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Allende praises Church’s efforts on behalf of human rights during Pinochet regime

Catholic World News - May 08, 2013

Isabel Allende, a leading Latin American novelist, has praised the efforts of the Church in Chile on behalf of human rights following the 1973 overthrow of President Salvador Allende, her father’s first cousin.

After Augusto Pinochet took power and banned gatherings of more than six people, “the only organization that remained was the Catholic Church,” the novelist said in a recent interview. “The cardinal” – a reference to the Salesian Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez, who governed the Archdiocese of Santiago from 1961 to 1983 – “established an office inside the cathedral” to document cases of disappearance and torture.

“The military didn’t dare touch” the Church, Allende recalled. While some say that the Church could have done more, “many priests and nuns were imprisoned and tortured,” she said. “Some of them were deported, others were sent into remote places in the country.”

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