Pinochet surviors of 1000’s disappeared rely on DNA identity

Posted: November 3, 2009 in Chile, database, DNA, identity, politics, resistance

Fewer than 400 people have come forward to register, far below the thousands the government had envisioned when it created the database.

BTC – Never trust your government or their databases outright. The low turnout of the Chile’s survivors of the disappeared to readily have their DNA catalogued speaks for itself. Any kind of DNA collection of surviving family of political resisters by a shaky Latin government has a hint of research & development behind it. If they need to test to positively identify the exhumed, they might consider doing it on a case by case basis and destroy the results. However, government databases tend to hang onto DNA information indefinitely after it becomes property of the state.

My distrustful nature of these things leads me to think that a genetic tinkering contractor might have been recruited to figure out what makes political resisters resist for a future attempt to breed it out of Chilean humanity. Perish the thought.

c/o Reuters/NYTimes

SANTIAGO- Silvia Munoz has searched for decades for the remains of her father, who was executed during the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Thirty-six years later, she hopes her DNA will help solve the mystery.

Munoz and hundreds of others have given blood samples to a government DNA database in a renewed attempt to identify loved ones who disappeared under Pinochet.

“I still have my doubts,” Munoz said, “but I’m hoping to finally have a definitive answer.”

Fewer than 400 people have come forward to register, far below the thousands the government had envisioned when it created the database.

Some families may be trying to avoid reliving the pain of losing loved ones, said Ariel Dorfman, a Chilean-American playwright and human-rights activist.

“The loss is not something that happens once, but happens over and over again, especially if the person is disappeared,” Dorfman said.

Munoz, who was present at two exhumations of remains believed to be her father’s, agreed.

Raul Antonio Munoz Munoz was a union leader and community organizer during socialist President Salvador Allende’s administration. He was arrested on September 29, 1973, in front of his wife and five children and never seen again.

The military government later informed the family that Raul died, but did not return his body to the family.

Munoz is skeptical of the new DNA database, but willing to wait for news her father’s remains have been found.

“The first time they took his left leg and the second time his right,” Munoz said. “Imagine the government giving you bones, mourning them and then being told they’re the wrong bones.”

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