I grew under the dictatorship, in my mother’s arms. She told me that, paradoxically, it was the happiest period of her life.
She lived through the dictatorship behind a wall, protected from it all. As soon as I’d grown up, my mother realized that there had never been such a harmful time for Chile.
I am a piece of this history, full of contradictions. After democracy returned, during the government of president Ricardo Lagos Escobar, the Presidential Palace building
was repainted in its original color, an off-white, and the pedestrian entrance was reopened in time for the 30th anniversary of the coup d’état. For the very first time people could walk through its halls.
This was an initial symbol of the changes afoot. Henceforth, after ten 19 years of democracy, the population can only enter Government House by way of a route running north-south, that is, from the Plaza de La Constitución to the Plaza de La Ciudadanía. Going in the opposite direction is forbidden.
It is indeed a sign that the doors of the Presidential Palace have been opened; but at the same time it symbolically implies that one should not go back in history, that one should look only forwards.