A dark past on a clear day

After yesterday’s fog and rain cleared we had a surprise addition to the view from our balcony. Out across the bay towards Viña del Mar can be seen the Andes, magnificently covered in snow – though too far away to get a good shot, but rest-assured a glorious sight and bathed in Spring sunshine. But no wonder it’s cold today – that wind blowing down from the mountain-tops and across the bay is rather chilling!

Talk of chilling, mooching around town you occasionally stumble upon a makeshift memorial attached to a restaurant, office building or school – sad reminders of the many local men and women that disappeared during Pinochet’s Junta in the 70’s. This is still a raw and contentious issue for many and a concerted effort is made by locals not to forget and not to forgive. The headline in the photo roughly translates as ‘So that no one loses their memory because I am part of this story.’

I can now see that many of the painted murals and elaborate tags have hidden messages, political overtones and personal stories, all masked perhaps by the vivid colours that have put a newly rejuvanted Valparaíso on the map.

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