte descends from them, according to meticulous genealogies published in
the country; and likewise the author of the present study.

       Families' stuff, clans, fierce ancient hordes of relatives against each other. Bad
metaphor imagined Sigmund Freud, when he wanted to see himself as a
“Conquistador”. Against the Right of Peoples in America, the violence under the law
wants to be legitimized in history. The law that “is observed but not complied”
sacramental phrase used really in America and Chile for centuries as to receive the laws
and to accept them but never to execute them.

       Hegel wrote of us in 1842: “Chile, country (...) where the force is law ” (Cf.
Encyclopedia of Philosophy in scientific principles). And a French of the XX century
came to say: the Chilean legal institutions are the greatest esthetic creation of the
dominant class in Chile.

        This country is understood by its neighbors as the most “legalistic” of the region.
This was reiterated in Argentina this past June before the Court order which revoked
Pinochet's privileges so that he could be trialed for horrendous crimes. And Pinochet
defends himself with legal arguments, as he has done in the name of his government
since September 11, 1973 to 1990, and since then as Commander in Chief of the Army,
and then since 1998 as senator, and during the 503 days he was detained in London,
and after his return to Chile before more than one hundred and ten complaints still
pending for criminal judgment. He has been submitted to judgment in more than half
a dozen of countries, and continues being pursued out of Chile by international orders
of arrest, originating from European judges.

        I believe that it will be admitted that at least in Europe, the word and the person
of the individual Pinochet has the character of an international penal symbol.
       Symbol of what?

         Many have been the dictatorships in America and the world in this last half
century. Why the figure of Pinochet is emphasized? It is not only a phenomenon of
“mass media”.
         It represents something peculiar in contemporary psychology. What?
Is literature alone capable to respond to this?
         The Chilean poetry of the XX Century considered of high quality in Castilian.
Maybe poetry can give answers about the conscious and unconscious psychology of the

       For the Chilean collective, Pinochet is more than a symbol. I want to be
rigorous in the vocabulary. I wasn't always in the past with respect to Pinochet,
despite that I prowled around what now I present here. For example, in the article
published in It Monde Diplomatique of August 1986.
It was written in past participle, as a necrology. Its title is: Esquisse pour a éloge
funèbre. (A month later, Pinochet was victim of a mortal attack that was frustrated,
with use of long range weapons and missiles and five dead people).

       Which is the truthful biography of this disturbing personality?
       I will cite some paragraphs of that essay of 15 years ago in French.

         The first Pinochet was called Guillaume. Once arrived in Chile this name was
granted to him: “Guillaume of Pinochet, baptisé à Saint Bad, France”. He came, in
fact, from Britain, with merchandise in liquidation, fleeing the famine of the beginning
of the 1700s, epoch of the war among the Bourbons and the Hapsburgs for the
succession of the crown of Espagne, they opened the coasts of the Hispanic empire to
the French and they caused famine in France. He must have been a strong immigrant,
that went barefoot from a bad hotel to another and from pigpen to bar, with a big bag
full of junk obtained by chance on the roads. It is known that he arrived at the
beginning of 18th Century at Concepción, a city that a Breton could not know without
thinking about the Immaculate one. He married there in 1722 with Ursula de la Vega,
neighbour of the city, she had lands. Without intending to paint a portrait of all their
genealogy, it suffices to note that the Pinochets were people of the interior, of the
country during the 18th and 19th centuries and that they produced a white grayish
cheese, of strong smell, known in Chile under the name of cheese Chanco and unknown
by the rest of the world.

        The grandfather of August Pinochet had six children (of which one natural?)
The last one was called Augusto and was the father of the dictator. If he was the
bastard, he didn't inherit land. In any case he went to Valparaíso at the beginning of
the 20th century and worked in customs. In 1914, married Ms Avelina Ugarte, of creole
family, who's just died in Santiago with more than 90 years of age. Mr. Pinochet and
Mrs Ugarte had seven children. For what is known, Mss. Ugarte was a woman of
imperious character: “He is so timid, el Tito, so sensitive, it was heard that he said in
1974, that he needed to kill his enemies to impose himself to the others. He never kills
enough. He's always been like this”.

