A Musing from the Author

I read recently in the Santiago Times that Isabel Allende, the daughter of the late President Salvador Allende, presented Michelle Bachelet with the Presidential sash at her upcoming inauguration. There was something deeply pleasing to me about that simple fact. Isabel lost her father, just as Michelle did, to the ambitions of General Pinochet and his junta.

These women, the daughters of brave, dedicated Chilean public servants, must feel a powerful sense of accomplishment, an important validation. That is not to say that a violent overthrow of a legitimate government couldn’t happen again; it could, here and everywhere around the world. There is no safe place despite North American complacency.

I felt a sense of hopefulness, too, and an eagerness to see what the future will bring. I wrote toward the end of A Thousand Flowers of Bella Rivera’s cautious hope for Chile—and her deep concern that unpleasant truths be faced openly and honestly.


“I arrived in 1967 to frequently violent student protests, all centered in one way or another on economic and social inequality. Here it is 44 years later (2011), and little has changed. When will we learn? How can we teach the young to remember?”


Let us all share that same hope and commitment—for Chile and all of Latin America.



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