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(July 25, 2006) Also in the news on Monday…

By Nathan Crooks (


La Nación reported this weekend that the bodies of over 22 people disappeared during the Pinochet military regime were burnt using phosphorous at the Colonia Dignidad, a bizarre cult-colony founded in 1961 by German nazi and pedophile Paul Schaefer 380 km south of Santiago.

The new accusations were made by Gerhard Mucke, a colleague of Schaefer, to Jorge Zepeda, the judge in charge of investigating the various human rights violations that occurred in the colony.

According to Mucke, at least 22 political prisoners were executed at the compound where their bodies were then buried.

La Nación confirmed that the number of deaths reported by Mucke coincides with 22 political prisoners who disappeared from the nearby Parral military prison.

In 1978, the Pinochet regime attempted to destroy evidence of the over 1,000 people who had been disappeared, and a similar effort was made at the Colonia Dignidad.

Mucke testified that the bodies were exhumed, placed in bags, and then chemically burnt using phosphorous. The ashes were loaded into a truck and dumped into the Perquilauquén River.

Mucke’s testimony marks another strange twist in the story of the Colonia Dignidad. The Santiago Time’s online archives cover revelations from the German colony and Pinochet torture center in depth.


The Worldwide Union for Nature (UICN) this week added Chile’s Juan Fernández National Park to its “Red List,” declaring the park one of the 12 most threatened sites on the planet. The park covers 96 percent of the Juan Fernández archipelago, located 650 km west of Valparaíso.

The UICN has members in 81 countries and over 10,000 specialists who evaluate nature conservation all over the world. The “Red List” is released every year and calls attention to the most at risk nature preserves on Earth.

According to the UICN, the Juan Fernández National Park is home to 15 native species of birds as well as eight other rare species. Two of the species are near extinct, six are in danger of becoming extinct, and three other species are “vulnerable.”

The island also is home to rare flora. Of the 218 native species and 136 other rare species that exist on the island, eight species have disappeared, 25 species are near extinction, 81 species are in danger of extinction, and 62 other species have been identified as being vulnerable.

The native plant species are especially at risk because of the over 433 non-native species that have been introduced on the island. 75 percent of the island has suffered erosion as well.

The “Two-Haired” wolf is the most at-risk mammal on the island.

The archipelago, whose most famous island is Robinson Crusoe Island, has recently experienced a rise in offshore fishing (ST, July 4).


Chilean artist Patrick Hamilton will launch a new art exhibit in Santiago next week, drawing attention to the many ironies that exist in Chile.

“Objectos en Transito” (objects in transit) will contrast the luxurious neighbored known as “Sanhattan” with the poorer parts of the city.

The term “Sanhattan” is often used to compare the area of Las Condes home to the glistening skyscrapers of the foreign multi-nationals and Chilean conglomerates to Manhattan.

Hamilton’s main work, a ten by five meter mural, will be visible from the street. The mural will consist of small pictures of kitchen knives, whose blades have been covered with postcards from the glistening Santiago neighborhood.

Two large tricycles, which are often used by the city’s poor to transport goods, will be placed in front of the mural to parody urban transportation.

The tricycles are frequently used in poorer neighborhoods when temporal rains make flooded streets impossible to maneuver with cars. Las Condes, or Sanhattan, never floods.

Hamilton uses the ironic tricycles placed in Santiago’s most upscale neighborhood to send a political message, highlighting the dual worlds of Santiago – one world for the booming economy, and another full of delusion and injustice.

The exhibit opens August 2 at the Sala Gasco (Santo Domingo 1061).

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