Vatican News
Pope Francis and Hector Marin Rossel, brother of a victim of the Pinochet dictatorship Pope Francis and Hector Marin Rossel, brother of a victim of the Pinochet dictatorship 

Pope Francis meets with relatives of Pinochet dictatorship victims

In an originally unscheduled event Pope Francis on Thursday met with relatives of victims of the 1970s Chilean dictatorship before leaving for Peru on the second leg of his trip. The meeting took place in the Church of the Sanctuary of Iquique.

By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis made time on Thursday for a significant event that saw him meeting with family members of victims the Pinochet dictatorship in the 1970s in Chile.

The meeting took place after Mass and just before lunch with aged priests at the “Casa de retiros of the Shrine of Nuestra Senora de Lourdes”.

Hector Marin Rosset, whose 19-year-old brother Jorge was kidnapped on 28 September 1973 and who died on that same day in Iquique handed Pope Francis a letter and told him he still hopes to meet “disappeared” companions of those terrible years.

Rosset is the President of the Association of the families of victims of the regime and of the “disappeared prisoners” of Iquique and Pisagua.

Vatican Press Office Director, Greg Burke, said Rosset expressed his appreciation to the Pope for the work to promote and defend human rights carried out by the Chilean Catholic Church.

Burke said that in the letter handed to the Pope Rosset describes to the Association’s commitment to seek “disappeared” family members and expresses the hope for the collaboration of armed forces and of the Government of Chile.

And speaking to Ansa news agency he said the quest is a humanitarian crusade that "will allow us to find the spiritual peace we so badly need".

Augusto Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected Socialist Government of Salvador Allende in September 1973 and his dictatorship lasted until 1990. He died in 2006.


18 January 2018, 23:10