         Augusto Pinochet Ugarte married Mrs Lucía Hiriart Rodríguez. The father of the
“first lady”, Osvaldo Hiriart – of Basque-French background - was a lawyer and “he
became minister” in his 40s. The mother of doña Lucía, as she is called in Chile, was a
lady Rodriguez Adura, she accepted this son-in-law as somebody who's doing a favour.

        The young Pinochet was enrolled in Los Padres Franceses in Valparíso, which
the small employee of customs that was his father paid with much difficulty. He did his
studies without glory and at the age of fourteen years old he entered the Military
Academy. From then on his career as a soldier is well known because since his arrival
to power, he hurried to divulge his biography and even he added it as an annex to the
book that he published under the title of The decisive day, 11 of September of 1973.
He was a cadet, became a general, he was appointed commander in chief of the armed
forces on August 24, 1973 by President Salvador Allende, whom he overthrew.

        Since his enrolment in a school that was expensive even for the children of the
rich, during the 20s and up to September 11, 1973, the distinctive characteristic of his
life was his social climbing (arribismo). His schoolmates and also the military school
have said this clearly, in various terms.

       Another characteristic, long time ignored, today notorious, is his “catholicism”
somewhat fundamentalist and rough, although it is known for some months now that,
when he was a young lieutenant, he entered the freemasonry where he lasted little
time. Under his government a priest has seemed admirable to him: father Raúl
Hasbún, fundamentalist, that speaks by radio and television, writes in the newspaper El
Mercurio and is cited often by Pinochet.

       Has Pinochet been influenced by his first name? August. (I remit myself to the
importance of names according to the work of René Major, Of l¨Election).

       Pinochet seems fascinated by the imperial symbols. His name predestinated
this. Is this a foolishness? Pinochet possesses several intelligences.

        The intelligence for power, that manifested in his preparations of the coup d'etat
when he imposed himself upon others who had prepared him before and that seemed
as his equals. In government he knew how to play in a sarcastic way with politicians,
with his followers and his opponents. Episodes such as the intended opening for
dialogue in 1983 show an exceptional political capacity. He lasted longer in the power
that any another government of Chile since the independence, in the 19th century; he
even beats the record of longevity so much during the colonial epoch as even before
the Chile of the 16th century. Some see in him, the best example of all the Chilean 20th
Century of somebody who dabbles in politics.

         Last strokes of the man that would become Pinochet. One must sink the nails.
There are four. The first one is on the order of the ghost. When interviewed,
Pinochet presents himself as a balanced man, full of good sense, well installed in his
body and in his regular life, clock in hand (fifteen minutes of reading, half an hour of
gymnastics). The inflexible Pinochet is a subtle Pinochet. A good number of his
political shifts cannot be attributed to his knowledge neither to his intelligence, but they
are successful, have struck just right, with opportune measures that have made him
last; and can only but be attributed to his unconscious. He does not trust anybody but
has confidence in his/their interior depths.

        The second nail has a double head: August Pinochet utilizes a double oral
language. A cheap one to the point of vulgarity (“politicians go back to your hovels”,
“the former parlamentarians are treacherous hogs”); the other scrapes the lyrical
metaphor (“In this country not even a leaf moves if I don't move it”). When he privately
receives dignataries, the cardinal archbishop of Santiago, the generals of the armed
forces, foreign authorities, the ambassadors and others Pinochet, with his high pitched
voice and borrowed words using a more cultivated tone that in Chile could be referred
to as: prissy military tone.

        The third: his distressed fear, quite uncommon. He can be even noble: does
not want to do less than Allende at the moment of his death. He knows - who
doesn't?- that he is going to die, probably as violent death: he has the moral certainty
that he would not flee as Ferdinando Marcos, not so much because he would not have
a place of refuge but mostly because, as he betrayed Salvador Allende, he is
condemned to be identified with him. At the moment of the fall, he cannot do less
than Allende.

        And the fourth? How to describe it? With the words of a French: “An
unprecedented humor (...) horrible (...) because in the evilest man there is a poor
innocent horse that suffers, a heart, a liver, arteries in which there is not trace of malice
and that also suffer. And at the hour of the beautiful triumphs it is damaged because
there is always someone that suffers”. (Letter of Proust on the general that
condemned Dreyfus).

Rocinante August 2000
Translated by Claudia Raddatz
Pablo Neruda Cultural Committee (Adelaide)
Chilean Popular and Indigenous Network.
September 2003

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