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Chilean communists mark 30th anniversary of mass grave discovery

CHILEAN communists marked yesterday’s 30th anniversary of the discovery of a mass grave of leading comrades by sending a delegation to the village of Pisagua, where the bodies were found in 1990.

Pisagua was the site of a notorious concentration camp where leftists and political dissidents were tortured and executed following military trials.

The former camp commander was General Augusto Pinochet, who came to power in 1973 in a US-backed coup against the democratically elected president Salvador Allende.

Tens of thousands were “disappeared” under Pinochet’s brutal regime as political opponents were crushed with brutal force.

In 1990 the country’s armed forces, which were still under Pinochet’s control despite him stepping down as president in March, justified the existence of the camp as necessary due to “an internal war provoked by foreign ideologies.”

In a statement yesterday the Communist Party of Chile said: “One of the many painful events experienced by the Chilean people during the terrible years of the dictatorship — which was imposed by the US government with the support of the armed forces and the most reactionary economic and political sectors of our country — was without doubts the arrest, the disappearance and the brutal murders of thousands of our compatriots.”

The party said that prisoners at the camp were held under brutal conditions, tortured and executed before being dumped in mass graves.

As many as 10,000 were held there by the military junta, whose forces rounded up communists, trade unionists, religious and spiritual leaders and dissidents it deemed to be “servants of international communism.”

On June 2 1990 the remains of many communists, including party leaders, teachers and militant activists, were discovered there.

“A delegation from the central committee of our party has travelled to Pisagua in order to participate in the commemoration of this tragic event,” a statement said. 

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