Daugther of Democracy

I was born in 1992, and thus, I’m a member of that generation typically called as “Millennials.” Yet, in Chile, people born in the early nineties like myself bear a more specific title: we are called “the sons and daughters of democracy.” After 17 long years under the rule of Augusto Pinochet, my generation was the first to be born after the end of his dictatorship. Some may think this title is beautiful or even hopeful; my generation’s name, however, reflects on the country that was left to us, and everything that it had lost –90’s kids were born in a broken nation that we are still trying to hold together. 

Some of the places where we lived our everyday life had been spaces of terror during the Pinochet dictatorship; places like detention and execution centers –where people were systematically tortured, killed, and disappeared– unmarked mass graves, and so on. Not going much further, the house where I grew up is only four blocks away from a building that used to be a detention center. I learned to bike around these blocks! My childhood memories of these spaces are, of course, very different from our memory of them as a country. So how do we learn to live in these spaces while acknowledging their meaningful, traumatic past? How do we create new memories in these places without forgetting their history? How do we show respect to the victims and their families at the same that we live everyday lives in these spaces? How do we bring together two different realities of the same place? 

Answering these questions is not an easy task. However, the humanities have recently tried to answer them by studying a geographical area and its history through the construction of digital maps. Unlike what one may think, these maps are more than static images because they can represent the past, present, future, or even an alternative reality, and connect it with our spatial reality. This way of studying places is also known as the “spatial turn” because it changes the objects of study from an event, person, or time, to a specific space. 

Coming back to the questions, one initiative that benefited from the “spatial turn” of the humanities in Chile was created by the Museum of Memory and Human Rights. Their webpage has an interactive section where people can look at a map with detention centers, memorials, and unmarked mass graves throughout the country. Each item has a description, a photo, and a brief history of the place, with an embedded google map link that shows its coordinates in present times. In the end, initiatives such as this, even if they don’t directly answer the aforementioned questions, give us the opportunity to relate to our spaces in ways that would be impossible for us otherwise. 

on this interactive page, you will be able to consult information related to the precincts that, throughout Chile, functioned as centers of political imprisonment and/or torture.

On this interactive page, you can consult information related to the memorials built throughout Chile as part of the symbolic reparation and homage to the victims of the dictatorship and their families. These works have been raised by the work of citizen initiatives, social organizations, and, in some cases, with state contributions.

On this interactive page, you will be able to consult information related to the different findings of remains (unmarked mass graves) of detained, disappeared, or executed political victims throughout the country; evidence that accounts for human rights violations and that constitutes fundamental evidence in the processes of seeking truth, justice, and clarification of the crimes of the dictatorship.


The place where I learned to bike is meaningful in a new way: Because I know what happened there, I want this space to never be a place of horror again. So now, I strive for this place to be a happy memory for many generations in the future.

 “Never forget” and “Never again.”  

Some portraits of victims of the Chilean dictatorship (years 1973-1990). Museo de la Memoria

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