A Visit In History

18 Jun

It was a warm afternoon when we left the streets of Santiago after a day of sightseeing and proceeded to the famed Santiago Cathedral , the majestic religious building held wonders I wanted to see and photograph , the ornate frescoes and architecture were a wonder to view.

Leaving the Cathedral we proceeded down a street leading away from the Cathedral.

This street was beautiful and was similar to many streets in the Mediterranean countries.

Beautiful buildings with ornate facades and terrazzo overlooking the streets.

I have enclosed some pictures of the street showing its beauty and romantic buildings.

The street was quiet and had an aura of solitude and gave me a feeling of being in a place that held respect and a past history that evoked feelings of walking in a revered place.

We walked down the cobbled street admiring the buildings until I noticed that intermingled in the cobblestone brickwork were many stones inlaid with names and dates of birth and death.

I have enclosed pictures of the cobblestoned street and a few actual pictures of the engraved inlaid plaques .

We then noticed the plaque on a wall outside a building that fronted the street.

I have enclosed a picture of the massive doors giving entrance to the building

These doors gave me a feeling of witnessing the doorways to the infamous KGB in Russia

The Plaque told the story of the building and how the engraved stone inlays came about.

In 1973 Pinochet a military General was given a plebisite to govern the country under Military law. He ruled from 1973 to 1974 under a Chilean Junta and was accused of many crimes from torture to embezzilment and many domestic crimes in between

He ruled as president from 1974 to 1990

The building and engraved bricks show the names of those who passed through his doors to never return.

Immediately after the military coup of September 11, 1973, new controls established concentration camps throughout the Chilean territory in which they were committed systematically and with impunity, crimes of state terrorism, political persecution , torture, kidnapping, murder, enforced disappearance and illegal burial, among other crimes Regiments, police stations, air bases, farm houses, seals, schools, public buildings, ships and private homes were used by the security services. Throughout the country was established places “public” (National Stadium, Dawson Island, Piragua, Chacabuco, Quiriquina Island, Cuatro Alamos etc.) And “secrets” (Villa Grimaldi, The Firm, Colonia Dignidad, Venda Sexy, Londres 38, José Domingo Cañas, etc.)., for the arrest, trial, torture and murder of opponents of the military dictatorship.
The list is long, then rescued the detention centres where it is known, remained, members of the United Popular Action Movement (MAPU) who were subsequently killed or made to disappear..

Weeks later north of Santiago we visited the beautiful romantic city of Valparaiso , the chief port for all of Chile , a picturesque city that is built on hillsides that sweep down to the sea.

Here we were fortunate to be given a tour over the Chilean naval traing ship the Esmerelda , this was courtesy of an ex Captain who served on the ship who has since become a relative of mine through my marriage to Ana

The ship is a graceful schooner that is over a hundred years old  the brasswork is brilliant and the decks shine with a brilliant lustre of varnish and is maintained by a crew in immaculate dress.

I have attached some pictures of this magnificent ship

Later I was to learn that this naval training ship also played a dark role in the regime of Pinochet.

Ship Esmeralda
The Navy used as places of detention, interrogation and torture ships “Lebu”, “Maipo” and “Esmeralda”, the three at the port of Valparaiso, the Naval Air Base “The Belloto,” Naval War College and the “Barracks Silva Palma”.In the case of “Esmeralda”, the investigations conducted by the National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation Commission revealed that a specialized unit of the Navy moved from the September 11, 1973 to 1974, within the purpose of interrogate detainees in the ship and those who were brought from other facilities of detention of the Navy. These interrogations included torture and mistreatment.

Finally I show a picture of the Chilean Naval Intelligence Centre and lastly a Picture of the Chilean Naval ships in dock

In conclusion I must say that as many countries Chile has once had a bad time under a military Junta/Dictatorship but has emerged to become one of the richest countries in the world

Chile is the only country that can proudly boast that it has no overseas debts to the International monetary union.

Chile wears the tag of being a third world country and this is mainly through its national infrastructure, apart from that this country must rate as the leader in all South America

One last point for travellers

Be wary when travelling in overseas countries in that not portraying yourself as a typical western tourist with camera around your neck for two reasons

1 Theft of cameras is prevalent in third world countries and can occur at any time , buses , in streets and anywhere that is open to the public

2 Many foreign countries frown heavily on photographs being taken of government buildings or of situations that arise that are specific to that country

I was fortunate in having Ana with me in all my photographic situations but even so was able to take a few pics that maybe on hindsight I should not have.

Diplomatic strained relationships can be very embarrassing

Emu aka Ian


Posted by on June 18, 2011 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , ,

23 responses to “A Visit In History

  1. suchled

    March 20, 2015 at 7:07 am

    WOW! man what a place. Everywhere people go and put up posts on their blogs makes me realise how young Australia is. Great shots.

    • The Emu

      March 20, 2015 at 10:04 am

      Good evening my friend, thanks for visiting.
      I certainly had a rude awakening to how young Australia is, after my time in Chile.
      We are so young economically, historically and politically.
      We will never have the architectural history of overseas countries, but I think its important we retain what architectural history we do have, albeit pioneering days and convict day era.
      Good to see your com is all okay.

  2. RMW

    March 19, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Sometimes we forget, or don’t even know, about how other countries have struggled in recent times, or are still struggling, with dictators and the concept of democracy when we take it for granted.
    As I wander around with my camera in LA I have had security guards run out to order me not to take photos of their buildings. As a photographer who loves architecture it is very frustrating but understandable.
    Thanks for the tour!

