Reclaiming Historical Memories


  • Leonardo E. Maturana Bañados La Providencia


During the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, La Providencia, at that time part of the Catholic Church, leased part of their facilities to the secret police. There, hundreds of political opponents were illegally detained and tortured. I was jailed in the basement of La Providencia, but I could hear the world outside: children playing, trains passing, and even the bells of the church ringing. These sounds actually helped prisoners—blindfolded and disoriented— identify the location of their imprisonment. But surprisingly, even though the government never concealed its crimes at La Providencia, there are no public memorials to recognize it. La Providencia operated for eight years with total impunity.

Author Biography

Leonardo E. Maturana Bañados, La Providencia

Maturana Bañados (b. 1949) was born in Chuquicamata, Chile. While teaching in a local high school he was arrested and imprisoned by the military junta. Following his political exile to the United States, he continued his education at the University of Arizona, completing a BA in Geography. Since then, Maturana Bañados has pursued local political causes, supported human rights, and raised a family.






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