Viviana Díaz Caro from the Organization of the Relatives of the Disappeared Political Prisoners, Chile, spoke on Monday at an event sponsored at York by CERLAC (Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean), talking about “Chile: Human Rights and the Transition to Democracy”.
Díaz Caro is the daughter of Víctor Manuel Díaz Lopez who disappeared on May 12,1976. At the time of the 1973 Chilean coup against then-president Salvador Allende, he was general secretary of the Chilean Communist Party as well as a National Leader of the Workers” Central Union of Chile.
For many of the 27 years since her father’s disappearance, Viviana has been working with the Organization of the Relatives of the Disappeared Political Prisoners (Agrupacion de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos – AFDD) in Chile, the organization of which she is now president. As president, she has been very active in promoting her cause internationally, and has become a widely recognized figure in Chile where she is respected by all sectors of national life. This year she was chosen one of the Women of the Year for her work in Human Rights by the Women’s Ministry (Servicio Nacional de la Mujer).
Information from CERLAC states that, during the years when fear was a part of everyday life in Chile, Viviana and other members of AFDD participated in actions that have stayed in the collective memory of Chileans such as the “long strike” of 1978, denouncing the immorality of the Amnesty Law. In 1979 she was one of the 63 relatives who chained themselves to the National Congress in Santiago. She experienced many violent manifestations of repression by the national forces of law and order (“Fuerzas del Orden”) but, despite her youth at the time and the abuses of the dictatorship, never abandoned her commitments.