    • The Emu

      March 20, 2015 at 5:44 am

      I can appreciate your frustration with taking pics in certain areas or country’s.
      In my case my camera was an instant invitation to mugging, I had to be very subtle in taking pics and kept the camera inside my jacket between shots.
      I was able to get a number of pics of sensitive areas, the BS Esmeralda was no worries as a Captain on board was a relative of my wife’s.
      It pays to check out the conditions of photography in foreign countries.

  3. gpcox

    March 19, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    I never even knew you were there – that’s why I often visit the archives on sites – I miss things like this!! Thanks for reblogging it.

    • The Emu

      March 20, 2015 at 5:40 am

      Hi gp, thanks for reading and commenting, I lived in Santiago Chile for about four months in 2009, I married my third wife in the beautiful seaside port city of Valparaiso, the Cordillera del los Andes was unbelievable, as was the country overall.
      I actually have many pics of their Military commemoration day celebration, the flyover included some great aircraft that I cannot recognize.
      Will be returning later this year to explore Rapa Nui ( Easter Island ) and Juan Fernandez island ( Treasure Island Fame ).

      • gpcox

        March 20, 2015 at 10:11 am

        Just think of the pictures you’ll post!!

        • The Emu

          March 20, 2015 at 12:31 pm

          Last time I was over there gp I stuffed up, my memory card only held 250 pics before needing downloading, Chilean power outlets aren’t like ours, three prong, had to buy a charger, then back in Aussie I updated my memory card to 8500 pics.
          But still pays to have spare batteries, I now have chargers for two countries.

  4. auntyuta

    March 19, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Santiago must be an interesting place with a lot of history. Your pictures are very beautiful and say a lot about the place. I hope you can take more pictures when you go there again! Thanks for the reblogging.

    • The Emu

      March 20, 2015 at 5:30 am

      A very beautiful place Uta, and will be definitely doing a lot more exploring and photography.
      Hopefully at the end of this year.
      Kind regards

  5. The Emu

    March 19, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Reblogged this on Welcome To Aussie Emus World and commented:

    An old post from a few years back for my new followers.

  6. Beth Marie

    June 19, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    The photos are beautiful! What a wonderful place to visit.

    • aussie emu

      June 20, 2011 at 2:00 am

      Was a very interesting trip to Chile and very informative
      Will go back again one day

  7. Lady Jude

    June 19, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Thanks for sharing Ian… Thanks for the tips about taking photo’s, I would have not known that and could get myself in trouble for taking shots that one shouldn’t…
    Hope you had a lovely weekend….

    • aussie emu

      June 19, 2011 at 11:32 am

      Hi Lady Jude , yes its a very real problem when in certain countries that want to keep certain things or govt buildings out of the media
      Ian aka Emu

  8. Sue Dreamwalker

    June 18, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Loved my History Lesson Ian, Some beautiful pictures of architecture and cobbled streets..When I travel I always find myself in little back streets looking at things off the beaten track. But I nearly came unstuck one time as I was followed, I must have looked the typical tourist in one of Southern Spain’s not so famous resorts, but my intuition kicked in and I did a quick U turn and a dodge act, But maybe my Guardian Angels must have been with me ..
    It is surprising Ian how we have forgotten those times in Chile when times were tough and so much happened behind closed doors as dictators ruled by Fear as people were kidnapped and disappeared for their beliefs..
    We think perhaps that those things are all part of History, and yet I know they are still happening today all over the world as different nations keep a tight hold on controlling the masses..
    You looked every inch the Laid back Captain…. you have some precious memories Ian and I am so pleased that you shared them with us today..

    • aussie emu

      June 19, 2011 at 11:41 am

      Hi Sue , wasnt really supposed to be a history lesson it just turned out that way .
      Many great memories embedded in my mind that I want to put to paper
      Cheers Sue have a good week and take it easy now and then in your hectic work life
      Emu aka Ian

  9. penpusherpen

    June 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Thank you for sharing the sights, sounds, history and the emotion you felt in response to things seen and discovered on your trip to Chile, Ian, (aka Emu) … Wonderful photo’s of streets and buildings with so much history attached, where mans inhumanity to man will always be a factor not just history wise but present day. It seems so easy for some men to gain power and become corrupt, taking those extra dark steps to make sure they hang on to that power, meting out torture and death to anyone and everyone they consider apposes their will. Corruption seems to seep into their souls and gain total control. I hope Chile will continue on it’s journey of prosperity as it emerges from it’s troubled past. and I am so glad there were no repercussions to your taking certain photo’s, don’t want to hear of an Emu being held hostage now do we? … Now that would be a diplomatic incident we want to avoid. 🙂 xPenx

    • aussie emu

      June 19, 2011 at 11:34 am

      Hi Pen , pleased you enjoyed that little wander into a part of my travels
      It was quite an experience
      Emu aka Ian

  10. prenin

    June 18, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    A fascinating story Ian and very true about photographing sensitive areas!!!

    Even here in the UK you have to be careful about cameras and electronic items like mobile phones!!!

    I was mugged three times: First time I was robbed of a packet of sweets, second time I blacked the teenagers eye, third time I hunted the b*stard down and was too tired to hit him – not that it mattered, he wet himself!!! LoL!!!

    Even in wealthy countries like the UK you have to be sooo damned careful…

    God Bless!!!


    • aussie emu

      June 19, 2011 at 11:36 am

      Especially in South American countries its not a good idea to indiscrimanately take pics , some places dont like their govt put into a bad perspective
      Cheers mate
      Emu aka Ian

  11. Rosemary Monteith

    June 18, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Beautiful place Emu, the photos are lovely. Enjoyed the Blog, will never get there, but saw it through your eyes.

    • aussie emu

      June 19, 2011 at 11:37 am

      Hi Rosemary , glad you liked that bit of memory of a bloody great time in Chile
      Wishing you much love
      Have a great week
      Emu aka Ian


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