Greg Weeks is at LASA (sadly, three other conferences this year meant I had to miss LASA myself), and he attended a presentation by Juan Emilio Cheyre, the former Commander in Chief of the Army:
Today he discussed the concept of “participative professionalism,” where the military would seek to be more integrated with society without becoming politicized (e.g. natural disaster response). He emphasized again the need to keep human rights front and center. Unlike many retired officers, he used words like “dictatorship.”
I agree with Greg that the frankness and direct talk of the Pinochet regime and its human rights violations from a highly-regarded military official is indeed a welcome thing. To hear such words come from anybody in the upper echelons of the military even ten years ago would have seemed almost unthinkable, and Cheyre’s comments (and the lack of controversy around them) shows just how much has changed in recent years as Chile continues to grapple with the events and legacies of the Pinochet dictatorship nearly forty years after it took power.